New Flats Fly Lines

sweetandsalt

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It has been three years since I updated this thread and much has developed since then.

Most relevantly, the none-stretch RIO prototype I fished in 2014 never was produced but its concept morphed into today's RIO Flats Pro. This great casting line features a RIO developed limited stretch and low memory monofilament core. It is slick shooting, high floating, lays out remarkably straight and its low stretch enables excellent direct to fish strip-striking. Even its factory welded loops are reinforced. This line casts great and has a long enough rear taper section to enhance loop stability. This is the most advanced technology flats line to date. One thing to consider though with this line is its weight departs from standard by a full line size. The RIO Tarpon #8 I love as a bonefish line now starts as a 9-weight but RIO Permit fills its shoes. Permit, like Flats Pro is a full size heavy compared to Tarpon's 3/4 size heavy and RIO Bonefish's 1/4 size overweight. RIO provides this grain weight data on their web site so it is not a surprise and it is up to us anglers to be informed and understand our rod's preferred grain weight. My Sage SALT #9 for example likes to be over-lined with Permit and its next line will surely be Flats Pro. NRX #8 on the other hand prefers the Bonefish taper and weight. Great lines each when properly matched to the correct rod.

Cortland's Liquid Crystal Blue is available in a few taper/weight variants and the Flats Taper, a true to weight line, has been increased in length to an appropriate 100 feet. Not a particularly high floating line but a wind cheating slick shooter best fished from a skiff. I don't know how new it is but it is new to me, Cortland Tropic Plus All Purpose might not have a sexy name but this true to weight long head line has a mono-core but with a conventional PVC coating unlike the polymer of the Liquid Crystal. This is a great handling line that turns over positively and is adept at precise presentations. It offers an excellent counter-point for rods favoring true weight lines rather than the somewhat more aggressive varied heavier RIO flats lines.

Decades ago, normally formulated fly lines turned to gummy worms in the tropics when the temperature climbed. Scientific Anglers was the first line maker to introduce a line with a stiffer core and coating chemistry designed to endure the heat, Mastery Bonefish Taper. This line was standard issue for years and has now been redesigned. It's head is a little longer and has been compounded to bias a bit more weight up front...not too aggressively, just enough to enhance positive turn over and load in-close with greater ease. It remains a true to weight fly line. Now it's available in two variants, the conventional Mastery with a smooth, quite finish and new Amplitude, a design placing differing texturing at different parts of the taper to enhance floating, shooting, and pick-up off the water. And it works while being quitter and easier on one's hands than earlier SA textured lines. I do like that they offer this improved taper two ways. Also in SA's Mastery series is an undistinguished named Saltwater. Nothing overly exotic here except it is a slightly heavier line than standard, 225 rather than 210 grains in a 8-weight, same as RIO Bonefish. It offers one more fine tuning fly line to our potential repertoire and has proved the perfect match for one of my rods.

Though it is hard or at least expensive to try them all, just like fine tuning the performance of our dry fly outfits, flats rigs emphasize pure casting too. The right line unquestionably enhances your rods' performance and that can make the difference when your guide whispers, "Mon, look at 10:O'clock maybe 90'; see dat single fish by dat whit spot next to de mangrove shoot? Dats de fish we been looking for!"
 

tex68w

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I just paired up the Flats Pro with my 7wt Salt HD on your recommendation, can't wait to try her out soon!
 

dylar

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I'm turned off by the price point on Flats Pro and Rio's long history of making lines that last less than a full season of hard fishing, but I really, really like the way it performs.
 

oldskewl808

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I like the Flats Pro line but I dont really like it that much more than the Bonefish taper so I can’t see paying more for it. I like the tri color for judging line length but I don’t like how brightly colored the mid section is. I do a lot of wade fishing without a basket so if that mid length loop drifts toward the direction I am fishing it could possibly spook fish. It really comes in handy though for figuring out how much line to peel off the reel for casting. I did notice a little more feel on hook sets but I also noticed it on head shakes. Not as much shock absorbing with less stretch. So I think the low stretch core is a wash for negative and positive aspects. It casts nice but castin is only half the game. How it reacts with a fish on is the other half. I think way too much R & D is done in parking lots or grass fields these days in the fly fishing industry. Companies need to do more real world testing before marketing a product. So in summary, I like, and will keep using the line. I would buy it again if it was the same price as the Bonefish line but I don’t feel great about the current price.



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sweetandsalt

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I slightly prefer the taper of RIO Bonefish with its very long rear taper. A big deal for me between these two lines, in addition to the limited stretch which I do feel is advantageous, is the actual relative to labeled weight....I see them as lines for differing rods. Flats Pro like SA Amplitude is over the $100 ceiling but going bonefishing is expensive for me, what with necessary for me plane travel and the rest. Special performance lines are the least of my costs.

oldskewel, RIO has been working toward Flats Pro for years and many prototypes have been taken fishing in the Bahamas, Belize and Florida. I have taken it on two trips now, in serious heat off the coast of East Africa and under nominal temps in the Bahamas. It combination of smart taper, slick shooting and low memory and stretch make it special. My big issue is I don't have the ideal rod to match it with...I need to get me one of those.
 

tex68w

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You need one of these Sage Salt HD's, it works well with it. Just picked one up in a 9wt too.
 

dynaflow

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Thanks sweetandsalt,your summary is on the money as always,and I also agree with most of oldskewl808's comments.Measured colour coded lines don't do anything for me and believe you should know by feel how much line to have out.I like this line for two big reasons,it's easy to anneal and the low stretch core makes for better hookups.Admittedly it's a weight up (like many lines these days) and needs careful matching to your rod...the Salt HD mentioned above and my Scott Meridian are two examples.What I don't like is the price.I've mentioned before that I view this line as a Bonefish line on Crack,and prefer to use it when the wind is really up.Rio's Bonefish remains my favourite flats line, but I also like their Permit line.
 

sweetandsalt

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I too like RIO Bonefish a slightly heavy line but still within its designated size range. And, having happily fished earlier 8-wt. Tarpon, which Permit is sort of based upon, I was and early adopter of that line too. Permit, like Flats Pro is a full size heavy exactly and what I fish on my SALT#9.

I have written about the Hungarian Stickman T8 I fished in April and it favors a 210 gr., true weight line. There are two, SA Bonefish, which is what I used and Cortland Tropic + AP, an excellent if less sung about line which I recommend. However, labels be dammed, I want to try a Flats Pro #7 (210 gr.) on this rod and then I'll know if is really worth the extra dough.
 

original cormorant

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A problem faced by me (and I suspect others) is lack of opportunity to test tropical flylines.

With only two or three weeks a year on tropical water you need to have the right set-up for the conditions you happen to meet. You need to anticpate but you can't test tropical lines in temperate conditions. With this in mind I want to select an alternative floating #10. I have purchased an overweight front loaded line (Mastery Jungle Titan - half price) so I'm looking for a true weight longer head line to cover my options. What is recommended?
I currently use and am happy with #9 and #12 Triangle Tapers. On #10 until now I have used Teeny TST400 (intermediate tip).
 

mnigro

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You can test tropical lines. Just stretch them before casting. In fact, you should do this on the flats too.
 

dynaflow

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I simply don't get what this is about.There's abundant information available about tropical fly lines for specific destinations and species.What is it that you can't find?
P.S.sweetandsalt,I have just fished a 7wt.Rio Direct Core Pro line on a 7wt.Meridian for two weeks on C.I.and while it's really a full wt.up(i.e.more an 8wt.) the line was a winner in the wind on the island,and I would have happily fished this very line on my 8wt.NRX.
 

camelbrass

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Try the SA Mastery Tarpon Taper for a true to weight 10wt tropical line. The head isn’t as long as say their bonefish taper but it’s a pretty good compromise. I’ve got it on my T and T Sextant Bamboo and like it a lot.

Regards,


Trevor
 

sweetandsalt

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I simply don't get what this is about.There's abundant information available about tropical fly lines for specific destinations and species.What is it that you can't find?
P.S.sweetandsalt,I have just fished a 7wt.Rio Direct Core Pro line on a 7wt.Meridian for two weeks on C.I.and while it's really a full wt.up(i.e.more an 8wt.) the line was a winner in the wind on the island,and I would have happily fished this very line on my 8wt.NRX.
Firstly, though I also have cold water specialty salt lines, I regularly fish tropical lines here in the North East for strippers and albies when the water is warm as it currently is, no problem. And, now that RIO has introduced DirectCore Bonefish, with the same technology as Flats Pro but in the truer weight and great Bonefish taper, you have a line to aspire toward for Meridian and your #7 (210 grain actual #8) can go on an 8- wt. rod. I'm running the new DC Bonefish #8 on my NRX #8 and it is the best line yet I've fished on this favorite of mine.
 

sweetandsalt

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1full size heavy Flats Pro was intended to supplant similar weight Permit as the line-of-choice for SALT HD. I run Permit on my original SALT and this series of rods is designed around these heavy lines. While most of my bonefish rods are better with RIO Bonefish and now the DC version, my new last spring Stickman T8 likes an actual true to weight 210 grain line. I fish it with SA Amplitude Bonefish, fine, but the next time I have the privilege of fishing the tropical flats I intend to mount 210 gr. #7 Flats Pro (dam what the box says) on its Ross Evo R/S. I'm enthusiastic about this match up, however, in the sprit of this ongoing thread, there is another new, not yet sampled by me, bonefish line of true weight from Cortland and it will be in the mix too.
 

original cormorant

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Try the SA Mastery Tarpon Taper for a true to weight 10wt tropical line. The head isn’t as long as say their bonefish taper but it’s a pretty good compromise. I’ve got it on my T and T Sextant Bamboo and like it a lot.

Regards,


Trevor
I'd never heard of Sextant Bamboo - an expensive habit!!

Since posting my question there have been postings about Wullf on the Flylines forum.

My choice for a longer head, true weight #10 is the Mastery Tarpon, the Orvis HD bonefish (available in #10), the Cortland Tarpon or the Bermuda TT which I already use in other weights and is consequently the safe bet. Wish I had the opportunity to cast all of them!!

That eliminates Rio somewhat arbitrarily but already too much choice.
 

dynaflow

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sweetandsalt,given your comments re the heavier lines (for their weight designation) like Flats Pro and Permit being more suited to the stiffer Sage rods like the Salt,Salt HD and even the Method,might it not be a good marketing move by the company to mention that? Surely this would assist in clarifying the confusion out there in consumer land.
 

sweetandsalt

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sweetandsalt,given your comments re the heavier lines (for their weight designation) like Flats Pro and Permit being more suited to the stiffer Sage rods like the Salt,Salt HD and even the Method,might it not be a good marketing move by the company to mention that? Surely this would assist in clarifying the confusion out there in consumer land.
For the most part, RIO, SA and Cortland provide taper diagrams with sectional lengths and 30' head weight in grains, often overall head lengths and weight too. I am not a fan of full size over weight lines but fractional ones are often useful in fine tuning. As more diversity and data are offered by these line makers I experience advantages in tuning rod - line mattings but it also suggests we become more aware and sophisticated about lines. It ain't just WF and DT anymore...but you know that.

The main reason line companies are reluctant to suggest lines for rods is two fold. First, they make many lines and some are performance oriented for skilled anglers, often with longer, compound tapers and extended rear tapers and second they also produce short blunt head lines for anglers less understanding about rod loading and line carrying. Yes, it is there belief, though they would never pronounce this in public, that many of us can't cast particularly well butt they want us to go fishing anyway.
 
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