Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Lines for overhead casting in the surf

I've always been a huge fan of Airflo's old, now out-of-production, Cold Water Salt 40+ lines. These lines were built on a mono core and had a shooting head welded to a thin intermediate running line. They were very much a classic shooting head design, only without the loop-to-loop connection. Their thick tips allowed me to cast some impressively sized flies and their Spey line style tapers made for excellent setup Spey casts.

Not only did they cast for impressive distance, they also fished extremely well as their short heads allowed me to strip the fly in very close, then get a quick load to send the line back out there.

There was only one thing I didn't like to do with them and that was false cast. With them being an overweight shooting head line, I often found them dropping on the backcast if I didn't pay attention and when casting 2/0 saltwater hooks, paying attention is a good idea. So I worked out a water load scenario based on their excellent Spey casting qualities. I'd make a Double or Circle Spey, slipping line as I go and cast the full head out of the guides onto the water in front of me. Just as the head touched down, I'd pick it up, backcast, slip line into the backcast, then send it on its way. Very efficient and no false casting to worry about.

OK, so now I have my Loomis CrossCurrent Specialist Beach Rod out there and this very powerful stick is causing these shooting head stye lines to crash at the end of the rollout. If I back off to stop the crash, then there's no distance. I'm see-sawing back and forth between too much and not enough power; moving from 375 to 530 grains on a rod designed for 425. The 530 lines do well, but I feel the weight and they're just not as much fun. The 375 was intriguing, just not a distance option.

Then the idea occurs to me that what I need is a smoother, longer line, but that would entail false casting. I would not be able to use my quick water load technique as I wold have too much belly in the guides/stripping basket, plus the tapers aren't as Spey cast friendly. Nevertheless I decide to give the longer head, Airflo 10wt. Ridge Striper line a try.

This is just lawn casting results, so we can only extrapolate so much, but the Beach Rod delivers this line much more smoothly as I suspected it would. The entire casting process is silky smooth with very nice, clean loops. As I suspected all along, the rod likes the longer, conventional tapered lines, but here's the kicker: false casting is a piece of cake. Without the overweight shooting head design hanging back there, a false cast isn't an opportunity for a new body piercing. False casts sail back in a unhurried fashion, straighten out as they are supposed to then, sail forward with no fussy or muss. The crashes I had suffered with the old lines had become a thing of the past.

What does this mean when fishing the surf? It means that I can strip the fly in close, then pick it up, make a couple of false casts to get line out, then send it on its way. Looks like I might have a new favourite striper line. :)