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November 6th, 2000

Wrong Fly Line
By James Castwell

"Oh boy," I thought as I picked up the two coils of close-out fly line at the Somerset, NJ fly fishing show. I had used the brand many years back and had liked the way they had shot through the line-guides. Those were five weights and these were eights but it was eights I wanted. What luck! I dug out the ten bucks for each and went on my way, clutching my treasure. Yes, as long as I have been at this, I still get a kick out of buying things, at a discount makes it even better.

That was a bit over two years ago. I have kept them here in the den and not taken the time to transfer them to any reels. No reason I guess, just didn't need any new lines, the ones I was using were doing fine. That was until my wife and I got two new rods for fishing chum salmon here. Got a couple of eight weight, four piece numbers, easier to pack in the trunk etc. And I wanted a bit slower and tougher rod for these fish. Delicate presentation and finesse in casting are lost on these hogs. If ever there was a specie known for busting up goodies, these baby's are it. I saw one fellow last year show up with a new fly rod four days in a row, seemed to have a problem with the rod-tip when landing them.

Anyhow, that was the impetus to mount the two new WF8F lines. We took the new rods and lines to a stream estuary anticipating a wonderful time casting our new toys. The wind was up, really up about twenty-five to thirty. In our face. We fished anyway. Testing new stuff under those conditions is not only a tad difficult, it is darn right impossible. An un-trained ape could have formed a perfect back-cast and no man alive could have made a reasonable front cast. So what, we fished as best we could. In fact I got one.

On the drive home I mentioned to the Ladyfisher, the lines seemed a little light, they did not seem to run in the guides right. Kind of 'sticky' perhaps. The next day, at home, I took the rods outside and tried a little casting. They still seemed a bit light, but casting and fishing are not the same thing, I don't care what anyone may tell you. They are different. Our next fishing venture was a week later with much less wind. No doubt about it, the lines did not cast the way I wanted them to, that went for both of us. In fact they stunk, period.

To make the line function I had to shorten my casting stroke utilizing more of the tip and not the rest of the rod. The line would load the tip, but when the full rod was brought to power the line would not go through the guides right. Yes, I checked if all the guides were lined up and I had not missed a guide.

A few days later I striped both those lines off the reels and stuffed them into the garbage can. I went back to the lines I had used for a few years. One a Scientific Anglers sinking tip and the other a Cortland weight forward floater, both eight weights of course. Today I took them to Chico Creek for chum. I was alone so I had one rod, a reel with one line and a spare spool with the other line on it. The fish cooperated perfectly. They did not show, which gave me plenty of time to play with the gear.

The result was, both lines cast just fine. Virtually no difference really, and that was from very short tip casts using about fifteen feet of line out to the backing knot. Although all the lines weighed the same, that is, all were eight weights, they cast very differently. The surface texture and characteristics of the two lines I got at the show made them worthless for our method of fishing and casting. That is not to say they may not have been alright for somewhere else under different conditions.

The 'stickiness' of the lines made them 'seem' too light for the rods in that they would not shoot into the front and back casts. A line that is too light will not have enough mass and will tend to behave that way. There is a method of casting lines four or five sizes lighter than the listed weight on a rod, but that is a European method and does not apply here. It may be a guy needs to look for more than the line weight when matching a line to a rod, like maybe trying one first? ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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