Your favorite brand and model of fly line(s), and why?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Denny, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,048
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    As ealy as the early 90's (gosh, that was 15 years ago already!), there were a couple of primary line manufacturers with a few model options. Nowadays we have so many different brands of great fishing products out there, including fly fishing lines.

    Just 4 years ago I was fishing the Florida Keys with a friend (who is a local guide), and I was using a Powell AXS fly rod with a Rio line. My buddy gave me grief about using second tier products (he wasn't familiar with either product at that time). By the way, when stretched, the Rio line was awesome, but it was also a pain in the as_ because it had to be stretched after I reeled up and we moved to a new spot.

    Although there are Cortland, Rio, and Airflo models I like, probably my favorite lines are the Scientific Angler Mastery Series. I like their GPX for general trout floating lines; their Streamer Express for streamer fishing and beach fishing; and all of their saltwater lines (Bonefish, Tarpon, and Saltwater).

    So, what is or are your favorite brand/brands of fly lines, which models, and why? And for what purpose? Trout lines, salmonid river lines, saltwater lines, spey lines, what are your favorites? And why?
  2. Mingo the Menehune stole my beer

    Posts: 2,629
    Happy Hour, WA
    Ratings: +377 / 1
    GPX for trout in rivers, Rio Nymph for indicator fishing......and any line they give me for free when I buy a new reel or rod :rofl:

    I always choose olive or sage if possible for river fishing. Maybe it's not necessary but it makes me feel stealthy. I don't think it matters one bit in the salt.

    I love Rio welded loops and their 1/2 size heavier weights for fast action rods.

    So Richard............which line do you feel gives you absolutely the best max distance when you gun those 120'ers out there?
  3. Capt. Awesome Member

    Posts: 260
    Bend, OR
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Some may think of me as simple-minded but I still like the Cortland 444. The coating is slick, stays that way with little maintenance and does all the little things right for me.

    I also like SA GPX- although my current GPX line is cracking after less than a year's use! I don't think this is indicative of the product line itself- I haven't treated it very well and I've been fishing the hell out of it.
  4. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,463
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +522 / 0
    Cortland 444 Peach ...for trout 5 weight and under...and I have soft (medium) action rods.

    I like the SA Steelhead taper for my XP's 6 and up ..... can cast with distance with this line. Best floater I have found so far for this rod....but several I have not tried yet too.

    I do like using SA Ultra 2's for my salt floaters (DS and DS2's)
  5. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,226 / 0
    My fishing is almost exclusively for trout: 75% in lakes; and 25% in small to medium streams. I use both medium action graphite rods and medium to slow action bamboos. All my trout rods are 3wt to 6wt.

    I own a wide variety of lines, and have tried or owned and sold even more. These days, my favorites are the Cortland 444 Peach, SA Ultra IV or XPS, and Rio Classic. All these lines have several attributes in common.

    - Their stated and their actual line weights are accurate (no gimmicky, half-weight-heavier designs.).

    - Their tapers are all pretty straightforward with no long front tapers or extended bellies.

    - They're all pretty much memory-free and exhibit very little coiling, even in cold weather.

    - They all float like a cork (as well they should.)

    - They all have a durable coating that minimizes cracking, reduce friction and wear and maintains floatation over the useful life of the line. I've got examples of all four models mentioned above that are at least three years old and fished regularly. Each looks and performs like a new line.

    Finally, I've got a SA GPX that was a gift. While I like it, it's also with the knowledge that it's a half weight heavier. IMHO, these are 'gimmick' lines designed for and marketed to those who fish the fastest action rods available with a quick, aggressive casting stroke. That said, I probably wouldn't go out and buy another GPX (or a Rio Grand or Sage Performance Taper.)

  6. GVanKommer always learning

    Posts: 28
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    love the Cortland 444. I even named my daughter after it. (still like the 333 too.)
    also love my teeny t-130 sink tip, casts amazing.

    not at all a fan of Rio. own two I cannot stand.

    I think most SA lines are too plasticy (is that a word?)
    GPX is the only one of theirs I use though.
  7. Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

    Posts: 1,690
    Outer Duvall
    Ratings: +248 / 1
    Wish I'd thought of that.

    Favorites are Cortland 444 and Cortland SYLK. For all the reasons mentioned above plus the fact that I have been using the 444 for so many years and they have not changed perceptibly which elevates them to "old reliable" status.
    The value of that status is that you no longer have to fuss about which line should I take with which rod. You just grab your stuff and go. Once there, you can focus on more important things like getting a better drift in tricky currents or casting alongside that log or under those overhanging bushes.

  8. Randy Knapp Active Member

    Posts: 1,132
    Warm Springs, Virginia, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Cheap green SA Air Cel WF Bass taper. DT in same line is ok too.

  9. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I think Rio has better tapers and coatings but their lines dont seem to hold up as well as SA lines, with coating, plastic, and core cosidered.

    I really dig the nymph lines for steelies and love the SA trout for dries and finess stuff.
  10. Big K1 Large Member

    Posts: 538
    Duvall, WA, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Carron for a floater and Airflo Skagit head for tips.
  11. flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

    I like the Rio Grande and GPX I have for my two med fast 5wt's. The GPX does sink a bit, so I guess I need to seal it if it's not too late. A good general all around and good priced line is the SA Ultra 4's and the Cortland 444 is a very good line.

    A new line (Airflo 40 plus)I tried out a few weeks ago rocks, at least for casting. It's a shooting head and casts like a damn rocket! I haven't fished it yet, but I'm going to get one for my fast action 5wt and use it for streamer's and probably in the salt.

    For spey lines, I love my Hardy Mach 1 on my 11'6" and really like the new CND gravity point lines! I've cast a bunch of Mieser rods and the CND Black rods with the CND lines and they have rocked!! I also like the Rio Skagit line and am looking forward to trying the new SA Skagit line. Too many choices, but fun to play with and more fun to fish with!! :thumb:
  12. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,743
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,704 / 0
    What's ever cheaper off the shelf. I'm not picky about lines. But if I was,it would be Cortland lines. One of the best in the business. I now have a Rio line on my three weight and it casts and floats just about right. And since I don't have to boom out any long casts it does just fine.(River is about 10' wide at it's widest point).

  13. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    I have a love hate relationship with the S.A. Steelhead line, I love it when I'm nymphing for kings and such as the extra belly makes line controll easy but I hate it when i'm silver fishing and have to shoot line, it sucks for this
  14. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,543
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,679 / 0
    The Cortland 444 peach is my all time favorite, but I own more SA Air Cell and Air Cell Supremes because they are now considered second tier, but they are cheap ($27-29) and are still as good as when they first came to the market as first tier lines. I also like the several Orvis Wonderline Spey lines I bought on sale over the past couple years. They were relatively cheap, and if anything, are better than the lines I'm using on my single handed rods. When I believe that I will cast or fish better with more expensive fly lines, then I will buy them, and they will then be my favorites.


    Salmo g.
  15. Evan Casteel Small Stream Fanatic

    Posts: 37
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I agree with GVanKommer. Although the 444 peach is not the most advanced, high-tech fly line it casts beautfully and is my very favorite line. Although I haven't cast as many lines as some, the 444 still beats most. It seems to ride high, clean-up easily, and remains relatively inexpensive. I try and buy mine on eBay. I have the 2, 3, 4, and 5 in DT and the 7 in WF. I do have a fiberglass that I would like to try the DT6 on.

    As for the other lines... my friend has several of the rio's including the classic and a full sinking 6wt which he puts on a 5wt rod which makes little sense to me. IMO, the rio classic did not float well and it has a wicked memory (at least his line). The full sinking line was just impossible, but it wasn't matched to the correct rod.

    As for SA, I have mixed feelings. I had the GPX on my faster rod and it casts alright but it looks cheap and started to crack early on for a $59 line. It does help load the faster rod better, but hey the 444DT does the job just as well. Also tried the mastery headstart, not bad but same as the GPX. If you are thinking of buying the GPX, get the headstart and save some money.

    For the Teeny, I have not tried his lines but I am thinking about getting the Whitlock bass line for the lower yak. The T-130 would have little use for me since I rarely fish big rivers or lakes. If I was to buy one of his sink tip lines, I would try the mini-tip.

    I am starting to favor more slow-moderate rods and the 444 just seems ideal. The 333 for the price is not bad either. Line selection and feel is such a personal choice that the opinions here really don't matter, but its interesting to read everyones preferences. I also wouldn't mind trying the wulff triangle taper.
  16. thewaker Tight line takes ain't no fakes!!

    Posts: 263
    Bend, Oregon
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    SA Steelhead taper is the best line for overhead,and roll casting IMHO. It also works quite well as a nymph line as the extended back taper alows for better stack mends at long distance.

  17. Backyard SANCHO!

    Posts: 1,690
    The River, WA.
    Ratings: +5 / 0
  18. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,749
    Ratings: +104 / 0
    I think the line thing is mental.......If the fish are biting it doesn't really matter. Plus that great line will feel totally different with a big fly, bushy fly, heavy fly, sintip, whatever. If you want distance for salt et cetera use a running line and if you want to mend don't. It is as simple as that isn't it? I think the only good way to judge a line is durability. Furthermore I hook most steelhead 30' or less in front of me. If I need more distance I am using a spey which doesn't even need to shoot that well as I can roll cast 60'. I don't think I have ever hooked a river salmon/steelhead more than 65' away. If you want an indicator nymph line use a permanent marker on your fly line to mark it or loop on a couple feet of floaty line of the right diameter with marks ( this can be a pain to cass but won't mess up your perfect line and I think it still feels better to the soul and wrist than a strike indicator )

    If you want that butter casting every time than only fish small dry flies on WF lines. Unfortunately that limits your quarry.
  19. Dan Kell New Member

    Posts: 46
    Everett, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I've been using the Rio Versi-tip since they came out. I've been really happy with them.
  20. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I am a Wulf Triangle Taper guy for my dry fly fishing and use the Cortland 444for steelhead. Love both lines and don't buy much of anything else except the occasional Cortland Lazer 444.