September 20, 2021
By Fly Fisherman
In 2020 RIO released its newest fly line coating—a potent elixir of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plasticizers, and lubricants intended not just to taper and weight the line, but to control its stiffness and its slickness so the line sails through the guides as easily as possible. The newest technology, called SlickCast, was added to all of RIO’s Elite series trout lines: Gold, Grand, Perception, and Technical Trout.
SlickCast was a bright spot in the 2020 trout season—it was easier to mend, shoot, and stayed cleaner than previous RIO lines. According to RIO’s Simon Gawesworth, the coating produces “the least amount of friction ever measured on a fly line,” and the coating stays slicker for longer.
A slick-shooting line is also important when you’re making long casts in tropical conditions, so saltwater fly fishers waited with bated breath to get their hands on the new SlickCast coating as well. That wish was granted in early 2021 when RIO released its Elite Flats Pro, Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit and GT lines to the saltwater world.
We tried the 10-weight RIO Elite Permit line in the Florida Keys and didn’t catch a permit, but the line carried dumbbell-eye crab patterns through 15-knot winds, and turned over the leader with no hiccups. It was slick as advertised—perhaps even more noticeably slick in a saltwater environment, where sand and grit and a hot skiff deck can all conspire to make a regular line feel sticky or even abrasive.
A slicker fly line also pays dividends in the Spey world, where long, repetitive casts are the key to catching steelhead and salmon. RIO also updated those categories with its new Elite Skagit Max Launch, Elite Skagit Max Power, and Elite Metered Shooting Line. $130, rioproducts.com