What's my line

What's my line

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 18 August 2020

This COVID crap has really been a learning experience.

I had always considered the word “addiction” in a joking way when I married it to anything about flyfishing, but lately I am not so sure. Withdrawal symptoms of some sorts of addictions commonly express themselves physically by changes of appetite or mood, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, etc.

Need I say more?

Yet, nowhere have I heard of extra symptoms like endless daydreaming, imaginary planning, and pouring over things like tide charts, satellite photos, and both short and long-range weather predictions?

Enhancing fishing withdrawals, COVID aside, like bitter icing on an already dry cake… there is the usual enjoyment of having the weather gods laugh in your face at the silly plans of the mere mortal fly angler.

When you look at the big picture it almost seems like someone who is trying to simply kick a tobacco habit has it easier! Unless of course they chew the stuff while they flyfish. I feel for those poor bastards… they are in for one tough road.

What this respite from actual fishing has allowed me though, is plenty of time to play with new tackle or different combinations of some new stuff mixed with the tried and true.

 

I think most of us who have more than one flyrod begin to look at particular combinations as systems to meet the demands or challenges of specific fishing situations. Speaking of specifics, one of my favorite ways to spend a day is casting poppers to mangrove shorelines. I pretty much understand what I want from the system that will allow me to do this as artfully and efficiently as I am physically able. And, just recently, I think I stumbled upon some new pieces that really fit well into the puzzle.

 

A new to me rod that I have recently received just seems to fit me like a glove. It is not a new nor a top end model but in my eyes it is a piece of technological art. I may be delusional, but I see the end phase of the presentation stroke to be comprised of a few distinct segments, and I like to have the time to subtly alter them. Being slow-witted and with matching muscle reaction time I can’t keep up with today’s mega-quick rods. They are great for banging out for max distance, but in my hands they are beyond frustrating for painting shorelines.

 

This recent rod addition simply speaks to me in a vocabulary that I can understand. I can sense the rod unloading in my rod hand and I can feel the tension in the line at the tip of my finger of the line hand. Which rod model is it? I am almost ashamed to say. My fishing buddies, who cast very differently than I, look at me in bewilderment when they try to cast it.

 

My father was fond of saying, “It is better to be silent and thought a fool than it is to open your mouth and prove it.” We will put the rod model aside for another time.

 

There is another new piece of this puzzle I will happily elaborate upon. It is a new-to-me flyline. The manufacturer is Monic, which may or may not be familiar to many outside the US? But, for many years they have been a common choice for saltwater anglers here in South Florida for fishing the flats… particularly amongst the tournament anglers. As far as I know, they were the first, and for many years the only game in town if you wanted a clear floating line.

 

This new line that I have been loving is a clear floater too, but it has a bright blue inner core that I expect is a gel-spun weave. You see, a clear line is the last thing you want if you are trying to accurately cast toward often dark or shadowy shorelines. A clear line is very hard to see… kinda the point right? What you really want is to be able to follow the flyline as it unrolls toward the target. That bright blue core makes this line visually pop when viewed against this background, although I suspect they made it to blend into a bright blue sky above, yet throw a thinner shadow than a full opaque line.

 

The core offers some other great characteristics. First off, stretch is almost non-existent. That is another great attribute for shoreline casting when snook are the most likely species to inhale the popper. Sometimes they head directly back into the structure. If they do, your only recourse is to drop the rod and damn near hand-line ‘em. If they get to the woods the game is over and a stretchy line can cost you a fly.

 

Another characteristic of this line was a surprise. I will not go so far as to call the line “textured” but it is sort of bumpy. I feels as if the coating has been vacuum sealed to the woven inner core, so it definitely is not a smooth line. The line does make some noise when it goes through the guides. Nothing like some of the “shark-skin” lines, but it is audible.

 

Some might find this to be a negative, but when I was playing with it I realized that it added yet another “sense” to my casting. Not only was I getting feedback from the rod to my hands, and outstanding visual clues to my eyes, but my ears were also getting information.

 

I’ve gone into this long explanation because I have a suspicion this line might turn out to be quite visible in casting videos, which may be of interest to some here on SL. I have tentative lessons coming up this week, and since I will have the camera and tripod along I will see if my suspicions are right.

 

Oh yeah… the line is called the Skyline Plus. It boasts a forward weighted “javelin” taper and I suspect it is a bit over-weighted (or under-labeled) as many lines are today, although I have not put it on the balance. And, I have no affiliation with Monic, yada, yada…