Comparing Salmon/Steelhead Tapers and General Practicality

logan1994vh

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So I am currently looking for an 8wt freshwater line. It will be used casually for pike/bass here in MT, but more intentionally for salmon and steelhead when travelling (I'm hoping to chase coho in AK this fall). There are a number of fly lines marketed towards salmon and steelhead fishing but they seem to have fundamental differences in their taper profiles and 30' weights. For example, the Cortland and SA lines have an aggressive front taper with a long rear taper for increased mendability and roll casting. Makes sense. However, Rio takes a different approach by offering a line with "bullet" front taper and more weight distributed towards the rear of the head for the same increased mending and roll casting capabilities.

These lines all feature longer heads in the 50-65 ft range, but vary significantly in 30' head weight. The Cortland comes in at 240, SA at 260, and Rio at 210 grains. Throwing one more line into the mix, the Rio Big Nasty features a 40' WF head with somewhat extended rear taper (they call it a handling section) and a 30' head weight of 230 grains.

I'd like to pick your brains on these various tapers for the intended uses listed above. How much difference does it make on the water? Is the unique Rio Salmon/Steelhead taper a one trick pony? Will any of these tapers work fine for pike and bass fishing? If relevant, I will be pairing this line to an 9' 8wt TFO LK Legacy, Axiom II/II-X, Echo Boost Salt/Blue, or similar rod. Thanks!

Cortland Salmon Steelhead https://www.cortlandline.com/products/salmonsteelhead-mosswhite
SA Anadro/Nymph https://www.scientificanglers.com/product/mastery-anadro/
Rio Salmon/Steelhead https://www.rioproducts.com/products/intouch-salmo-steelhead#taper-profile
Rio Big Nasty https://www.rioproducts.com/products/intouch-big-nasty
 

MichaelCPA

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Good questions! I have studied these lines also, and own SA Anadro and Rio Salmo/Steelhead. Have not fished the Rio, it is the new acquisition.

I wanted the Rio to have for more delicate dry line or wet fly casting for Atlantic or Steelhead. Finer front taper.

The SA Anadro will cast polyleaders, indicator rigs and big flies with wire leaders . It is a bit heavy for my Orvis Recon, so the Rio will be first out this year. Selling my Anadro smooth, used twice, if interested.
 

VaFisherman

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I used an old Scientific Angler Steelhead line many years ago to fish for smallmouth bass and it works fine for the way we fish, which is from a raft floating down a river. In that use we make 30 to 40 ft casts then let the presentation float, maybe strip 5 to 8ft of line to move the bug a little, then we pick the line up and in one backcast present it again.

I have experience with the S.A. Anadro and the Rio Salmon/Steel lines you mentioned. The Rio line will work as I described above when fishing for bass from the boat. The S.A. Anadro is a 1 1/2 size heavy line and it may make your rods sluggish. Now I have only tried that line on a 10ft 7wt steelhead rod but I did not like it, it is just too heavy except for using as a short indicator line with a two fly rig, with a lot of weight and a bobber.

I like the Rio line and it is a more traditional salmon/steelhead taper.
 

logan1994vh

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Yeah the 7wt SA anadro grain weight actually looks pretty spot on for an 8wt at 225 grains. If I go with that line, I'll probably be underlining by one weight. Thanks for the heads up on your 8wt line, though, MichaelCPA. Considering this setup won't be used for delicate presentations, the Rio may not be necessary. I'd hate to spend $100 bucks on a line that can't turn over big coho and pike flies.
 

jjcm

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Royal Wulff and Orvis also have steelhead lines. There is also Scientific Angler's Infinity taper, which might be one to look at especially considering a multitude of purposes.
 
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