Striper Lines - which and why?
<b>What lines are needed for striper fishing?</b>
Although the intermediate is the first line to buy in most regions, the reality is that you will need at least two lines... intermediate and sinking.
The exception is the Merrimac River or any area where the water is deep and dark and the current runs hard. Cape Cod is an example of an area where most spots can be fished effectively with an intermediate... with certain exceptions that will warrant a need for that sinking line.
To thoroughly work an area where there are shoals, flats, and channels, guzzles, dropoffs, etc; the intermediate alone will cut your results in half. Likewise, the sinking line will force you to work the fly too fast or drag, snag and agitate the angler in shallow or rocky stuff.
It's true that the first most basic line is the intermediate. You might consider going with a clear line because it's much stealthier in skinny water conditions and better for spooky fish like albies and bonito. I prefer the ones that take a nail knot for obvious reasons. The Cortland 444 clear has fished well for me, although other brands are fine too.
Sinking lines are critical for fast currents and deep holes. When the tide runs hard the fish will lay in the slow water beneath the current. There are times when anything short of a down/dirty retrieve will produce nothing. I wouldn't go out without both lines unless I knew it was going to be a flats show or an estuary show all day long. The QD 325 grain is a veyr popular line but I have recently experienced some line cracking. I have fished the full sinking WF S/A line for over 2 years and the finish is still holding up well (albeit less abuse than the cortland). Rio has provided a Deep Sea line that I am testing, more later. Orvis has it's versions too.
With the exception of the WF sinking, these are all variations of the Teeny lines, which is a hardwired version of the shooting head systems developed by steelheaders in the pacific northwest for steelhead. They cast great once you adjust the aerialized portion of the line and shoot the rest.
Floating lines are handy in exaggerated forward tapers to carry poppers in coastal conditions. Poppers can be fished on intermediates but only at fast retrieve speeds.
Your experiences and opinions are encouraged for the sake of other readers...