Tracy&James | Sunday, 5 March 2023
Everyone who has competed in #5 weight fly casting distance events will have heard of the Scientific Anglers Mastery Expert Distance (SA MED) line. This is a true to AFFTA weight specification line with a very long head, 72 feet, that demands a carry in the order of ~85 feet in order to get the best of it. Actually it’s a great fishing line too, in fact I started using the MED (it was called the XXD back then) before I got involved in casting sport – I’m pretty sure I caught my first ever bonefish, from near the Boca Paila bridge in Mexico, with it and I continued to use it for a number of subsequent trips despite it not being a ‘tropics’ line. When I did get involved in distance casting it was great that I didn’t have to adapt to a new line and I distinctly remember my first ever competition, at the Sportfish premises near Reading in southern England, where I cast my bonefish outfit 39 yards which I was quite pleased with at the time (only being beaten by the likes of John Reynolds, Jonathon Tomlinson and Mike Heritage).
Fairly recently there have been some huge distances posted by a number of top class distance casters using this line. This probably results from the emergence of the fly casting world championships where it is specified that the MED must be used in the trout distance event. As such people are training intensely with this line and the performance bar is constantly being pushed upwards. However, the single line only rule may be somewhat stifling further development of distance casting lines. It may be that, for some, the MED is the ultimate line, but for others that may not be the case – but that may be about to change.
This week Tracy and I have been testing prototype lines. These have been produced by Steve Parkes at his home in Wales and the first tapers are aimed squarely at distance casters. Steve had previously made ST27 and S55 competition lines that were so successful at the last world championships (2 gold medals from the hands of BerntJohansson), but he’s now turned his sights to trout distance lines. Obviously without a rule change these won’t be allowed to be used in the world championships, but they potentially could be used at the BFCC when they’re commercially available for all to buy.
My first impressions of the lines are very impressive, both Tracy and myself made casts above the current BFCC records in weather where normally we wouldn’t have been close. [As an aside, a while back I set myself the challenge of beating all seven of the BFCC records in practice – I finally achieved this when I got to grips with the T38, the one that had eluded me for some time. Obviously this doesn’t count for anything, but it did serve as a motivator for practice for a while]. Anyway, for both Tracy and myself, Steve’s prototype lines cast further than the MED. One of my favourite sayings is that ‘you can’t buy distance in a tackle shop’ however I suspect I’ll have to caveat that statement once Steve has finalised development and started selling them. At that point I fully expect all the BFCC full line records to come under pressure.
Have a great week,