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peter-s-c 01-18-2003 09:47 AM

Lines for the GLs
Taking a break from doing some electrical work in the basement (putting up six fluorescents so I can finally see what I'm doing down there.)

I keep reading about people receiving recommendations to purchase Windcutters for the GLs and I wonder why. The WC can be a useful line if you buy the multi-tip version and use it on a river that is big enough for you to utilize the full head of the line. To get your money's worth out of a floater, the river must not only be big but slow enough to get a fly down. I've tried the WC floater with a light tip (DT-5, 12') and it was fine as long as the wind was in my favour but it was useless with the heaviest of 10' Polyleaders and a good wind as the tip is too wimpy to control them. I've since cut up my WC to try to make it more useful.

Most GL fishing is under 80' and my 9/10/11 WC with the head just beyond the tiptop, a 15' leader, and with everything straight, runs 83' from me to the fly. It gets ugly if you try to cast less than the full head. It is possible to pull line back after it has hit the water to reduce the distance but that can get silly after a while. Keeping the rod tip up will drop into the 70' range but that's still long in many situations. The wimpy tip won't cast short if you're trying to lob mono and shot.

So, if we are able to find a line that offers the maximum fishing range (maximum casting distance - minimum practical casting distance), that line would be best for the GLs.

Here's some candidates:

Delta Spey: It turns over Polyleaders better than the WC but still has the short range casting distance problem (though it does cast semi well with a Polyleader if some of the head is in the guides). Thanks to the substantial tip, it will do a better job of lobbing mono and shot.

Underhand shooting heads: The short heads and the abreviated stroke permit nice, controlled casts as little as thirty feet (if you keep the rod tip high) yet can boom out long ones when you need it.

Regular, blunt tapered WF short bellied lines: (Launcher lines)Bass bug type lines can do double duty as UH type shooting heads as their head length is about right plus their short front tapers will turn over Polyleaders. Typical regular WF sinktip work just as well. They lack the long running line but we don't need it.

Regular, blunt tapered WF long bellied lines: (e.g. Rio Steelhead/Atlantic Salmon line) Good mono nymphing lines as the long back taper works well for mending plus the short front taper will turn over Polyleaders or mono and shot. This line won't shoot far thanks to the long rear taper and thick running line but that can be a benefit on a smaller river where hitting the far bank is a possibility.

Reversed WC: I haven't fished this yet, only cast it but it holds some promise as a short range line. Having the heavy part of the head at the wrong end enables the rod to load with only about 20' of line beyond the tiptop. It makes it a very practical overhead casting line and it seems to work OK for UH shooting head work as well. Turning over Polyleaders is a non-event. Interestingly, the 9/10/11 was more than adequate to load my 11 wt. when used in this fashion.

DT Lines: Depending on how you've matched the line to the rod, these lines can cast reasonably short but they don't shoot well and it can be difficult to get a large change of direction cast. Works OK in the right conditions.

pmflyfisher 01-18-2003 10:43 AM


Good thread I wish I new the answer since I am still experimenting but was ready to buy a wind cutter and put my own home made sink tips on it. Now I don't know.

What about the Rio Mid Spey was looking at that also but have never cast it.

Our western GL rivers are small in width like yours only a few are wide like the Mo, Big M, St Marys, St Joe, a few of the wisconsin rivers.

80% of my cast must be 60 feet or less and 20% no more 80-90 feet. But these are only if you are fishing one of the larger rivers.

Let me know when you figure it out.

Maybe we need a special spey line for the GL ?

PM Out

removed_by_request 01-18-2003 10:52 AM

In my opinion two lines stand out.

The mid-spey and long delta, with a triangle taper coming in a close 3rd.

long delta with their poly tips is tops.

peter-s-c 01-18-2003 11:16 AM


Originally posted by pmflyfisher

Let me know when you figure it out.

Maybe we need a special spey line for the GL ?

PM Out

That'll be a while. :D

Leaving aside the big water as that is well served, the bassbug or pike lines seem to do well close in. Funny though, the WC may be the best. Take a multi-tip WC and put a loop at the end of the head where the running line starts. Then you have a line for long distance and when reversed without the tips, it'll work short.

My chopped up WC hasn't been fished yet so I wouldn't suggest anybody else try this until I get it on the water, but I think it has potential.

If it works, I'll send an email to Jim Vincent suggesting he make a loop connection at the end of the head for us GLers.

Greg Pavlov 01-18-2003 11:28 AM

Peter's thesis on GL lines

This is part of the reason that I ordered the multi-segment mid-spey for my new rod. I thought of doing that the last time I bought a spey line, but I was talked out of it. But looking at what you can do in terms of removing the front segments, it seemed to me that in many situations, being able to remove the front tapered ends and then attaching a sinking leader/head/tip makes much more sense for many of the situations GL fishing calls for. Also, replacing the front two segments with a single intermediate segment and then a sinking leader/tip/whatever could, I'm guessing, be useful in some situations.

peter-s-c 01-18-2003 11:35 AM

Another thought just struck while reading Greg's post - the Loop Adapted lines might very well be the best. I don't have any specifications on them (head length, front and read taper lengths, grain weight, etc.) but they come with loops already attached at both ends so they can easily be reversed. If the front taper is substantially different from the rear, then we're in business. The right way around, fish long, reverse it and fish short.

dansteelieman 01-18-2003 12:38 PM

my humble opinion....
Here is my opinions:

I agree that a Rio Winductter is not needed in our Great Lakes region, truthfully it is too much unless you fish rivers like the Saugeen, Grand, Muksegon or St. Joseph. I do alot of custom line making, but below is what works best in my opinion:

Flylines and Tapers:

Floating Pike/Bass Bug Taper: A great line that can be accustomed to our region on smaller - medium sized rivers. Large, short head allows anglers to turnover splitshot and indicators(yes, I know you guys do not fish these....:D) Also, a loop on the end with a mini-head would work as well, although this taper may not be suited for tips.

Floating Salmon/Steelhead Taper: Allows anglers to mend as a result of the longer tapered belly, yet splitshot and indicators can be layed out easliy. With the extened front tapering down, it works nice for tips and heads. My #1 factory choice line. Works best on medium to larger rivers. I personally perfer Rio's.

Floating Double Taper: The standard for roll casting and memding is exceptional when in the Great Lakes. A great line for indicators and splitshot at short distances, and suited well for tips. Best performed on smaller rivers.

Dan's Custom GL Taper: My ultimate line I have created for our region. Features a pike taper head with the running line cut off spliced to a double taper line that has the first 15' - 20' feet off until you reach the belly. Combines attributes of both a line that can roll cast far distances and turonver indicators and splitshot very easliy. The powerhinge(used by Rio) concept is put in play here, as the DT line acts to "support" the front taper as it lifts line off the water and allows call casts. I am very fond of this line and will take it anywhere, big to smaller rivers. I will bring a few to the clave if anyone wants to cast or purchase one of these lines.

Just my $0.02

peter-s-c 01-18-2003 03:05 PM

Nice to know that some else uses the Rio S/AS line as well. I've probably hooked more fish with the S/AS line and a Polyleader than with any other combo.

Your custom lines sound very interesting - I'd like to try one when we get to the clave.


dansteelieman 01-18-2003 03:22 PM

Sounds good....
I will bring a few and I will also make a few custom lines that I will sell as brand new at the clave if I have time.

The Rio AS/S is my favorite line. Roll casting and mending are very easily accomplished. I cut the first 10' off the head and make a loop which would allow me to cast indicators/splitshot easier, and then if I want to add tips I just take that section I cut and looped it back onto the mainline with a polyleader.:rolleyes:

Works well, no complaints!:p

pmflyfisher 01-18-2003 03:53 PM

I was looking at the RIO AS/SS line at my local fly shop but my fly shop owner really does not know enough about spey rods and lines to recommend one over the other.

I want to use my own sink tips I have many of them.

Mid Spey and Long Delta also are also candidates.

Which of those 3 lines requires the least amount of reel line capacity ?

God I love the precision of this spey technology ! :chuckle: :chuckle:

Maybe you do have to be a rocket scientist.:confused:

PM Out

dansteelieman 01-18-2003 04:18 PM

Are you speaking about what lines? The ones I recommended or the spey series by Rio?

removed_by_request 01-18-2003 05:17 PM

I can put the Long Delta on my loop easily if I put the mid spey on ther it is tight. But works.


Loop's lines are neat, only thing that bugs me is stripping in all that line in the winter to enable the shooting of it. Cold hands and fingers buddy.

I chopped up a WC once it worked nicely with 15' tips. All in all you can't beat the a-flo polys for getting deep fast.

peter-s-c 01-18-2003 06:04 PM

Well, the fluorescents are up and working - nice to be able to see in the basement.


The Rio S/AS line will take less room on the reel than the rest and it's thick, front taper will turn over Polyleaders and similar tips without the need for chopping it. Without the tips, it's an excellent mono & shot line. The Deltas tend to run smaller diameter lines than the Rio versions so they're more likely to fit.

Just keep in mind that the S/AS line doesn't shoot that great.


The stripping in winter is a pain (literally) so it's nice to have an alternative like a DT or the S/AS line.

pmflyfisher 01-18-2003 07:05 PM


"without the tips, it's an excellent mono & shot line."

Please clarify, I have a brain freeze on this statement.

PM Out

peter-s-c 01-18-2003 07:51 PM

Happens to me too frequently :D

The line and front taper can easily manage a long leader with splitshot, weighted fly, etc. I've fished it with a 14' nymphing leader and a heavy ESL with no difficulty. The front taper has what Rio calls a "bullet taper" which stays fairly thick as it tapers down until the last couple of feet. That taper has plenty of turnover force.

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