Dog day lines: fly lines that stand up the heat.
There's nothing like a sticky fly line to wreck a good sightcasting shot. Picture a Florida flat on a blazing summer morning. You're on the bow, blowing air up behind the back of your shades to keep'em from fogging. Up ahead you spot a nice wagging tail, and when you cast, darned if the whole pile doesn't come off the deck in a big tangle, strand clinging to strand. In a frenzy to shake the mess out, you lose what little cool you had, and your glasses fog up again.
"$@#& fly line!" you bellow. And maybe your line is to blame--chances are it isn't handling the heat any better than you.
Not all floating fly lines are formulated for warm weather fishing. Many are built on a multi-strand, braided nylon core, which is very supple. This core makes the line limper in general, though when combined with a hard PVC coating, it can be made stiffer. But typically, a line with a standard PVC coating and braided nylon core will be so limp that once the sun beats down on it, it becomes sticky to the touch and seems to cling to itself, and even gets knotted up somehow, when piled on the hot deck. Plus, limp lines sag between the guides more, robbing you of casting distance. And, a sticky line picks up dirt off the deck, making it harder to shoot through the guides.
In my experience, for summer you can't beat a line built on a braided monofilament core. Such cores lend a ribbed or pebbly texture to the PVC coating of a line's running (shooting) section. This texture seems to make the line buzz, or "jump" through the rod guides better than a line with a super-smooth texture.
Most flyline companies make lines for hot weather. At last check, Scientific Anglers, Cortland, Rio Products, Royal Wulff, Orvis and Flow Tek tout at least one line or many lines for the so-called tropics.
I've long used a Cortland Lazer Line Tropic Plus with great results. It's built on a 30-pound-test braided monofilament core and the company claims its proprietary hard-coating process keeps the line stiff in the hottest weather. This line is cream-colored, and argument can be made that such light colors absorb less sunlight, and thus stay cooler than dark lines. Reportedly, the company's popular 444 Lazer Line Tropic Plus Ghost Tip (with clear monofilament sink tip) is even stiffer due to its single-strand monofilament core.
Other good choices abound. Scientific Anglers' Mastery Series Bonefish and Tarpon Taper lines feature a braided mono core and a special coating including a UV light inhibitor, which I suppose may extend the life of a line in Florida. I fish this line and find it to be much stiffer, and better for summer, than the company's other saltwater offerings. Other lines featuring braided or single-strand mono cores and hard coatings include Orvis' Bonefish and Redfish Wonderlines, Rio's Powerflex Core tropical lines and Royal Wulff's Bermuda Triangle Taper lines.
Keep 'Em Clean
Even the best hot-weather lines need some attention while fishing. The aforementioned lines tend to be stiff off the reel, so give them a good stretch before fishing. Always start with a clean line, and take a moment to clean it at some point during the day. A hot, sticky line will pick up dirt from the boat, and even bits of algae and other particles from the water. Here's a neat trick to insulate your fly line from the heat of a sun-drenched casting deck: Soak and then partially wring out a big white or light-colored beach towel and lay it on the deck before stripping your shooting line down while sight fishing. It will stay cooler, and because it's moist the line will shoot better, and not blow around as easily if there's a breeze.
By Mike Conner, Associate Editor
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|Title Annotation:||FS SEMINAR: FLY FISHING|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2009|
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