Watchin' For You!

J. Castwell
November 16th, 1998

Not the Same

"Barbara, I am the President of the United States of America, and I don't have to eat broccoli if I don't want to." With that George Bush got into a bit of trouble with the broccoli growers. Hope I don't get myself into trouble on this one. No, this is not about eating, it's about fly lines and fly rods.

This last week my wife and I spent a bit too much time fly-fishing for salmon at a creek estuary on Puget sound, part of the Pacific Ocean. Water two feet deep, lots of room for casting, plenty of area for a fish to zip around once hooked. The casts did not need to be very long, perhaps forty feet. But, you know how it is when casting; you just have to try a few longer ones.

On the first day we were out I had given each of us a new fly line to try. Please don't hate me, but I rarely have to pay for our fly lines; perks of the business. How else are we supposed to really know about this stuff?

This is not always a good thing though. Sometimes we end up using a line or something that is not what we really would have chosen, had we not been for whatever reason, evaluating some product. Such proved to be the case on that day. I need to explain we were both using very fine eight weight fly rods. Mine was a ten footer and my wife's was a nine foot model. Both rods were well known to each of us. The fly lines were both rated eight weight, weight forward, floating. (WF8F) They were expensive lines and recommended for the conditions in which we were using them.

JC and Chum Salmon

I have had other lines on the rod and would be able to notice any differences in the line behavior should there have been any. There was. My line did not 'load' in the normal distance. I had to push it a lot until I had at least forty-five feet out. It did not cast well at short distances, very light feeling. Later, after fishing for about two hours we packed up and on the way home discussed our day, including the fly lines. She had the same problem with her line even though it was a different WF8F type of line, but, by the same manufacturer. Both lines did not cast well; they seemed too light. Now, it may have been the aero-dynamics, or whatever, I don't care, they did not work properly.

Here is the clincher; they sunk. The end few feet did not stay above the surface but readily followed the leader into the shallow water. As I noticed this, it also was evident that the fly line, in coils by my feet after striping line in, also was sinking! This made double-hauling hard as I had to jerk the submerged fly line to the top to cast it. On top of that, a salmon swimming by entangled himself in the sunken coils! What a mess. Two brand new lines; they cast poorly and sunk. Nuts!

My point here is this. Let's say you were at a fly shop trying out a new fly rod. The guy gives you a reel loaded with who-knows-who's fly line and outside you go. Let's hope he gave you a line that matched the rod. If not you may forever dislike the brand of fly rod you didn't buy because it just did not cast right. Perhaps when checking out a new fly rod, you should try more than one line? There is a difference in fly lines of the same weight and class. Sometimes a very big difference.

Oh yes, the broccoli thing? I am James Castwell, and I don't have to fish with fly lines I don't like. I sometimes do it, but I don't have to keep on doing it. I can take them off, throw them away, and put on another line. I did change lines the very next morning to our well-used bonefish fly lines, designed for warm water. This is the Pacific Ocean. Cold water. They were not even designed for water this cold. They worked fine anyway. They cast very nicely, were the color of broccoli, loaded with a reasonable amount of line out, and they floated too.

I know you would like the names of the fly lines. As the unacceptable fly lines were not given to us to do a 'product' review I don't feel it would be proper for me to give you the name. Sorry.

As to the ones we switched to, the ones that worked just fine? They are 3 or 4 year old Cortland. The point here is not to sell you fly lines. It is to let you know fly lines are NOT all the same, even if they carry the same AFTMA code.~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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