Yellowstone Angler 2018 8-Weight Shootout

Etrigan

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Hi Sweet & Salt,

I had the pleasure of fishing with the Taylor Truth Rod in two weeks ago as a buddy of mine has the 8wt. We were fishing a Rhode Island CinderWorm hatch. I had brought along my Loomis Asquith & my Method Elite. We were switching back & forth. Water Temps were slightly under 50 degrees with beautiful air temps that hit 72 degrees as the day progressed along.

We were using Airflo Ridge Striper Lines (feature a uniform, 40' head) - WF #8 (290 grains), Royal Wulff Triangle Taper Saltwater Line (30' progressively narrowing Head Taper (we had to weigh the head as the manufacturer doesn't make this info easily available, though it may have been included in or on the box at time of purchase - the box didn't make the trip lol - we came up with 290 grains).

We wanted to include a WF-Floating Fly-Line from Scientific Anglers but they no longer make anything suitable for the type of Northeast casting that we do in cold to medium+ water temps, where a head longer than 30' is needed to lay out longer casts smoothly & easily - by holding longer amounts of Fly-Line in the air ---- which is the whole reason we LIKE these ultra fast, long distance Fly Rods in the first place. Where the rubber meets the road for this style of open water casting, longer casts are constantly needed.

We also wanted to include a Rio WF-Floating Fly-Line but their In-Touch WF-Floating Fly LIne, which we purchased two years ago, we both gave away because it only had a head length of 30' & it's insufficient for most Striped Bass fishing situations here in the Northeast. Also, we didn't like the way it cast at all (on that point, many of my friends who are guides, also concur).

The Airflo Ridge Striper line quickly became our unanimous favorite for this style of fishing & side by side vs. the Royal Wulff Triangle Taper Saltwater line, it was clear that the Airflo line was superior at distance & we could arealize roll casts much more easily with it. When it came to holding line in the air, the Airflo line was vastly better & this allowed us to hit 80 feet + without much effort. I of course would LOVE another 10' of head length to bring me out to 50' but alas, I had to make do.
When we put the three rods to the test, the Method Elite was our favorite, which didn't surprise either of us much but the Asquith is on par with it & a lot better on medium range casts. We don't consider short range casts a category here because we just make do with any rod at shorter distaces. A quick flick of the wrist & a sharp stop will suffice. We're presenting 2" floating Cinder Worms in this situation & what really matters is the ability to hit targets that are often futher away.

The Taylor Truth rod felt a lot worse in the hand, it may have been because the Asquith is very well dampened in comparission and the Method tracks flat out awesomely well so on this day, the Truth was up against our favorites for this type of fly-fisihing. The Truth was able to hold its own at longer distances, though obviously a nod worse than both our go-to's. The Truth was a little less stable at distance, but we could still make 80' plus casts with it - just not as smoothly or as easily. The Truth definitely has some Horse Power under the hood though & it's significantly less $$ than our two race horses.
 

Etrigan

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Hi Etrigan, Your posts are informative. I find Cold water Salt fly line selection is quite limited. I don't understand this as there are numerous Tropical lines available in many tapers. Sometimes Royal Wulff puts info on head weights on their packaging ... sometimes not. I tried calling them .... no answer. I sent a email .... no reply. I even acquired a hard copy catalog. No head weight or line diagrams. I don't get it! I assume the Airflo Ridge Striper Lines you used were floating as you were fishing a cinder worm hatch.

Thanks
Ken
Hi Ken,

Thank you & glad you find the info useful. The reason there are so many Tropical Lines with various tapers available is because...they sell! Coldwater floating lines, with longer heads, have a very limited appeal I guess - not much of a real $$ market for them.

Interestingly, Fly-Lines that are rated for tropics can be used in the Northeast but we have to wait for the water temps to warm up to about 60 degrees for Scientific Anglers lines. We can't use Rio's Tropical lines at all as they are rated for 75 degrees or warmer. Right now the Rhode Island water temps out front on the beaches is averaging 48 degrees, with the Salt Ponds being slightly warmer. Winds are mostly from the West and South.

In April, water temps are around 45 degrees, with waters warming up to 55 degrees by the end of May & some time in mid-June we will hit 60 degrees. The water doesn't get warmer than 70 - usually in mid-August & then it begins to cool. October, which is a great time of year to catch blitzes, sees water temps from 63 to 57 & by November, which can also be an interesting month, water is cooling back down from 57 degrees on down to 50 degrees.

There are a couple ideal fly lines, in terms of taper, that can be used from Mid June thru Mid October (the window when the water is at or above 60 degrees). That's 5 months worth of good to great fishing by the way!

I LOVE the Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Salt Taper - the 8wt line is 225 grains & it comes in a little light for some of these faster rods that many do like to overline a pinch. We normally use this line at least one line size heavy - so imagine a 260 grain line on an Asquith or NRX+ or a Method/Igniter. The Infinity Salt Taper is the opposite of a Wulff line. Instead loosing oomph as it unrolls, it gains oomph. When you try the lines side by side, it's kind of amazing to realize how the different concepts perform when distance casting.
 

Etrigan

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Hi Ken,

Thank you & glad you find the info useful. The reason there are so many Tropical Lines with various tapers available is because...they sell! Coldwater floating lines, with longer heads, have a very limited appeal I guess - not much of a real $$ market for them.

Interestingly, Fly-Lines that are rated for tropics can be used in the Northeast but we have to wait for the water temps to warm up to about 60 degrees for Scientific Anglers lines. We can't use Rio's Tropical lines at all as they are rated for 75 degrees or warmer. Right now the Rhode Island water temps out front on the beaches is averaging 48 degrees, with the Salt Ponds being slightly warmer. Winds are mostly from the West and South.

In April, water temps are around 45 degrees, with waters warming up to 55 degrees by the end of May & some time in mid-June we will hit 60 degrees. The water doesn't get warmer than 70 - usually in mid-August & then it begins to cool. October, which is a great time of year to catch blitzes, sees water temps from 63 to 57 & by November, which can also be an interesting month, water is cooling back down from 57 degrees on down to 50 degrees.

There are a couple ideal fly lines, in terms of taper, that can be used from Mid June thru Mid October (the window when the water is at or above 60 degrees). That's 5 months worth of good to great fishing by the way!

I LOVE the Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Salt Taper - the 8wt line is 225 grains & it comes in a little light for some of these faster rods that many do like to overline a pinch. We normally use this line at least one line size heavy - so imagine a 260 grain line on an Asquith or NRX+ or a Method/Igniter. The Infinity Salt Taper is the opposite of a Wulff line. Instead loosing oomph as it unrolls, it gains oomph. When you try the lines side by side, it's kind of amazing to realize how the different concepts perform when distance casting.
Here is a quick look at the Amplitude Infinity Salt Taper. This line casts like a dream as it unrolls with floating saltwater patterns or grass shrimp flies & small crab patterns that we use a lot. For 5 months out of the year, we can actually get away with this line & we've experienced zero coiling issues & superb durability. Sin-Finity as we call this line, makes 80' plus casts a little bit more graceful & easy, thanks to the ingeneous Head Taper & the 50' of Head Length.
Screenshot 2020-06-01 at 2.50.23 PM.png

The Amplitude Bonefish Taper by the way comes in at 210 grains for an 8wt and it features a choppy 40' compound head made up of pogresively swelling diameters (opposite of Wulff lines). This makes the line very finicky in terms of casting performance & a downright Questionable line to choose when distance casting in flats environments where distance is key. Here's a look at the Bonefish Taper:
1591037670993.png

Yellowstone Anglers is using this line to evaluate a fly rod's ability to hit distances of 80 feet & 100 feet. Casting a line with a head of 40' 100 feet is possible but it sure AIN'T optimal - is it!! (nope)(rhetorical question). For 100' casts?? & George Anderson is talking about accuracy at distance? I'm calling BS here boys. No offense to George. But fellers, he's using the wrong line for distance testing a fly rod. He should at the very least be using the Amplitute Infinity Salt line or preferably, the Expert Distance line which is up next.

I have spent DECADES fishing Scientific Anglers Mastery Expert Distance Tapers & Double Tapers lines (on 4wt to 6wt rods) & this line features a head length of 75.5 feet is weighted very modestly (an 8wt line comes in at 210 grains). The reason we love this line for Spinner fishing on the upper main stem of the Delaware is that we can carry a bunch of line in the air & drop it nice & smoothly. I would love to see a Saltwater equivalent of this fly line but it probably wouldn't sell (most caster can't hold that kind of head length in the air. A good caster, with the right rod however, can do it pretty easily. Tie a fly on & it's often another matter because one wrong flinch & you have a tangled mess of a dry fly leader on your hands. Here's a look at the Mastery Expert Distance taper, which forms the best loops of any floating line I've ever cast. Too bad they don't slap a Saltwater Jacket on ths line & offer it up to 500 grains.
Screenshot 2020-06-01 at 2.58.44 PM.png

Scientific Anglers Mastery Saltwater Taper (with a 40' Head similar to Infinity Salt Taper but with a uniform taper) is another line we can use in the Northeast & we can fish this line all season long with zero Temperature related issues. It's rated 40 degrees to 80 degrees by the way. The 8wt comes in at 225 grains & the 9wt hits the scales at 260 grains. The rear 10' of the head is a progressively decreasing taper & the main part of the head is a uniform 25', then you have the 5' front taper.
Screenshot 2020-06-01 at 2.48.02 PM.png

The reason I like the Airflo Striper Ridge line over all the Fly LInes I've tested is because it has the meatiest head & gives me significant grainweight in order to bend the hell out of a lightning quick rod & this maximizes a very fast fly rod's ability to generate high line speeds. I can throw a fly line further than 100' pretty consistently but throwing a fly line with a 30' (eeks) or 40' head creates major accuracy issues & presentation issues at distance. The Ridge line is sufficient out to 70 or 80 feet. Beyond that we get a nice, messy landing as with all shorter head fly lines.
Screenshot 2020-06-01 at 3.02.30 PM.png
 

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sweetandsalt

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I fished that SA Amp. Smooth Bonefish #8 out on the East End of LI flats a few days ago and it was OK but surely lacked that "zing" we want when throwing a fly some distance. Is Infinity Salt a tropic rated line which I fish for bass regularly anyway. And what is the gr. rating for #8 Cold Ridge? Have you tried Cortland's Liquid Crystal Blue or Bonefish, they have the long rear taper we all like but again are tropical in intent. I used Liquid Crystal last fall and it shot great but did coil some.

And the closest thing to an XXD/MEDT for the salt is RIO DC Bonefish but, of course, actually tropical.

Cortland BONEFISH SPEC CHART


FRONT TAPERBODYBACK TAPERRUNNING LINE
573261

SIZE WF6789
GRAIN WEIGHT160185210240
 
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Etrigan

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etrigan, what lines do you like on your 8wt and 10wt igniters?
Hi ryc72, how's it going!? Just to preface - I'm using the Method 8wt for certain applicaitons in Salt Ponds off a skiff & also from Jetties & the Igniter 10wt mostly off a Jet Ski or skiff with full sinking lines.

On the Method I like the Airflo Ridge Striper line from April 'till about mid-June, when I switch over to the Sin-Finity Salt. (as described above). That covers my Floating line needs with the two best floating lines I've found for this rod.

For subsurface work, I LOVE the Scientific Anglers SONAR SINK 30, with its beefy 30 ft head & it's 20' of rear handling line, allows me to carry 50 feet of line & throw pretty accurate BOMBS. However, this line doesn't load quickly so it's not for every situation. I use it off Jetties on outgoing tides a lot & I'm usually fishing the Method or a 10' Original NRX in those situations. The Method is FINE with 300 grains & it just sizzles when you max it out.

The Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan line is also SUPERB. Casts like a missile & is an all season line. The 8wt line is 280 Grains. I use this on the Igniter 10wt also, at 380 grains it packs a wallop & throws larger flies with freaking ease! Great line for 10wt & 11wt rods. The Igniter seems to bend a lot more than my Orignial Loomis 10wt (which can't handle the 380 grain ironically, too much weight for it, very finicky tip on those NRX 10wt rods.) but I will tell you what. Though the Igniter bends, it handles the weight & SNAPS it somethin' serious. The Igniter is kind of sick rod.

For my Go-To work-horse lines, I also use the Ridge Striper Intermediate & Cold Salt Sink (Type 7) lines on the Method 8wt. I think the 40' heads are an advantage at distance over most 30' Head type lines & they also load up quick enough to suit me on a fast rod. The trade off is launching a cast & getting down so 40' does the trick & I'm not concerned in the least about presentation when sub-surface fishing. Another great line from Airflo. I'll use the Intermediate when I'm dragging crease flies along very slowly & I've been doing this since the 80's with intermediate lines. I've spent decades cosntructing these types of flies & to this day, Crease flies remain near & dear to me. The original Creast Fly was designed by Captain Joe Blados out on Long Island.
Screenshot 2020-06-01 at 4.03.51 PM.pngScreenshot 2020-06-01 at 4.03.13 PM.png

The Airflo Big-Game Depthfinder 300 will also work from mid-June to mid-October & I tend to us that a bit for Albie & Bonito fishing when I need to launch quick casts in open water with strong tidal currents in play. (the line doesn't get down too deep as the current is so strong, by the time it swings it's maybe 5' in depth. When drifting, we can get down a little deeper with it.

Scientific Anglers Sonar Saltwater Intermediate is another nice performer from mid-June on out to mid-October - beautiful 40-foot Taper, the 8wt is 225 grains so it does the trick nicely on the Method 8wt.
 

Etrigan

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I fished that SA Amp. Smooth Bonefish #8 out on the East End of LI flats a few days ago and it was OK but surely lacked that "zing" we want when throwing a fly some distance. Is Infinity Salt a tropic rated line which I fish for bass regularly anyway. And what is the gr. rating for #8 Cold Ridge? Have you tried Cortland's Liquid Crystal Blue or Bonefish, they have the long rear taper we all like but again are tropical in intent. I used Liquid Crystal last fall and it shot great but did coil some.

And the closest thing to an XXD/MEDT for the salt is RIO DC Bonefish but, of course, actually tropical.

Cortland BONEFISH SPEC CHART


FRONT TAPERBODYBACK TAPERRUNNING LINE
573261

SIZE WF6789
GRAIN WEIGHT160185210240
Hi sweetandsalt, how are you doing!? The grain weight on the Airflo WF-8 Ridge Striper line is a whopping 290 Grains. It will load a fast rod very nicely. Yes - WAY over the standard but in any event, as I said previously, we kind of throw the standard out the window these days & the fly rods we are talking about would startle most of us if we put them on load boards. These rods can easily handle up to 300 grains with no loop collapse evident.

Yes, I have tried the Cortland lines as one of my buddies really likes them. They have the type of taper I like & unroll nicely on the 70 to 80 foot casts. I tried the Cortland 9wt lines on the faster rods I had & found they matched up a little better. One thing I didn't like with the Liquid Crystal line was that I was wanting more. More Cowbells!! LOL. More head length. 35' just doesn't cut for me. We fished it on a trip to Asencion Bay & it did shoot nice out to about 70 feet so. After that, it suffers from not enough head-itis.
 

dynaflow

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Great thread and some good insights here,especially comments re at least a 50% running line for distance casting.Another factor is the thinness of the running line in the wind.There's plenty of 50/50 Head/Running lines out there and I only use these lines.Roll casting overcomes any issues up short rather than using a short-headed line while flats wading.I use most of the lines Etrigan mentions except the Airflo and favour the Rio D/C and the heavier Flats Pro which have similar tapers and grain wts.to the S.A.versions but anneal better,but it's the configuration of the head taper that sorts the men from the boys as it were.I'd like to own the S.A.Amplitude Salt but this line in Australia is $220AUD which is frankly ridiculous.I like the Sage Method but it's still this manufacturers fastest rod as far as I'm aware,and not for novices.I use a 6wt.for Bonefish and agree about it's versatility in that it accommodates lines from 6wt.to 8wt.lines equally.
 
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