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.