Aug 6, 2012

Rio Scandi Short VersiTip Fly Line Review


I just had to get my mitts on one of these. To me, Scandi lines offer a nice break from casting Skagit lines. When the light is low, and swinging dry lines is in order, it’s tough to beat the light, feel of the Scandi. They are easier to lift, easier to sweep and they lay down much more softly than Skagit Heads. You become more agile and so does your fishing.
Rio Scandi Short VersiTip

However, the issue remains of having to switch out to the Skagit line for sink-tip fishing once the sun gets high. So you need to bring two heads with you: A Scandi and a Skagit. And this takes but a bit of time, but it is time nonetheless. Furthermore, you must try to tailor your casting stroke to fit each line and this may require some fiddling.

Standard Scandi lines, like the Rio Steelhead Scandi or the Airflo Scandi Compact are fine casting lines, but they are heavily affected by wind. When she starts blowing, we have the option to replace our floating polyleader with a sinking density polyleader. This helps to cut through the wind to an extent. And denser leaders allow for some sink, but not very much. Furthermore, they struggle when trying to turn over large flies. That said, I love to cast small flies on a calm morning with a standard Scandi head.

How is the Scandi Short VersiTip different? Well have a look at the line profile…




Four interchangeable, tapered tips make up the last 3rd of the fly line. The tips are specially built into the actual taper of the fly line, which makes for seamless casting at a range of densities.

This past week, I spent a lot of time with the Rio SSV #7 which comes in at 425 grains. I used it on two rods: The Sage One 7136-4 and the Echo 3 6127-4. As far as how I like to line my rods goes, I should say that I am somewhere in the middle, but possibly closer to the lighter end. I like to add a fair amount of line speed to the stroke to load up the rod and not suffer through lifting up line that feels too heavy or lethargic… So, I thought the SSV #7 felt a little too heavy for the 6 weight Echo, but a perfect match for the Sage One 7 weight.

So how does this line perform? Okay, how do I put this… It casts like a bolt of lightning. It does. It really is amazing. We are talking tight, straight loops of line that arrive on- time to the target. I was amazed.

The two tips that I fished were the floating and the type 6 sink tip.
When fishing the floating tip, I affixed a 10 foot floating Rio Versileader and added 5 feet of Maxima 12 lb tippet to it. For rods in the 12 ½ -13 ½ foot range I would not recommend using a versileader shorter than 10 foot. You might even try a 14 foot versileader if you are pulling your anchor on the forward stroke… For the sink tips, simply attach 4 feet of 12 lb Maxima to the sink tip butt section.

I didn’t just pick up this line and immediately start casting laser beams of line. It always takes a few minutes when dialing in a new line/rod setup. The major issue that people will face initially with this line is the tendency to pull their anchor. Remember, this is a short Scandi line, and even more so when casting the light sink-tips, because there are no lengths of versileaders to add overall length.

So I started tailoring my stroke so as not to pull too much line off the water (at the bottom of my D loop) before the forward cast. This worked well, and immediately the line started to cast beautifully. I did this by staying low into my backstroke and not lifting too quickly into the vertical rod position. However, once I started playing around with the overhang of running line outside the rod tip, I truly started to realize the potential of this line. What worked best for me? When I left 2-3 feet of running line off the tip, the line really started to take off. I found that I could keep my typical Skagit stroke and add a ton of power to the cast while keeping a long enough anchor on the water. It was amazing.

Now the dry tip on this line still gets pushed around by wind. So if you want to stay shallow, I would dig out the intermediate tip when the breeze comes up. I should say though, that I have not tried this tip yet. The only other one I have fished is the Type 6 tip. And here is where I was most pleased, because this will be a great mid day tip!

This tip sinks well! It’s thicker than a versileader/polyleader so it gets down much quicker. And it turns over big flies! So immediately I’m thinking about this line being my new, all around line on the Deschutes. I did not try casting any big lead-eyed flies, but I will say that it turned over a big bunny, marabou leech with no effort. My guess is that it will handle medium-sized lead-eyed flies, but more effort will be involved.

Overall, I am very very impressed with this line. It will be my new Summer Steelhead line for small to medium sized rivers. From casting a floating line in the shade to casting tips in the sun, this is the one. The thought of using one line for the entire day is really pretty liberating.

Rio is recommending bumping up one line size for spey rods.  For example, they recommend the #8 SSV for the Sage One 7136-4.  However, I think this is too heavy.  I would line your rod with the same exact line weight that coincides with the rod. (Unless ofcourse your rod is actually heavier than the weight implies.)  One of the benefits of the scandi is staying nimble on the water.  Don't weigh yourself down if you don't have to.

Have a good time,
Duffy

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