Fly line for Spey casting what's best
- what suits?

fly lines for salmon fishing spey casting

Spey lines - results of the tests

I don't think that many anglers appreciate the amount of design and thought that goes into fly line manufacture. Lines have a fairly onerous duty. They must be smooth and supple at a wide range of temperatures and have the coating bonded to the core. They must be crack, sunlight and dirt resistant and have a low coefficient of friction. Then the tapers, weights and dimensions have to be correct. Making first class fly lines is a very difficult task and that's why they're so expensive. New lines were used for the tests. None of them showed any deterioration of condition afterwards. How they will last under normal use is unknown.

Three questions were asked at the start of this report, let's now try to answer them.

So what is special about Spey lines and how can so many different line profiles possibly suit the same casting method?

Fact is that each of the lines had it's own character. They don't all suit the same casting style, techniques have to be adjusted to get the best from them. Three of them, the Lee Wulff lines and the Mastery handled similarly over most of the range and especially at longer distances. The two double tapered lines Cortland SL and The Cortland Spey DT handled in a predictable and satisfactory manner. Rio's lines are quite different from each other and anything else. Of the two, I think I prefer the Accelerator and I might prefer it even more if it didn't have the "hinge", a gimmick that the line could do without. Rio's Windcutter has its devotees. It may help some anglers to put a yard or two on their distance but it is not the easiest line to control and is more suited to shooting head techniques like overhead casting or underhand casting than true Spey casting for which it's head is too short. Best of the Rio lines was the MidSpey, an honest design that gives good presentation. The Arrowhead Twin Line was the worst in terms of shooting qualities and I think would have been better presented as suitable for rods rated AFTM 9/10. However it does the job reasonably well and the fluorescent running line makes it easy to use. It was the cheapest line tested.

If any line can be Spey cast does this mean the whole thing is a marketing ploy to make anglers buy yet another line?

There are significant benefits from some of the Spey lines, the weight forward types offer enhanced shooting ability at distances approaching 90 feet and longer. Longer front tapers certainly enhance turnover and presentation, important attributes especially at longer range. However whilst the double taper lines may be more difficult to cast 90 plus feet, they more than held their own at shorter distances and proved that they still have a place. Undoubtedly, there is an element of marketing involved and we anglers are fools for it. However it's not all fad, some of these Spey lines are very good, especially at distance.

Perhaps casting is more to do with the angler's skill than the line?

Casting is always more to do with the angler's ability than the rod or line. Most would benefit far more from an hour or two's tuition than they will from another line. Since I am an instructor you probably expected me to say that! Nevertheless, a bad caster and a bad line combination is likely to be worse than a bad caster and a good line.

And the conclusion, which are the best buys?

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Copyright 2007 Alastair Gowans AAPGAI and FFF Master and THCI, APGAI. All rights reserved.