The debate continues.
Simon Gawesworth of Rio replies...
I read Peter's arguments with interest. It is always good to look at alternative views that are well thought out and presented.
A couple of things that I do not agree on - the most definite one is that there is no use for a long front taper. You can argue this point by saying if you were to take the shortest taper to the extreme - i.e. no taper - you would get a line that would kick over horrendously on the forward cast, loosing distance and also giving a very poor presentation. Therefore a longer taper than zero is better. I know through the work I have done here at Rio in testing lines that we test many different taper lengths and designs to find a taper that does what we want. We have very few lines with a long continuous front taper. Don't forget that not all tapers are continuous. We have compound tapers and reverse compound tapers that are essentially two front tapers (like the WindCutter) the first taper of medium length (6') from the body to a certain diameter and then a short level (5') section of this diameter before the final taper (4.5') to the tip. Is this classed a long front taper? - I don't know, but would doubt. The longest continuous front taper we have on a weight forward is on our LongCast at 7.5' on a #5 line.
There is no doubt that a long taper will produce a softer presentation, but to clarify a point, it does loose speed and therefore can collapse if too long, or cast poorly. The ideal taper length on a #5 or #6 line should be no more than about 8' - to get the best between presentation and distance.
Certainly for casting a big or heavy fly, or to get a good turnover into a wind we have a number of lines that have a 'bullet taper' - these are short tapers, almost level that keep the energy for turing over and coping with the problem. With regard to Peter's point about long back tapers and short front tapers - how about our Steelhead WF6F. It has a front taper of 5.5' a body of 32' and a rear taper of 18'.
I do like the thought on cores as this is seldom talked about. There is no doubt that a single strand monofilament core will give a stiffer line than a braided multifilament core, but this leads to more memory as the core is stiffer, so is the line and therefore the memory is a presence. We have to decide whether to make a stiff line that will cast fabulously, yet have some memory issues (which can be stretched out!) or a limp line with no memory issues, but it doesn't cast too well. At Rio we err slightly on the stiffer side believing that a good casting line is most important. Two downsides to a single strand core is that you can't needle knot your leader on - nail knot, but not needle knot and the core is denser, creating a floating line that is less buoyant than with a conventional core......just points to bear in mind when looking for the perfect fly line!
Well, that's my ha'penny's worth. I am always delighted to answer anything like this so please feel free to email me any time.
All the best
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