Apr 15, 2015

Korkers Defined: All about Sole!

Korkers soles defined

Korkers - Defined

Lets talk about Korkers. There has been confusion on sizing and which sole option best suits your needs. We hope this answers your questions.

When it’s time to purchase a new wading boot it is always confusing to know which size is best.

Please see our Wading boot sizing guide for all general rules. We want to note however, that if you own the older Korkers sole boot (the one where only the middle part of the sole is interchangeable) the sizing on those boots are different than the current models. So please use the one full size up rule and not purchase the same size as your previous boots as they will not fit.

Studded Felt vs Studded Kling-On 
Studded Felt in the water is our preference however on the sides of the river and while hiking felt can become slippery. Also to note that in temperatures below freezing snow can build up on wet felt or can freeze.

AS OF THIS WRITING: All Korkers boots can be purchased with two different sole configurations. This is true except the Redside boot which offers three configurations.

First Configuration
Kling-On and Felt this is the base price for all boot models. (2 sets of soles)

Second Configuration
Kling-On and Studded Kling-On this is a $20.00 upgrade (2 sets of soles)

Redside Only - Has above two options plus they offer a Felt only option for a great price of $99.99 (only 1 set of felt soles)

All other soles are considered accessory soles and purchased separate from the boots. 

Korkers soles provide traction

Korkers Soles - Defined

Kling-On Sticky Rubber - Basic sole that comes with all boots. Great for use in boats / inflatables and basic hiking situations. While it is sticky rubber, it was not designed for highly slippery conditions.

Studded Kling-On Rubber - Same as Kling-On but with 26 carbide-tip studs per pair. These are great for slicker conditions or where studded felt can not be used.

Felt - Compressed high quality felt provides great traction while wading in the water. As noted above, depending on your wading conditions studded felt might be a better option as plain felt is not as grippy without studs.
Korkers soles  options
It's all about that Sole!
Studded Felt - Plain felt soles adorned with 26 carbide tip studs per pair. Our number one choice of soles for our home waters and extremely slick conditions. Keep in mind while felt is great in the water it can be very slippery outside of the water and in very cold conditions snow/ice can build up on your feet. If this occurs we recommend changing the soles back to a rubber based sole for hiking in between fishing spots or back to your rig. That is a Korkers Boot Bonus…. not another boot out there allows you to change your soles while on the water.

Alumatrax - Our # 1 selling Accessory sole -
These soles are a great alternative to studded felt. The aluminum bars are made here in the USA and for this reason very limited quantity. Aluminum is a soft metal, offering exceptional grip in the most slick wading conditions. One downfall….aluminum wears out faster vs. carbide but due to how grippy it is still very popular.

Korkers soles options

Studded Rubber - Large aggressive 7mm threaded carbide tip spikes adorn these flat rubber soles. Please note these studs are replaceable. These soles are great for those whom are Jetty fishing or fishing in highly slick conditions. Not the most comfortable to do much hiking in.

Vibram Idrogrip - Idrogrip is made by Vibram. This sole has a deep and wide lug patterns that offers better grip in tougher wading conditions. Great all around sole.

Studded Idrogrip - Same as Idrogrip but with carbide studs which offers even more grip in slick conditions.

Do you have the current generation of Korkers with OmniTrax v3.0 soles?

They are pretty easy to identify if you look closely at these pictures. The current OmniTrax v3.0 soles have a U-shaped notch on the front portion of the sole. They are the only ones that have this feature. Gorge Fly Shop only stocks current OmniTrax v3.0 soles. If you are searching for older generations please call us for information and availability.
Three generations of Korkers Soles

We hope this information is helpful in your quest to find the perfect wading boot and soles to match. Korkers Innovative design and comfort really allow you to utilize one boot in many ways with the replaceable and interchangeable soles. If you are headed on a trip and will need a studded sole but your friend does not want studs in his boat….easy fix just throw your non studded sole in your pack and you just solved a big problem without needing to haul a second set of boots.

For further questions or information please feel free to contact us via phone or email. We are here 7 days a week to help!

Hope to see you on the water….
Gorge Fly Shop Team

Helpful links:
Wading Boots - Finding the right size
Korkers K-5 Bomber Wading Boot (New for 2015)
Korkers Wading Boots

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 14, 2015

Guide to Running / Shooting Lines

Explore various types of running line options

The biggest hurdle for many people that are just starting out with two handed rods is understanding all of the terminology and gear that is so specialized with in this sport. Today, we are going to discuss running/shooting lines.

A running/shooting line is a crucial part of your spey fishing set-up. There are many, many varieties of these lines and each has advantages and drawbacks. Let’s start by learning what a running and/or shooting line is:

A standard weight-forward floating line is pretty easy to understand. Tie it on to your backing, reel it up and tie a leader on to the front end. You’re ready to fish. If you look at a “line profile” for a RIO Perception (just an example, choose any line), you will notice that there is a 36’ head and a 54’ running line. The running line is a thin diameter, level (has no “taper” and does not change diameter) floating line with minimal weight/resistance that is attached to the back end of the head.

RIO InTouch Perception
A spey set-up is not much different, except for that the head and the running line are separated, then connected by a loop to loop system. This allows spey fishermen to change out the heads for different applications without having to carry spare spools.

Running lines for spey rods come in a wide range of options. There are different materials, diameters and textures to consider. I have chosen a few of my favorites to talk about. Remember that there is no perfect line for every application and person, but every angler will have personal preferences to what works best for them and what features are a priority in choosing a line.


RIO ConnectCore

This is in the running (pun intended) for my favorite all-around line. I would feel comfortable using this line year round in most conditions. It floats, and shoots well, which are definite advantages; but the big draw to this line is the “connect core”. The connect core does not stretch, and most important; every little rock, leaf and fish is felt through the whole line with maximum response. The minimal stretching also means that there is no energy lost in your cast. With a typical line (standard fishing lines stretch up to 22%), when a cast hits it’s anchor point, it has to stretch out quite a bit during the change in direction, which results in a loss of energy. There is no loss of energy with the Connect Core, which means longer, easier casts. I cannot stress how much of a difference it makes to be able to feel the energy in the line.
Feel More with ConnectCore

It is available in four sizes (.026”, .032”, .037” and .042”). I prefer a .032” or .037” diameter for my 7wt spey rod, and definitely the .032” for my 6wt in the summer. The .026” is great for those little trout spey rods and the .042” is good for your 14’ and longer rods.

There is an increasing diameter (taper) on the front “handling section” which I really like as a larger diameter line is easier to handle, especially if you have numb hands or are generally clumsy. It’s not much of an increase, but every little bit helps, and the color change helps me know how far I have to go before I cast again. I can carry my loops more evenly when I see the color change coming.

Drawbacks: From my personal use I have noticed that it tends to get twisted up over time; a little more than other lines. This can be caused by a double spey cast which naturally puts a twist in the line, or a poorly tied fly that spins in the current. It can be solved with the RIO Anti-Twist Spey Swivels, which are awesome if you tend to use a double spey on a regular basis.
Eliminate Twist Problems
The twisting is definitely not enough to stop me from using it, or even consider, but I have to be conscious of how it is looking after a day or two of fishing hard. I have occasionally had to take the head off and strip the running line down to the backing while it hangs in the current. This will naturally untwist the line; then you’re good to go for quite a while.

Overall though, this is a top shelf, year-round line, perfect for anglers that prefer a traditional feeling line and anglers that like the newest technology (ConnectCore).

Scientific Anglers Dragon Tail

So this is not a new concept, but I think that S/A has nailed it for this line. The big idea for this line is that there is a 15’ tapered section on the front which increases the diameter of the line from .038” to .075”. The diameter increases to the point where the transition between the head and running line has a minimal difference in diameter. The big taper results in a smoother transfer of energy from the running line to the head with tighter loops and straighter casts.
Dragon Tail

This running line has seen a lot of action this past winter on my steelhead rod, and has become my go-to line. I like it for several reasons. The first is the ease of handling and fishing. Cold hands have a hard time gripping small thin lines. This thicker line is definitely the easiest to handle of any shooting line that I have tried (but I have not tried them all…). The thickness of this line helps to minimize tangles, and I have noticed fewer tangles than most other lines… The textured feature adds to the ease of handling and increases distance, as well as being easier to pick up off the water during your cast due to the “dimples” that create the textured effect.

I have dubbed this line the “lazy man’s running line” because it casts well with a varying amount of “hang down”. Hang down is the amount of running line that is outside of the tip of the rod at the beginning of the cast. Most people have very little excess running line “hanging down” when they begin their cast, but because of the unique taper, the Dragon Tail casts well with up to and over a foot of hang down… meaning I don’t have to be as precise when prepping for my next cast… a.k.a. the lazy man’s cast. I was experimenting the other night with it and was casting with about 4’ of hang down out of the tip of the rod. It wasn't really pretty, but it was casting as far as I needed it to go and it was far more hang down than I can do with any other running line.
S/A claims this line to be either 20# or 25# strength (depending on where you look), which, if true, is pushing it a bit. Not because I plan on catching a huge fish, but because I have snagged my head up in a tree (yes, I admit that). I do not want to test the break strength of the loops on this line if it is only 20#, but I haven’t had any problems yet…

Garry Sandstrom, our awesome Scientific Angler’s sales rep told me that there is a dedicated group of guys that are fishing this line with short sections of T-8 through T-20 just off the running line in a Czech nymphing, tight line system for fishing little slots that you would be unable to get to with a big head and spey head. It’s an outside-the-box approach that has a lot of potential around here.


I once saw an inspirational speaker in middle school. He let us know that “we are more alike than different”. When it comes to braided running lines; that is the truth. Outside of braided lines, there are many options to choose from in tons of features, textures, ridges, tapers, diameters and everything in between… As far as braided lines go, the biggest difference is the color.

I have used braided lines as far back as I can remember. I believe that my first running line after ditching the old Rio Windcutter line was a braided line. While there are some nice features of these lines, there are also some drawbacks that make them poor choices for beginning anglers. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the following lines if I was blindfolded casting or if they were the same color, so it’s really just a preference of color and whether you want 105’ (Airflo) or 150’ (Scientific Anglers) of running line. I’ll try not to repeat myself too much in these two line reviews…

Airflo Miracle Braid

Airflo’s Miracle Braid has a single strand poly core and a .032” diameter. It also floats, shoots a mile and a half and doesn’t stretch. These are all great features of a running line. The tangle factor is minimal and is very durable.
Miracle Braid

It all sounds perfect, right? Well there are some things to consider before grabbing one of these lines. The first thing is texture. The braids tend to pull a lot of water through the guides, which is fine in the summer, but not in the winter. Besides ice building up in the guides very quickly, small shards of ice can form in the texture if it is very cold and can potentially cut you. The texture itself is fairly rough and not very easy on the hands.

Another factor to consider is that there are no pre-built loops on this line, but building them is not very difficult. Some people really love a simple line that goes right from the spool onto a reel with no excess work. Ten minutes to build a loop is a small price to pay for a good line.

A third thing to consider is that it is fairly loud going through the guides, but that should only bother the most discerning of anglers.

If you can deal with those little factors, this is an awesome line for a lot of anglers. Overall, the benefits of this line outweigh the negatives by quite a bit, so for the right angler, this is a quality choice. I have fished Miracle Braid for years and will definitely string it up again sometime in the future.

Scientific Anglers Braided PE

This is a braided Polyethylene mono-filament with a .032” diameter. As I stated in the intro to braided lines, they are more alike than different. I fished this line for most of the past year and do really enjoy it. There is no stretch and minimal tangling. It floats and is very, very durable. You can beat the snot out of this line and it does not crack or fade or get tacky over time. This line shoots very well and is a nice diameter to keep hold of.

Braided lines all have the same drawbacks; they pick up a lot of water spray during casting, so ice builds up quickly on guides and can form small icy shards on the line in very cold conditions. This can cause cuts on sensitive fingers (I have a scar to prove it). I took it off my reel after a couple of days of fighting icy guides and a bleeding finger this winter, but I look forward to fishing it again this summer.

This line does not have any loops built in, so the angler must do it themselves (or bring it in to the shop). Building loops is easy enough, but is a task that many anglers don’t want to deal with.

I am very pleased with this line and will continue to fish it for years to come. If you are looking for something different that a traditional coated running line, this is a solid choice for intermediate to advanced anglers. Again, beginners are best served by using a traditional coated line that mimics the feel of a standard floating single-hand line until they have enough experience to know what features are a priority for them in a new running line.
Note: We currently do not stock this line due to virtually no demand for it. If you which to purchase it please call us and we can accommodate your order


RIO Slickshooter / Gripshooter

Now if you are looking for a line that has the most potential for distance casting, a monofilament running line must be in the arsenal. I know more guides that fish Slickshooter than any other line, so that should be a good indication of its potential.

RIO Slickshooter
The RIO Slickshooter is a colored flat (oval) monofilament. Monofilament shooting lines have been used by steelhead fly fishermen to get maximum distance since Amnesia became popular in California in the 1960s. Rio’s version comes in 25#, 35# 44# and 50# varieties and I prefer the 50# version. Why, because as I admitted earlier, I have stuck a head up in a tree… The last time I did it I was using 50# Slickshooter and I definitely needed somewhere around 40# of pressure to get it out…

A big advantage of monofilament lines is that there is very little “water spray” from this line if you are fishing it below freezing temperatures. This minimizes ice building up in your guides; however, it is harder to deal with the smaller diameter of this line if your hands are cold…

The RIO Gripshooter is an improved version of Slickshooter. Improved? Rio has built a loop on the front and coated the first 17’ of the line with a traditional style PVC coating that makes it easier to handle. For me, the original version is just fine. For someone transitioning to mono for the first time, the Gripshooter is a great choice.
RIO GripShooter

So there are a few drawbacks to consider with these lines. If you are willing to deal with them, then monofilament running lines can have some serious potential for you. The first is that it does not float. If you are in “frog water” the line will slowly sink. It is difficult to pull the line out of the water during your cast in this situation. It’s not as bad in faster moving water, but it is a concern.

Another drawback is durability. Monofilament will wear down quicker than most others. I got a full summer out of my last spool of Slickshooter, but it was far past spent by the end of the season. It needs to be replaced more frequently, but you can buy almost four spools of Slickshooter for the cost one ConnectCore or Dragon Tail, so you must think of this as more disposable than others.

A third thing to consider is that monofilament needs to be stretched out and has a tendency to coil up. When I get to the river, I take forty or fifty feet of running line off my reel and stretch it out before I start fishing. This helps negate the coiling (memory) issue that mono can have. The memory issues are almost non-existent when its 100 degrees on the Deschutes, but that’s not something that everyone tends to experience. There are also no loops on a spool of Slickshooter, but it is very easy to tie a triple surgeon’s loop on each end; you just have to make sure that the oval shape lays down flat when you do the knot and some guys like to coat it with UV knot sense to make it smooth.

Scientific Angler’s Floating 0.021" Mono

0.021" Hollow Mono
This is the “sleeper” running line of the bunch. It’s a hollow-core monofilament running line that addresses a few of the problems that traditional monofilament has and includes a few improvements. This line is a .021” diameter with 36# break strength. Again, mono has very little water spray, so this is a great line for the winter if you can keep your hands warm. On the plus side, it’s easier to keep your hands warm when there is little to no water coming off of your running line.

While traditional monofilament line sinks, this line is hollow and floats! It has a nice diameter that is easy to handle and does not coil up as much as some monofilaments. It still requires some initial stretching when you get out on the water, especially on a cold day, but it’s nothing to worry about.

While this line does not have any pre-built loops either, a triple surgeon’s loop has a very small profile on the line as it “seats” into the hollow part of the line. Overall, this line has a lot of potential, but gets overlooked by most anglers. I have not used it myself, I've only talked to people that fish it, but the guys that use it are very pleased with it. I plan on trying it out the next time I need a new running line.


Airflo Ridge Running Line

Airflo Ridge Running Line
I fished this running line for over a year with little to no complaints. It is a traditional extruded fly line style, but has microscopic ridges that run along the line that improves shooting distance due to the reduction of friction on the rod guides. Less line touching the guides equals more distance. This running line comes in 20# and 30# versions. We sell tons of them and Airflo always makes high-quality products.

This line is made with a PVC-free urethane coating, which is more resistant to UV rays, and chemicals like sunscreen and bug spray. It also fades and cracks less than PVC, which should give it a longer lifespan. Ridge Running line is a solid choice for beginners, the occasional spey caster, and anyone that enjoys a traditional feeling line that is easy to deal with, has minimal tangling and can be fished year round.

RIO Powerflex Shooting Line

The RIO Powerflex Shooting Line is a quality traditional coated running line. There are no frills or gimmicks to this line. I don’t really need to go into much detail about this line since it is by far our best selling running line. It’s just a solid American built line that is tough, shoots well, stands up to a variety of fishing conditions and has a nice feel to it. The .030” and .035” are solid choices for 7wt spey rods, while the .040” is great on 8wt rods and above. The .024” lines up well on trout-sized switch and spey rods.
RIO PowerFlex Shooting Line

It does have loops on it, floats well, shoots well and is easy to handle. Since it is the most like a single hand fly line in feel, it is the go-to line for beginners. We sell more of these than any other running line because of the quality, price tag and ease of use. While there are no fancy ridges, textures or tapers, it gets the job done and it does it very well at a good price.

There is no perfect line for everyone and every condition. I have tried most of the running lines on the market at some point and I go back and forth depending on my mood and what I am willing to deal with. Each line has advantages and drawbacks that can fit a person’s style and abilities. What works for one guy may not work for another and what works well for summer steelhead may not be the best choice for winter steelhead. All I can do is relate my experiences with these lines and let you know what I like and am using; so….

As of time of publishing the following lines are on my steelhead reels:

Scientific Anglers Dragon Tail is on my 7wt spey and is my current “go-to” setup. I have fished it more this winter than any other. The Rio ConnectCore .032” on my “other” winter rod has seen plenty of action this year, but does not get the daily use that the Dragon Tail does, but I am moving it to my go-to reel because John wanted to try the Dragon Tail for a while. These two lines are the most expensive, but they are both in another class as far as the features. The great thing is that both of them have the right features that could give you the ability to improve your experience. I consider these to be the two premier running lines on the market today.

On my 6wt, which is currently in my closet, patiently waiting for the Deschutes fish to move in, I am using Rio 50# Slickshooter and am on my third spool of it since I started at the shop here. The Deschutes has quite a few spots where distance casting is highly beneficial, and I believe that there is no better line for casting long distances on warm days in warm water with dry lines.

I have a plastic tote filled with used lines, including several spools of Slickshooter, a couple of braided lines and some Airflo Ridge line for emergencies and backups. I would not hesitate to fish any of them in a heartbeat under the right conditions.

Again, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have on gear or if you just need some encouragement to get out of the office for an afternoon. Stop on by or give us a call and tight lines!

Andrew Perrault
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 9, 2015

Monster Arapaima in the Deep Jungle of Guyana

Some anglers like to fish the same water for many years. Each time you fish there it becomes like visiting an old friend, reflecting on special days and fish from the past. Other anglers look beyond what they know and where they have been for new angling challenges and adventure. That is exactly what clients Dave Farley and Tim Youngkin had in mind when they heard about fishing for Arapaima in Guyana from my article in the Gorge Fly Shop Newsletter in the spring of 2013.

It is a very limited fishing season in Guyana, for 3 weeks in the spring and 3 weeks in the fall, with only 4 anglers per week. Outside of that the fishing for this species is illegal in these protected waters. The next available week was in November 2014. They said we are in and put their money down. There was a lot of preparation on their part with fly tying and buying as well as a lot of new heavy duty 65lb core Rio Leviathan lines. The rest of them break like trout tippet. As there is a weight limit on the charter flight into the jungle, strategic packing and planning was essential. This part was unrealistic but the reality of the situation. This is not a full service fishing lodge but the remote jungle Rewa Eco lodge reached by charter flight and a boat trip.  The money they get from this tourism helps the tribe be self sustaining without selling of logging and mining rights that would destroy this rare place.

After fishing the water nearby the lodge the guides determined there were more fish up river and further into the jungle. So they left the comforts of the lodge for a hammock in the jungle under an open shelter. They spent days up there without creature comforts. It was extremely rustic but in the middle of huge Arapaima that would eat the fly. There was also a scientist along that had been studying those ancient fish for years. They both had some ass kicking action as well as landing fish. The two photos included show a fish landed by Dave and one by Tim. The largest was well over 200 lbs.

So get out of bed….put down the remote….get off the computer and make a plan to get on the water!

Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions, LLC


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 6, 2015

Trout Spey Lines - No Perfect Answer!

I have put off writing this article for months now. It's not that I don't want to write it but I know as soon as I do some new switch line will hit the market and already this article will be old news. I know many of you are reaching out looking for this info so therefore I will wait no longer to publish what I know and we'll tackle the new when it gets here! For the purpose of this article I am focusing on trout size spey/switch rods.

Trout Spey/Switch Rods

What are they exactly? Baby spey rods...Small switch rods... Smaller versions of steelhead rods...I'd like to point out that a switch rod cannot switch into anything! The rod itself cannot change! It is not a transformer! The action and power of any particular rod is fixed. To change what you do with a switch rod REQUIRES you to change the line to match the style of fishing you wish to do with it. With that out of the way let's now accept the fact that there is no one line that does it all, period! End of discussion! But here's the good news! With a little information, planning and practice you can tune your fishing conditions with various lines that will let you fish many different techniques with your switch rods.

Can you do it all with today's switch rods? The term "Switch Rod" implies that it is both a single hand rod and a spey rod but think of it in terms of the game of golf, that's like calling one golf club a switch club, same club that can drive your ball can putt your ball...I'm sure Tiger Woods can beat me in golf with only one club BUT! He would never agree that there would ever only be one club to do it all! And I Agree! Now with that out of the way I do believe our modern trout spey rods are closer than ever to what we want in a trout rod action.

What line do I need?

To make this as simple as possible I've decided to take it line by line and supply you the details of each including rods I have tried these lines on.

Airflo Switch Streamer

Airflo Switch Streamer
I put this line first simply because most anglers who are going to wield a two hand rod for trout are most likely going to swing or strip flies on sinking tips. This is your line! We're still waiting for this line to become available and it can't get here soon enough! My knowledge of it comes from fishing a prototype for almost a year. Tim Rajeff and Tom Larimer are the genius behind this line. The goal of the line is to appeal to trout anglers with shooting line integration and safely satisfy streamer angler needs with a line that is not afraid of T-Series sink tips. They nailed it plain and simple! Integrated with a Ridge running line the semi aggressive skagit style head handles T-7 and T-11 like a dream and if you need to lighten up it has enough finesse to behave friendly with polyleaders. Tom Larimer worked out the bugs of these lines to intentionally match them to perform perfect with the Winston BIIIx Microspeys although we have found they perform excellent on many different switch rods.
The Airflo Streamer Switch retails for $99.95 and comes with a Fast Sinking Polyleader to get you started. You will most likely want to go ahead and get an Airflo Custom Cut Single Sink Tip in the T-7 size.
Airflo Streamer Switch Specs -
Line Size Color Head Weight Head Length Sink Rate Total Length
WF4 Pale Mint/Orange 300 18ft Float 85ft
WF4.5 Pale Mint/Orange 330 18.5ft Float 85ft
WF5 Pale Mint/Orange 360 18.5ft Float 85ft
WF5.5 Pale Mint/Orange 390 20ft Float 85ft
WF6 Pale Mint/Orange 420 20ft Float 85ft
Current sizes give you a range from 300gr to 420gr. The 330gr is a great match on the Winston 4110 and equally as well for the sage ONE 4116. The Winston 5116 really likes the 390gr.

RIO Scandi Short VersiTip

RIO Scandi Short Versi-Tip
This short scandi taper line is an awesome switch rod line. I really like the tight loop casts it performs. It is a head system line so choose your shooting line. You can also buy this line as a head only and purchase the tips separately. The nice feature of the Versitip kit is it comes with the tip wallet and includes four matching tips. Floating, Intermediate, Type 3 and Type 6 sinking. Just as the name implies the kit gives you a ton of stream side versatility. Scandi tapers do a few things really well such as roll casting and overhead casting and of course spey casts great but Scandi Shorts do have some limitations to consider. They don't handle much more tip than the type 6 they are supplied with and they are limited to fly size. Where I have really liked this line is working with tandem soft hackle rigs. It presents well and the supplied tips let's you dial in just the depth you want to fish. While the Scandi Short works great in close I find the loop to loop to be a real pain for small water work. I've submitted a request to RIO to make an integrated version of this line but I have no idea if that will come to light.
Specs -
SKU Line Size Head Weight Head Length Color Sink Rate
#4 275gr
33ft 10m
Flt w/ 4 tips
#5 320gr
33ft 10m
Flt w/ 4 tips
#6 370gr
33ft 10m
Flt w/ 4 tips
#7 425gr
33ft 10m
Flt w/ 4 tips
#8 485gr
33ft 10m
Flt w/ 4 tips
#9 540gr
33ft 10m
Flt w/ 4 tips
Notice this chart gives you the actual head weight and tip weight separately
The Sage ONE 4116 really loves this line. The fast tip of the Sage really compliments the scandi taper but I also find the line to work great on the Winstons. The 275gr is a great match up for the Winston 3106. The 320gr is my go to for the Sage 4116 and equally excels with the Winston 4110. The 370gr is enough grains for the Winston 5116.

S/A Adapt
Scientific Anglers Adapt

Scientific Anglers you almost got this line right! So close! I liked this line and I wanted to really like this line! The Adapt (like the Airflo Streamer Switch) is an integrated line with a somewhat aggressive skagit head. The thin diameter running line really flies through the guides and the textured head stays on top of the water better than most others I've fished. The problem is the front taper. It's fine if you are fishing tapered leaders but the problem starts when you add a sink tip. The line tapers down too small to retain enough mass to turn over a sinking tip. The result is struggling to turn over your casts. Polyleaders work decent with the Adapt line but forget fishing T-Series tips. I actually modified my line by cutting the tip back and welding a new loop to the end. The difference is huge. But who wants to chop their brand new $86.95 line. I'm sure out of the box it would make a good nymph/indicator line.
Order # Line Size Head Length Sink Rate Total Length
The 320gr works well with the Sage 4116 and Winston's 4110. I also have the 360gr and that's the one I chopped the tip off the head. I took off 2.5' and that amount scale weighted 18gr so I ended up with a head weight of 342gr and T-Series sinking tips were no longer an issue after my modification.

A note to the manufacturers - As a line company y'all need to decide if your switch line is made for leaders or tips. NOT BOTH! And please stop telling us they will do both! I've been around the river long enough to know that the "MIDDLE GROUND" fly lines do not do anything good! There is no one line for all switch rod applications. In reference back to earlier in the article remember a switch rod cannot switch into anything. We must switch the line to match the technique desired from our switch rod. We have a serious need for technique specific switch lines.

RIO Switch Chucker

RIO Switch Chucker
I had high hopes for the Rio Switch Chucker and in some ways it delivered, others not so much! A full integrated head / shooting line was a welcome addition to the RIO lineup and received great attention upon it's introduction. Unfortunately I feel like this line falls into the trap of "One line does it all." First the good about the Switch Chucker, it's pretty easy casting provided you stay within some parameters. Tapered leaders or VersiLeaders (Polyleaders) are happy but T-Series not so much. Now when you get to larger sizes of this line it will carry some light T-Series like T-8. But when it comes to 4 and 5 weight trout sizes it no longer likes a sinking tip. Besides not carrying a sinking tip easily I have two other complaints with this line. 1) In low light it's hard to see the color transition between the head and shooting line and 2) The incorporated handling section slows down shooting part of your cast. This handling section is 14' of thicker running line directly behind the head and is intended to make it easier to grip for cast and mend for nymphing. I guess if nymphing is your purpose for this line than you might find this to be a benefit. Stick to leaders, polyleaders or nymph/indicator rigs with the Switch Chucker and you will be happy!
RIO Switch Chucker
I tested the #4 325gr on both the Sage ONE 4116 and the Winston Microspey 4110 and the grain weight matched up with both rods really well.

RIO Switch Line
I'm not going to spend any time with this line other than to say this is a great choice if you use a switch rod to nymph from a boat. Don't expect to enjoy spey casting this line! End of discussion!

Skagit Heads
RIO, Airflo and S/A all make skagit heads down to trout rod sizes. For big rivers, sink tips and full on swinging flies these skagits work great. The RIO Max Short comes in sizes all the way down to 200gr. S/A Skagit Extreme comes in sizes down to 280gr and although S/A does not designate these as short or switch heads these smaller sizes do have shorter lengths suited for the shorter rods.The Airflo Skagit Switch starts at 360gr which can help your 5 weight and up switch rods. I don't spend much time with these skagits. Yes they work but they are really just downsized steelhead skagits. Two hand trout anglers like myself are really looking for a line designed for my game and not just an adopted line that already exists.

Overhead casting lines

Many anglers have found great use with switch rods for making long casts from beaches or jetties.
I've heard many accounts from east coast striper anglers to west coast sea run cutthroat anglers of the use of switch rods for overhead casting. Typically we find in most cases that a 2 line size bump up will get you in the ballpark for matching these lines to switch rods; so for example if you have a Sage ONE 11'6" 5 weight switch rod then a Rio Outbound in the 7 weight size will get this rod happy.  I like the fact that RIO posts the grain weights of their lines but please keep in mind that lining a switch rod for overhead casting is a lower grain weight window than lining the same rod for two hand spey casting.

RIO Outbound
One line that really jumps out for this purpose is the Rio Outbound. Not the short but instead the original 37.5' Outbound. Outbound's have shorter than normal heavy heads for deep rod loading and seamlessly attach to long thin diameter running lines for maximum distance. They come in Floating, Intermediate and a Type 6 sinking tip attached to full intermediate running lines for the ultimate in a sinking line.

Airflo Forty Plus
A 35' shooting head seamlessly attached to Airflo's famous ridge running line for extreme distance. The Airflo Forty Plus comes in Floating, Intermediate, Type 3, Type 5 and Type 7 sinking tips. The Forty Plus is built on Airflo's Low Stretch Braided Power Core for increased sensitivity and overall strength. Like the Outbound a 2 line size jump up will usually put you in the game.

Can you use standard single hand lines?

No! and Yes!
As sure as I say "No you can't", I'll have 10 comments waiting for me from those who say "Yes you can!"
What you have to remember is switch rod weights do not match single hand rod weights. A 4 weight single hand line will not load a 4 weight switch rod effectively. Shooting head lines like the Forty Plus and Outbound are already bumped up way beyond single hand rod specs and still a 2 size bump up is usually needed to satisfy most switch rods. If you find a single hand line that cast well on your switch rod then you now basically have a really long single hand trout rod. Think, when was the last time you needed to make a 100' cast to a trout?! Never! I have found some of the shorter small trout speys like the Winston 3106 Microspey to overhand cast quite well with a RIO Grand WF5F line but I'm not ready to trade in my 4 weight dry fly rod. Personally I think we will have to see even shorter switch rods to obtain quality overhead presentations. I'm not saying it can't be done...It's just not the best tool for the job!
Let's summarize:
Overhead casting switch rods for distance...Yes!
Overhead casting switch rods for delicate trout presentations...No! Not really!

What's an integrated line?

Fully Integrated lines are just like what we know of as standard lines like a RIO Gold or S/A GPX. The weight forward head and small diameter running line are seamless just like a knotless tapered leader. Shooting line / Head systems are two separate lines. The Shooting (or often referred to as Running Line) is the thin section of level fly line similar to the back end of any fly line. But that's it, they cannot be used by themselves. You must attach a Head to the front to complete the line. The heads and shooting lines attach via a loop to loop system. The advantage of an integrated line for a trout angler is that stripping in close for say a following Brown is not hindered by a loop connection hanging in the rod guides. The disadvantage of course is you don't have the option to change heads quickly like steelheaders often do to adapt to changing conditions. If you fish large water and only swing flies then the loop of a head system won't bother you. But in small water or short overhead casting or stripping a streamer on a following trout, the loop to loop can become the difference of a hookup or not!

What is the difference between T-Series Sink material and  Polyleaders?

T-Sink (T=Tungsten) is a level low stretch braided core coated with a tungsten powder mixture to create a sink tip. The numbers T-7 thru T-20 represents how many grains of tungsten per foot. Such as 10' of T-7 would total 70 grains or 7 grains per foot. It's the easiest sinking tip system to understand. Both RIO and Airflo build low stretch core T-Sinking material. These Tungsten tips is what most steelheaders are using today looped to skagit heads.
Airflo Polyleaders and RIO Versileaders are similar products with different names and are quite different than T-Series. The first major difference is that these are leaders in such that they have a taper built in just like a standard knotless tapered leader. How that is accomplished is where polyleaders differ from leaders. A polyleader starts with a level nylon core usually 24 lb for most steelhead sizes. Then a poly coating is applied starting at the butt end and thinning out toward the tippet end. In this coating tungsten powder can be mixed and applied making it a sinking polyleader. The advantage of polyleaders is 1) they turn over better than regular leaders, 2) for spey casting dry lines they provide better water surface tension for improved anchor points, and 3) with sinking densities they allow us to gain the advantage of a sinking tip with a floating line. With all these advantages why not just use them in place of Tungsten sink tips? Well there is a major difference. Polyleaders just don't sink as good! Probably partly due to the nylon core and another reason is the thickness. Sink tip diameter plays a major role in how fast a tip sinks. Braided core is thinner therefore the overall diameter of the tip is thinner creating greater sinking ability. Polyleaders certainly have their place in our world of fishing but I would like to see some changes. Can a polyleader be built on a braided low stretch core? Can we build even smaller T-Series than our current T-7 size for the needs of a two hand trout angler? I would like to see T-5 and T-3. For now my Tips wallet includes a 10' T-11...10' T-7...Extra Super fast sinking polyleader...Fast sinking Polyleader...Slow sinking Polyleader and an Intermediate sinking Polyleader.

More information on the sinking tip/polyleader subject can be found in Sink Tips, Polyleaders, Versileaders - A Buyers Guide

Give us your experiences and examples of lines you have used and what you think. We welcome your thoughts and other readers do too. The subject of switch lines is far from being a closed door and the future still holds much room for new and improved.

Trout Spey Chronicles - More articles about Two Hand Trout Fishing

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Apr 1, 2015

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***Promotion dates: 4/1/15 - 9/11/15. Submission must be postmarked by 9/25/15. Offer valid in the U.S. and Canada. This rebate cannot be combined with any other offers from Far Bank. Void where prohibited by law. Non compliant requests will be eliminated without response. Offer good while supplies last.

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