I'm in the dubious position of being able to ask flytackle manufacturers all sorts of interesting questions - as well as some awkward ones. And so I will :-) and beginning with flylines. Over the next month/s I'll be interviewing Bruce Richards (from 3M) as well as Cortland, Airflo and Shakespeare. I am starting with Simon Gawesworth from Rio Products. If you have any questions feel free to post them on the Bulletin Board; they are always pretty quick to respond.
Simon, let's talk about the front taper on the Windcutter flyline (it's one of my favourites): how was this invented?
The front taper of the WindCutter was invented by Jim when he was cutting up
fly lines and fixing his own lines for a good presentation line. The line (a #5,
for example), was made by taking the rear end of a #6 line and splicing this to
a front taper of a #4 line. The cut was made so that, at 30' (the AFTM
standard) the line weighed 120 grains - the AFTM standard for a #5 line. But,
the way the weight was configured, the heavier line was at the rod tip end,
making the rod load very easily and the lighter #4 front taper, would turnover
and land softer than regular #5 lines. The line cast so well, that when Jim
started making fly lines as RIO, the first line made was the WindCutter. This
taper was so good that the design was taken right through the AFTM range to
produce the heavier spey lines that have been so successful.
I personally like them for distance casting; I like the hard and thin
running line and I like the fact that the bulk of the weight is set further
back from the tip. It is IMHO perhaps the best distance line on the market. But it is NOT
the line to cast into the wind. The front taper is too long and light. Rio
Market this line as "designed for windy conditions". Why? :-)
With regard to casting into the wind, this is a line that is designed to have
good presentation, as well as turnover into a wind. The heavier back section
imparts far more energy into the line than a standard #5 line, resulting in a
faster turnover of the tip. The front taper is only 4' 6" long on the #5, before
going into the first level section and the compound taper. This short taper is
what helps turnover the line into a wind. It is a good casting line into the
wind, yet in keeping a design that gives the delicate presentation. I am sorry
you don't find it a good line for wind casting and am surprised as it is one of
the best out there.
(we'll talk about this some more shortly :-) - Paul)
How long is the head and what is the total head weight of the 6 weight
please (for the purposes of contrast)? The total head weight must be
considerably greater than the first 10yrds. (we'll use this for comparisons later on)
The head length of the #6 weight WindCutter is 42 ft and at 42 ft it weighs
Is it proportional to the AFTM rating as you go through the line weights?
I seem to remember that you use computers for designing your lines.. How
does this work?
We do use computers to make lines - not design them. The design is done in
house by Jim and I. Jim knows so much about taper design and how it affects the
way a line behaves it is truly amazing to see. We sketch out the design and
then get a prototype made. Once it is made Jim, John, Marlin and myself (four
guys with different casting skills and styles) cast the line and comment on its
performance. The necessary changes are made on a diagram and the next model
made. this goes on until we have achieved the desired results in the line. The
lines then go out to our field testers for their comments and impressions.
Finally, when everyone is happy, the lines are made for sale. To give you an
idea. I am working on a new line now. I have just cast the 13th sample and
finally think it is right to send out to our field testers. It is an amazing
line and I think I have made my longest cast with this type of line - ever. The
computer thing you mentioned is the control of how the fly line is made. We have
such accurate control that we can make 25,000 different steps or taper changes
in 1 inch (if necessary!) Also, if you were to take a micrometre and measure 6
different WF6F lines, say the WindCutter, you would find them exactly the same
to the very inch. No-one else can touch that control!
I'm looking forward to trying one of these out :-) Simon now only has another 632 questions
to answer before we move on to our next manufacturer... Simon is one of the finest flycasters I know (he's AAPGAI of course). Not every flyline manufacturer employs a flycaster, as you will find out! We will shortly be giving lines away as prizes from all the manufacturers. In the meantime you can buy Rio through our incredible Sexyloops Tackleshop