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Shooting from the Tip: New Fly Line Technology and Products for 2024

Heavier lines are a continuing trend for new lines in 2024.

Shooting from the Tip: New Fly Line Technology for 2024

Overweighted lines seem to be a continuing trend in 2024, likely due to a desire for lines that load quickly and deliver larger flies for the trophy fish we all dream about. (Brian Grossenbacher photo)

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Go big or go home. Overweighted lines seem to be a continuing trend in 2024, possibly a consumer response to stiffer carbon-fiber rods, but more likely just a desire for lines that load quickly and deliver larger flies for the trophy fish we all dream about. Of course, specialty lines for warm water, larger flies, and stealthy saltwater presentations are also part of the story this year.

Best New Warmwater Fly Line: Scientific Anglers  Amplitude Smooth Infinity Warm

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.95 | tridentflyfishing.com

The Infinity taper is for trout, right? Not always. The Amplitude Smooth Infinity Warm has the same taper to make pinpoint casts with trout-size flies, but with a tropical coating and a coldwater core to bridge the gap on those summer days where you are fishing for smallmouths and throwing trout-size flies, or for summer trout fishing. A lot of trout lines get soft and gummy, and prone to tangling in hot weather because they are built for colder conditions. Even when you’re trout fishing in cold water, the deck of a boat can get super warm. This line is perfect for throwing hoppers in Alberta or Montana when it’s in the 80s, and we used it for low-water smallmouth fishing when the fish were spooky and required dead-drifted Ol’ Mr. Wigglies or Chubby Chernobyls. Like the regular Infinity taper,  it’s a half size heavy.

$99.95 | tridentflyfishing.com


RIO Products  Premier Bank Robber

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com

There are plenty of lines out there designed to cast very large flies, but not many of them are made to deliver large, bushy dry flies like hoppers and stoneflies. When fish are targeting these big chunks of calories, they hold in specific locations right along the bank. Your fly has to be on target 99% of the time, and that’s not easy to do with a regular trout line made to cast Parachute Adams. The solution is the Bank Robber.

The dry-fly-tuned front taper provides precise, accurate casts while the rear-loaded head has the power to carry bushy Salmonfly patterns like a Morningwood Special or foam terrestrials like a Charlie Boy Hopper. The long back taper allows you to make quick, easy mends to keep that fly dead-drifting right along the edges in the seams and shelves. These 5- and 6-weight lines are  made with a harder SlickCast coating than RIO’s standard trout lines so they are easier to shoot on hot summer days.

$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com


Scientific Anglers  Sonar Titan Sink Tip Mini

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.95 | tridentflyfishing.com

Smallmouth bass anglers know the Sonar Titan series of lines for their ability to turn over large flies and deliver the goods to all depths—including very deep. But the new Sonar Titan Sink Tip Mini gets to another difficult depth, and that’s near the surface in deep water where you just want the fly slightly submerged, or in shallow water where you don’t want to get snagged.

Many flies—the Game Changer is a good example—are neutrally buoyant. They don’t sink or float, and the right line choice keeps them right where you want them.

The 5-foot sink tip on this line keeps your flies in the strike zone when fish are looking up or actively feeding at the surface, or hunting the shallows in low light. It’s often a perfect choice when fish are in feeding moods and actively prowling. It also works great with buoyant flies such as divers and poppers, as the sinking tip helps create a vertical up-and-down movement.

It’s built for warm water, so it won’t get tacky or gummy on 90-degree days, and it’s two line sizes heavy so you can load up for quick casts or carry large flies to fishy targets.

$99.95 | tridentflyfishing.com

Recommended



Best New Freshwater Fly Line: Airflo  Ridge 2.0 Bandit

Studio photo of fly line box
$129.99 | tridentflyfishing.com

The Airflo Ridge 2.0 Universal was my go-to floating line for more than a week in Patagonia in December. It stayed smooth and slick and carried medium-sized flies perfectly over longer distances or when we were sight fishing. It was Fly Fisherman’s “Best New Fly Line” in the 2022 Gear Guide but when I took it to New Zealand’s South Island in April, the guides shook their heads and muttered “tsk, tsk, tsk” over the appearance of the line, which at that time had a bright red rear taper and ivory head.

The Ridge 2.0 Bandit is exactly the same taper and construction as the Universal line but it’s olive, with bands of natural-looking bark color so it matches the environment more closely and is less likely to spook trout in flat, ultra-clear fishing conditions. It’s also available in a smooth version for $99. —Ross Purnell

$129.99 | tridentflyfishing.com


RIO Products  Elite Warmwater Predator

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com

RIO’s Elite Predator line has a powerful taper designed to throw the largest flies, whether that’s a Drunk & Disorderly for trout or Blane Chockett’s T-Bone fly for northern pike. The new Elite Warmwater Predator is tapered to deliver the same payloads, but the coating and core are designed for hot weather. Think California largemouth bass in July, dorados in Bolivia, flats barracudas, and poppers for snook way back in the mangroves. Our tester used it in Brazil for peacock bass and reported the line easily carried large flies, but was still able to maintain the accuracy you need when threading a fly through jungle vegetation.

The lines have RIO’s SureFire tricolor measuring system for increased accuracy and distance control, are available in both floating and multi-density sinking tip configurations, and come in line weights 6 through 10.

$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com


Scientific Anglers  Amplitude Bonefish Plus

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.95 - $129.95 | tridentflyfishing.com

SA’s regular Amplitude Textured Bonefish line has compound front and rear tapers to deliver small and medium flies to skittish fish in challenging conditions, a 40-foot head for accuracy and line control, and is true to weight. In other words, an 8-weight line is actually an 8-weight according to AFFTA standards.

The new Bonefish Plus is a more powerful option based on the popular Grand Slam taper. It has a longer head and a shorter front taper to cast longer leaders, beat the wind, or use larger shrimp and crab flies. It’s also a half size heavy so you can load quickly for close, fast-moving targets.

The line has an ivory head, pale yellow running line, and a black sighter near the rear loop so you can judge the distance to your fly line when a fish runs deep into your backing. The floating lines are available in weights 6 through 9 and come in Smooth ($99.95) or Textured ($129.95).

$99.95 - $129.95 | tridentflyfishing.com


Best New Saltwater Fly Line: RIO Products  Premier Tarpon Clear Tip Floater

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com

On calm days, particularly late in tarpon season, picked-over fish can get spooky. The answer, traditionally, has been to use longer leaders of 12 and even 15 feet. This sometimes makes it harder to turn over the fly and almost always negatively impacts your accuracy.  And in tarpon fishing, having your fly exactly in the right spot is of paramount importance.

The new Tarpon Clear Tip Floater solves this problem  with 10 feet of clear floating line. Add a 10-foot leader and you’ve essentially got 20 feet of “invisibility” between the fly and the visible portion of the fly line.

Historically, fly line manufacturers that use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for their coatings have had difficulty making clear floating lines because PVC by itself sinks. To make a floating line with it, you have to introduce glass microspheres or foaming agents to create air bubbles. But after nearly a decade of development, RIO has introduced what they are calling GinClear technology, and the result is a truly clear line that floats, and it flexes and transfers energy just like a regular PVC line—only this isn’t PVC.

To make the clear tip, RIO developed proprietary manufacturing machines and process, and created a clear buoyant resin for the fly line coating that makes it float. A natural seafoam head color behind the clear tip helps to track the location of the fly while you’re retrieving.

The Tarpon Clear Tip Floater has the same taper as RIO’s regular Tarpon line with a 40-foot head and a short, powerful front taper, designed to efficiently turn over flies such as Tarpon Toads, Dragon Tails, and Chili Pepper Worms. Available in line weights 9 through 12, and each fly line comes with two RIO Fly Line Cleaning Towelettes in the box.

$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com


Rio Products  Elite Smallmouth Bass

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com

Experienced anglers know that the leaping, hard-fighting smallmouth bass (aka bronzeback) is one of the most exciting freshwater gamefish species to pursue with a fly rod. To meet the needs of fly fishers who pursue smallmouths in lakes and streams, RIO Products has introduced an upgraded specialty fly line for smallmouth bass.

The new Elite Smallmouth Bass line is designed to provide two key qualities: effortless, accurate castability and a powerful forward taper to turn over weighted smallmouth flies such as Clouser Minnows, but also throw wind-resistant bass poppers with ease. The long handling section allows you to mend line and deliver your flies tight to smallmouth-holding structure such as boulders, fallen trees, weed beds, and grassy banks.

RIO’s proprietary SlickCast technology—a super-tough, ultra-slippery finish—prevents the line from wilting in the heat of summer, but it remains supple and easy to cast in the lower temperatures of spring and fall. The low-stretch DirectCore system helps the line lie straight on the water, and works with the SlickCast finish so the line keeps its shape and fishability in hot weather.

RIO’s Elite Smallmouth Bass weight-forward floating fly lines are available in sizes 6, 7, and 8; come with welded loops both front and rear; RIO’s EasyID printed line marking system; and the tri-color measuring system that makes accuracy and distance control easier.

$99.99 | tridentflyfishing.com


Scientific Anglers  Amplitude Smooth Infinity Plus

Studio photo of fly line box
$99.95 | tridentflyfishing.com

One of the trends for Scientific Anglers for 2024 is making variations on its super popular Infinity taper. People love it, so why not provide options? Amplitude Smooth Infinity Warm (page 43) is a good call, and here’s another: Amplitude Smooth Infinity Plus is the same Infinity taper but sized up one full line weight. Use it for stiff, fast-action rods when you want them to load quickly, use it when you are casting multi-fly nymph rigs with balloon-type indicators, use it for streamer fishing, or for casting big bushy drys during stonefly season. Let’s be honest, last year you could have bought a regular Amplitude Smooth Infinity 6-weight line and put it on your 5-weight rod, and you’d have the same result. Infinity Plus just makes it a little simpler for consumers to buy a line for their 5-weight rod with a little extra oomph. It’s a simpler concept, with less mumbo jumbo about AFFTA fly line standards.

$99.95 | tridentflyfishing.com


Airflo  Ridge 2.0 Super Trout

Studio photo of fly line box
$129.99 | tridentflyfishing.com

The problem with long casts while trout fishing is that long casts along with slack make it difficult to set the hook. However, the long belly on the Airflo Ridge Super Trout isn’t just for aerializing long lengths of line, it also gives you greater ability to control the line over longer distances with mends that can give you “drift-boat drifts” while you are standing on shore.

At heart, this Ridge 2.0 is a tournament casting line with a 60-foot head. It comes in olive for fishing in stillwaters and anywhere else you might fish at a distance, and also in bright orange for showing off in parking lots, or even for teaching classes where you want the students to see the line and understand how long-belly lines work.

$129.99 | tridentflyfishing.com




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