Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Switch Lines – my survey

with one comment

I have done this blog, as it consolidates my recent look at fly lines for fiberglass switch rods, to allow for an easy objective selection.  The blog is for me, but maybe others will benefit.

I continue to experiment with fly-lines for my long fiberglass rods, specifically two James Green Rods – a 7wt and a 5wt.

This season, my fishing was limited, but I found the OPST with its front heavy end was pulling to much into the mid-lower section of the rod, and easy created a harsh hinge, when the setup was not perfect.  This observation leads me to believe a long front taper would be better.

I previously published my selection of the OPST (which has the heavy front) versus the Wulff Ambush Taper (front taper). Upon reflection, I suspect the issue with the Ambush was too short with a rapid butt transition (I also do not like the memory of the line). I would probably would have been better off using the traditional TT or JWS line, if kept to Wulff product line.

wulff taper

But both OPST and Wulff does a disservice to the fly fishing community, as they do not provide any dimension data on their lines, so given their absence of good documentation, I am looking elsewhere.

So whose websites are easy to use, and all you to determine the best fit.

  • A Rating – Airflo USA >
    .
    If there is any issue. Airflo USA does not have the complete product line, and I suggest you look at the European Site.  https://www.airflofishing.com/
    .
    With previous great service from Tim Rajeff, a well structured website, and use of PU material (versus PVC), Airflo is often my goto line source.
    .
  • B Rating – Tied for Second
    • Monic – Limited selection and I am still trying to decide if I like them, but the website is good. In the once nd only like I have 11wt – clear – I like the core, but wonder if the clear polythylene is too “thick”.
    • RIO – I have heard complaints about RIO quality, but they have never given me grief. Site is good, and they ship to Canada, if a retailer does not have the line, accessory, et cetera.
    • Scientific Angler – Many filters and hover over the line and see the profile.  But not all lines have dimensional data, and the hard to read light text on white prevents this as sharing top spot with Airflo.
      .
      Thirty (30) years ago – before buying lines on the web – 3M SA was my goto source. They since been bought out by Orvis, but prior to this, I thought they lost their edge in taper design.  I bought one 3D spey line from them in 10 years, with no issue.
      .
  • C Rating -Tied for Third
    • Ballistic – Nice spey lines, but taper data is  vague.
    • Cortland – The data is there, but there is some serious broken links. For example, for the spring creek flyline, I get a boot?  Picture below.
    • NextCast – Another spey line focus company, but whose website is not intuitive, but the information is there.  The owner (forget his name) is really responsive.
      .
  • C-  Rating: Tied for Fourth, I am interested, but they make it difficult to compare and validate.
    • Barrio – No experience and they acknowledge they are not disclosing sme details.  Am I punishing them, as they are open that details are not detailed, while others may have compound tapers and are not disclosing them.
      • Sidebar: Trident Fly Fishing has executed in their fly line reviews taper measurements of some of these manufacturers, and I found no evidence – in a quick scan – that SA nor Airflo – are hiding complex taper data. RIO does disclose complex tapers.
    • Beulah > Nice spey lines, but missing front taper data.
    • Guideline > Does a better job than those below in describing line profile, the dimensional data is insufficient (they have been stripping the data out each year).  I do have and like their Scandi 3D Speyline.
      .
  • D Rating
    • ARC – Data may or may not be there (inconsistent), and given the competition, not sure why I would look at them.
    • Gaelforce – Positive reports from some users, and the descriptions are interesting, but the data is not there.
    • SunRay, lots of data and very interesting, but printed so small and fuzzy it is unusable. Trick open the picture only in another tab.  Also given I have attempted 3 times to order lines over an extended period and always out of stock of what I wanted, I give them a fail.
      .
  • F Fail – OPST and Wulff
    • Good people, but poor  data.
      .

 

…………

So what is my idea line ? 350gr?  

I am still working this out, and if the weather is not to cold (too much ice), I will try some mockups, before I draw out the next line, but right now I am thinking about a

  • 26′ head,
  • 16′ tapered front head,
  • 8′ body,
  • 2′ rear taper

scandi idea head

 

……….

And what is out there for my Fiberglass Switch Rods?

Airflo

Airflo Rage Compact

airflo rage

  • + This is near a perfect match!
  • + Available from 180 to 600 grains, in 30 gr increments
  • ~ Bearsden 201812 Pricing – 60 USD.

Airflo Beach

airflo beach.JPG

  • + A slightly longer Rage Compact, with an in integrated running line.
  • + I really like the Beach Line on my 8wt Scott Meridan, and available with intermediate and sinking heads.
  • ~ It is a little long and really design for heavier rods, but never-the-less it has the right form.
  • + Available from 190 (WF5I) to 320 (WF8F) grains
  • ~ Available from Bearsden at 90 USD

Airflo Scandi Compact

Generally not available in the US, as I believe the US arm is focus on the Rage.

airflo scandi compact

  • + Good shape, front taper is a little long, and if purchased, I might eventuality trim the butt.  Weight selection fantastic.
  • ~  Limited availability from US retailers, but is available in Canada and the ROW (Rest of the World)
  • ~ Available from 240  to 540 grains, in 30 grain increments.
  • ~ Available from Bearsden at 60 USD

Airflo Switch

airflo switch

  • ~ If you want an integrated lines (versus a head you can chop), this looks like a good choice.
  • The rear taper starts at 24′ versus 28′ with the Rage, a benefit for a shorter 9′ rod, but I like the longer front taper.
  • + It is a dead match with first pass specification, except for the integrated line.
  • + Available from 210 (WF3F)  to 390 (WF8F) grains, in 30 gr increments
  • ~ – Available from Bearsden at 100 USD

Airflo’s Delta Tapers are expressed in the Sixth Sense and River Line.

Airflo Sixth Sense – floating and intermediate

airflo sixth sense floating.JPGairflo sixth sense intermediate.JPG

  • – If you needed a line that reach out more, with a little more line control, this is a good choice.  But as I am trying to match a line for close in fishing, I fine the heads too long.  Nothing wrong with the line, it is about the intended use.
  • Appears to have no loops at ends.
  • + Available from 210 (WF3F)  to 350 (WF9F) grains
  • + Available from Bearsden at 75 USD

Airflo River

airflo river.JPG

  • As above, but with loops for easy and quick changes.
  • + Available from 140 (WF3-4F)  to 345 (WF8-9F) grains
  • ~ Available from Bearsden at 85 USD

Ballistic

Ballistic Express.JPG

  • A little vague? and would need to spend a minute to ensure weight and line is a match.
  • + Available from 270 (WF4-5F)  to 560 (W9-10F) grains
  • ~ Available from SRO at 50 USD.

Barrio
Barrio Switch.JPG

  • Looks okay, but they disclose they are hiding the details from you.  Now maybe some of the other companies too are hiding details and do not tell you, but I find this disappointing.
  • ~ Available from 300 (WF4/5F) to 470 (WF89F) Grains.
  • ~ Available from Barrio’s flylineshop at 40 GBP.

Cortland

Some nice lines, but no match.  I still like my old green DT 333, but found they have change “something” when this line returned to the market.  Yes they do properly document their lines, but there is a lot to clicking to find a profile that you might like and errors in their links.

Cortland Short Spey

cortland short spey.JPG

  •  I included this, as a positive note, for they have a limit selection and some good lines, but I wanted to have a counterpoint to the Compact Switch (below) that is a definite fail, which is a short shooting head and suited for a fast overhead rod IMHO  (versus most-all switch rods).
  • – Available from 450 to 625 Grains.
  • ~ Available from Cortland at 80 USD.

Compact Switch

cortland compact switch.JPG

  • Yuck, No!  I guess you can make anything work, but this is an overhead shooting head, and not a single hand spey line.
  • + Available from 240 (WF4F) to 485 (WF8) Grains.
  • ~ Available from Cortland at 80 USD.

Spring Creek Boot Line 🙂

Who wants to cast a boot! and will it catch a fish?

cortland boot.JPG

Guideline

Insufficient data, for a comparative review to select online.
.
I do have a collection of Spey 3D lines, and once their website provided the data to select lines – considering weight, configuration, profile and et cetera. Sad to see the information provided has been reduced.

Monic

No line match. I have one line for the salt and still trying to decide if I like a fly line made out of clear polyethylene.

Nextcast

Nextcast Coastal.png

  • ~ Short taper, but available with different tips.
  • ~ Available from 300 to 750 Grains, in 25 grain increments
  • ~ Available from NextCast at 80 USD.

OPST

  • – Insufficient data, for a comparative review to select online, but experience says no fit with heavy head.

RIO

Many choices — too many choices?  Anyway, the purpose was to lay this out and make me think, and do a singular look on one page.

rio lines.jpg

There are variants upon variants, and I not sure, I have them all covered, and see lines at BearsDen that does seem to appear at the OEM’s website.

Keeping to RIO Products Website for information:

  • + Scandi Short, 180 (WF2F) to 540 grains (WF9F), 60 USD
  • + Scandi Short + Tips, 275 (WF4) to 550grains (WF9), 150 USD
  • ~ Intouch Scandi 3D, 390 (WF6) to 700grains (WF11), 60 USD
  • – Single Hand Spey, it appears RIO has begun to discontinue this line
  • ~ Intouch Trout Spey, unstated (WF2F) to 230 grains (WF5F), 100 USD
  • + Intouch Versitip II,  WF5 to WF10, 190 USD

Scientific Angler

Mastery SBT

SA SBT.JPG

  • + In reading the able and looking at the profile, it looks good, but a little short.
  • – Very poor image to read the lengths.
  • – No it is not your eyes, it is what happens when marketing-branding stylists take over and forget about usability. (Remember, I am a Product Manager too, and I have had this battle to).
  • fyi – From Trident’s reviews
    • ” SBT and Rio SHS are lines that are definitely worth trying, and must haves if you do a lot of roll casting or are fishing in tight quarters.”
  • + Available from 100 (WF2F) to 240 (WF8F) grains.
  • ~ Available from BearsDen at 80 USD.

Mastery VPT

This line came up on several searches and also looks like a real contender, but it is not on Scientific Anglers website.  Is it discontinued?

SA VPT.JPG

Wulff

Insufficient Data

 

…………..

Any what am I am going to buy?

In order of preference ….

  1. Airflo Rage Compact
  2. Airflo Scandi Compact, a little long, but looks good
  3. Airflo Switch, which has an integrated line
  4. RIO Trout Spey, a little short with integrated line

Anyway, I have sometime to spring to order and play with this line. I would expect an update mid-late in 2019.

.

 

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/12/03 at 01:34

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Spey, Streamer

One Response

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  1. […] of seasons, I have migrated away from the more aggressive tapers of OPST Skagits and migrated to Airflo Rage and Switch for my short two handed rods. For the James Green 7wt 10′ below, my preference […]


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