Rio Advanced Flight System (AFS) Spey shooting heads.
Rio AFS Shooting head fly line
The fly line market place is flooded with great products; there is a baffling and bewildering choice of shooting head fly lines one of which is the Rio AFS (Advanced Flight System) of shooting heads for Spey rods. This range of lines comes in a variety of densities, floating, floating/intermediate tip, hover, intermediate, type 2/ 3 tip and type 3/4 tip and in a variety of weights from AFTM 7/8 through to 10/11. Its taper design is basically a fairly steep triangle which puts a lot of the line’s mass close to the rod tip maximising rod loading and minimising water resistance so allowing the relatively short head (around 40ft) to cast beautifully, especially when a purpose designed Rio VersiTip sinking tip is added to the shooting head.
Several diameters of Rio Powerflex shooting line are available for use with AFS and best results are achieved by choosing the size that suits your shooting head and fishing conditions so for my #10/11 outfits I use the 0.035” (30lb BS) shooting line. Lighter shooting lines can be used to get longer distances but beware that presentation may suffer if good turnover is not achieved. It’s difficult to choose which of these lines is “best” but if I had to choose the one that has proven to be a lovely casting and fishing line and a great favourite with many anglers it would be the “Hover” version which is effectively a very slow sinking line that fishes just sub-surface but the addition of a higher density VersiTip makes the combination versatile and very useful for most salmon fishing conditions. As you might expect in a range of lines of differing density combinations some of the models are less well balanced than others and the caster must adjust stroke and timing to gain best performance from each. Overall the range covers virtually every situation that a salmon or steelhead angler might encounter over a year and travelling anglers should consider a set of these shooting heads essential.