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Been steelhead fishing once
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359 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While currently in Maine preparing for the drive across the continent to WA (July 7) I was contemplating fly lines. I know, big thinker, right? Kant and Heidegger can only get you so far when applied to fly fishing.

You folks on WFF are into different fly lines and specialty ones to boot. Here in Maine, it's a WF or a spinning rod. Being on WFF for a while now has lead to me purchasing an integrated shooting head (ISH) (Orvis Bank Shot) and I love it.

After my brain liquefying thought process (singular) I have come to an un-tested conclusion that a WF line does nothing bad but also doesn't do anything all that well either. If you are fishing less than 30-40 feet away then you're essentially fishing a DT line (depending on how long the WF belly is). Until the belly is outside of the rod it is a DT. After the belly is outside the rod then you get all that advertised shooting ability but then the mending goes to shat.

A DT will cast just like a WF until you get past the point where the WF's belly is outside the rod. But with the DT you get super-hero mending ability. It's this mending ability that I've recently become aware of being way more important in most fishing situations than an extra 10-20 feet on my cast (from a WF). So essentially, I've recently made the decision to give up some distance to my longer casts for the trade-off of superior mending which is important on almost all casts.

And if distance is that important, you should have a shooting head anyway, right?

So now I carry a floating DT and floating ISH with sinking poly leaders. The DT covers most of my fishing here in Maine. I love to swing wet flies so the ISH comes in handy for this on big, broad riffles. The ISH with the sink tips is great for streamer swinging too. The DT is still perfect for spot fishing streamers where tons of mending is needed to get the fly down. Bases covered. Note that my single-handed spey still sucks but is getting better.

I plan on an intermediate when I get into the salt scene.

So my questions to y'all are:
1) Do you still use WF fly lines? If so, why? If not, why?
2) Do you agree with my line of thinking or should I piss off?
3) What other recommendations do you have?

And lastly, thanks to so many of you that replied to my Seattle neighborhoods thread. I can't tell you how much that helped my wife and I do some research on living situations. Much thanks.
 

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Don't over think it. Fish more worry about gear less......

I fish WF and DT lines. Either work great. I do like Rio Gold because it has a long taper/head and for most situations and it mends well. I also like it for roll and single hand spey casts. Great all around fishing line.

I do not like lines like SA GPX. It is basically a shooting head with a running line. When I started fly fishing I was set up with one of these and beside my lack of experience had such a hard time mending line. It was not until later that I figured out you can not mend a piece of twine with a thread.

If you think you need a shooting head and can actually use one to it's potential the likelihood of hooking a fish or controlling a line across that many different currents is slim
 

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If you're looking at line choice as a simple spectrum of mending vs distance, then I suppose the natural argument for WF vs DT or ISH would be that it's the jack-of-all-trades (with the usual caveat of being the master of none). It's the all around option that mends better than an ISH but gets more distance than a DT.

There's also the tendency of a WF to punch flies into the wind (or punch out wind-resistant flies) better than a DT, all else being equal.

I have and use all three, though I'd say my time spent casting a WF exceeds that of my time spent casting a DT or ISH by a ratio of about 10:1:1...for me the DT comes out when I'm anticipating a calm day of casting nothing but dries or small/light subsurface patterns within 35 feet, with plenty of room for casting. Change any of those 4 variables (wind, bigger/heavier flies, distance, or casting room) and the WF gets the not instead. The ISH sees it's use when I'm stepping up to very large patterns that I need to deliver downrange. Basically trading any semblance of delicacy or fineese for the ability to move a 6"+ fly at all...and sent it out to the back 40.
 

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Mad Flyentist
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1,764 Posts
Saltwater=shooting and stripping= WF or shooting head.
River fishing= shorter casts/more mending= longer head line

That has been my gross oversimplification for a few years now.
Changes a bit when you start fishing bigger rivers though.
 

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Just an Old Man
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35,199 Posts
When I first started fly fishing I used a DT. But after using large flies I found a WF worked best. Now all I use is a WF on all my lines. You get used to one kind of line and you stick with it.
 

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Robert
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3,012 Posts
So my questions to y'all are:
1) Do you still use WF fly lines? If so, why? If not, why? I do, mainly because DT are hard to find. i.e. just bought a "Hover" line; NA in DT
2) Do you agree with my line of thinking or should I piss off? I think if it works for you that's all that matters. If you can find DT lines in sizes and type you want, do it. Personally, I love fishing a DT. By ISH I'm thinking Rio Outbound Express or Wulff Ambush, both of which I like and use.
3) What other recommendations do you have?
 

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Use a WF and learn how to mend your line while it is in the air. Giving a reach and/or a pile that puts the proper mend in the line before it hits the water is supremely effective and also allows one to take advantage of the casting properties of WF lines.

I suppose one could learn to do this with ISH lines but thin running line is harder to manipulate.

I love DT lines on shorter rods for smaller creeks and rivers. Nothing casts better or more accurately for me in these conditions.
 

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Senior Moment
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5,472 Posts
Started with DTs, and WFs. DTs throw nicer line. Whoever says that the front 30(+) feet of a WF is the same as a DT if full of crap. Many are tip heavy, probably most. I believe there are a very few, like the SA Steelhead Taper are basically a DT line for the front 45' or so. I used to like the Rio Gold quite a bit, but I'm convinced the front 10' (minus the taper) is heavier than the next 10'. Some like that I'm sure. It would help casting into the wind, and turning over heavy flies, but that's where the convenience ends IMO. For a lot of my fishing I'm moving back towards DT. Think of it as a long shooting head :). That's a joke but seriously though, DT lines shoot pretty well, and carry more line in the air if you have room.
 

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Formerly tbc1415
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3,179 Posts
Salvy
IMHO, Your thinking is sound and your current line selection will cover most all freshwater trout situations quite well. We can of course pick nits all day long but you are ready to fish in the Northwest as soon as you touch down.

My personal favorite floating line type is the long belly WF with a belly including front and back tapers around 48' or more. RioLT and Wulff Long Belly are both great casting lines but neither will carry heavy or wind resistant flies very well out of the box. So I just cut the long tapered tips back incrementally until they will turn over those flies. This sacrifices some of the "finesse" designed into the line but as long as a line has good turnover the caster can land their flies as delicately as he/she is capable of. I much prefer a good jack of all trades line to switching lines repeatedly throughout the day

TC
 

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Cut my own cock off
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1,580 Posts
I love shooting heads with my switch rod. I have a 7 WT switch rod with a super fast sinking 300 grain shooting head for saltwater (ling cod/rockfish) and deep lake streamer fishing, and a 300 grain intermediate shooting head for lakes.

When fishing dries or nymphing, I've never felt the need to use anything other than a WF floating line.
 

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DT's are the best fishing lines around. And they teach you how to cast well beyond 30 feet.

They are also better for short casting because there is more weight of line inside the guides helping to load the rod.

When one end wears out turn it around and you have a new line.
They spey cast better as well.

There is nothing wrong with weight forward lines but with the exception of some specialty situations DT's almost always perform better
 

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Been steelhead fishing once
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359 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, I love the Bank Shot. The folks touting the Ambush on this forum got me to look into it. Great line. Got the Orvis due to Pro Guide discount.

Love the point of mending in the air, usually a reach of some sort. It's never by habit for me, only by requirement when I can't get a drift with cast and mend. Good point.

I didn't mean WF and DT were the same tip wise. WF are usually heavier with a faster taper but it is still just the front taper if you're fishing < 30 feet of line, making it like DT albeit with a shorter tip taper. The WF part doesn't come into play until the belly is outside of the rod tip.

I agree with the heavy, non-finesse argument on WF or shooting heads to some degree, but how often will lining a fish with a 2 wt DT with 25 foot front taper give you a different result than lining a fish with an 8 wt shooting head. That fish is diving for cover no matter what. The only time is on flat water and picky fish- then that argument holds up strong. This is just like, my opinion, man.

I agree that starting with a DT will aid in improving casting technique faster. And they do cast great at short distances. Good to know they spey cast better. I'm still so new to this. Will give it a go with my DT floater.

And why are DTs so hard to find. Sheesh! My most successful searches have been in fly shop bargain bins- mostly with older SA lines. Can't argue with that for $15.

Thanks for "picking nits" with my thoughts.
 

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Senior Moment
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5,472 Posts
They are hard to find because of the marketing machine. The industry would make little profit if they didn't trot out a "new and improved" product that shoots like a rocket and gives 20% better gas mileage. They all are forced to fuck with a good thing. Fly rods, same thing, they've gotten faster such that a 5wt (insert favorite brand here) is far closer to yesterday's 6 wt desired grain window. So lines got heavier to match the rods. Consequently a standard 5wt DT line isn't a good match on the latest/greatest 5wt whiz-bang rod. But put it on an older say Winston WT or similar, or one of today's glass rods, and pay attention to what it SHOULD be like. Far greater loop control, mending, presentation control and you can still fire a tight loop into a breeze. And anyone that says they are only good at short distances is flat out wrong.
Obviously I'm on the other side of the coin.
 

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Been steelhead fishing once
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359 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
David,
I agree. My new habit is to buy two more of something I love for fear of the marketing changing it up for newness as opposed to effectiveness. So it goes.

I do use fast rods but have an older Cortland 5 wt noodle that I love to bring out when I get tired of flying fast. It's so light and comfortable and just a pleasure to cast. It's great to hit the evening hatch with this rod and a DT after tiring myself out with sink tips, weighted flies, and bobber rigs in the day.

I even love the DT on my 8 wt. It's perfect for spot fishing and getting a streamer down deep and dancing it through a run or riffle.
 

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Anywhere ~ Anytime
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1,613 Posts
After the belly is outside the rod then you get all that advertised shooting ability but then the mending goes to shat.

I don't agree. You still control the head (to a degree) with running line. Hold your run line off the surface and you'll have very good control. Assertive flicks and rolls will mend the head, especially one with a long rear taper*.

A DT will cast just like a WF until you get past the point where the WF's belly is outside the rod. But with the DT you get super-hero mending ability. It's this mending ability that I've recently become aware of being way more important in most fishing situations than an extra 10-20 feet on my cast (from a WF). So essentially, I've recently made the decision to give up some distance to my longer casts for the trade-off of superior mending which is important on almost all casts.

Maybe it's a regional thing or just fishing tact preference, but I really don't mend all that much. Aerial mends are best bet. Generally fish to risers or swing wets and streamers. Use drag to my advantage rather than killing myself in an attempt to negate it. Tighter casting space as a rule and do very little nymphing.. probably regional.

And if distance is that important, you should have a shooting head anyway, right?

A lot of shooting heads are downright "clunky" in comparison to good WF line. To toss the proverbial blanket over WF line tapers is a HUGE injustice. There are so many variations with modern compound tapers it is impossible to pigeon-hole them into the old "Classic" WF format. DT are actually much more universal.. there are several WF lines that have more forward taper than the DT.

So my questions to y'all are:
1) Do you still use WF fly lines? If so, why? If not, why?


They suit my style.. and allow me more latitude to custom fit a line to specific reels without cutting a DT in half (another old trick)

2) Do you agree with my line of thinking or should I piss off?

Everyone makes they're own choices.. wise people are non judgmental. What do I care if someone fishes different lines than I do?

3) What other recommendations do you have?

Sounds like your a diverse thinker.. that's a plus.

*I'll offer a vid clip of what's possible with aggressive mending a WF taper, with a bobber even.

 
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