Textured fly lines

Textured fly lines

Viking Lars | Saturday, 1 April 2017

I'm not sure how long ago it was that textures on fly lines were introduced. As far as I remember, it was AirFlo who introduced the first ones, the ones with ridges along the length of the line. For a few years they stood alone on the market, and I believe that Scientific Anglers were next with their "SharkSkin-lines", which sported a sort of microscopic cross-hatch pattern on the line's surface.

It seems that all the development today is still at Scientific Anglers - I haven't checked AirFlo and I believe the other few big ones aren't doing textured lines (yet?). As far as I know, neither RIO nor Cortland are doing it. S.A. have developed further and made upgrades and new textures. Their latest line series, Amplitude, which features established tapers, now feature no less than three different textures on the same line.

I'm  a bit on divided on where I stand with these textured lines. It was many, many years ago that the grand old man of fly fishing in Denmark, Preben Torp Jacobsen (The Mad Vetenarian) named fly fishing "The Quiet Sport". And textured lines aren't exactly quiet - they are, in fact, quite noisy! And I don't like that - period.

They are also *really* tough on your fingers if you're doing "constant-retrieve-fishing" (i.e. stillwater), and unless you use a finger guard, they will wear through the skin over a day (other lines will too). And I'm not particularly keen on wearing/using finger guards either. Even the ridged lines from AirFlo are tough on the skin, even though the ridged are running the length of the line and not across.

I do (to a certain extent) buy into to at least some of the marketing on these lines. I use them primarily when dry fly fishing, where I'm not constantly casting and retrieving. And especially for dry fly, I like them because one thing I believe, based on what I experience when using them, is that they do float higher and are easier to lift off the water. They also really do shoot well, but I haven't done any side-by-side comparison - basically because I don't think it's possible to reach any objective conclusion.

In preparation for the dry fly season I've just spooled on an S.A. MPX Amplitude WF-line, and in a month or two, I'll let you know what I think. I know the taper well, it's the "upgrade" from the GPX and it's a really nice taper. Still half size heavy, which I dislike, but then again, I only have one rod where the line really feels too heavy, so that's OK and as long as it's marketed as such, I'll let them get away with it :-).

The latest textures aren't as noisy as the first ones, but they are still a far cry some the lovely sound (or lack of) from a slick, clean non-textured line.

Have a great weekend!