Although most fly anglers are quick to talk about the latest and greatest rod, possibly the most cutting edge technology in fly fishing right now is found in the newer generation of fly lines. Good lines matched to your rod and fishing technique often make the difference between a good day on the water or a frustrating experience. That being said, there may not be anything more confusing in the fly fishing gear world than lines. There are so many line models out now and they are so specific that it can be a daunting task trying to find a line that suits your rod and style of fishing.
For this particular discussion we are going to narrow things down a bit. Since it’s smallmouth bass season and we have had boats on the river almost everyday this week at the club, here are three lines that we think are keepers and have performed well for club members fishing the Juniata this season. Listed below is a line for topwater, a line for streamers (subsurface), and maybe the finest intermediate line ever made.
Orvis Hydros SW All-Rounder – We have been quite impressed with this line over the past few months. Although made for saltwater angling, this floating line is well-suited for poppers and other surface patterns. Paired with the Orvis H3 F in a 9ft 8wt, this line is a winner.
Orvis Hydros Clear Sink Tip – This is a great all-around line for stripping streamers and fishing crayfish patterns. It is not a super-aggressive, sinking line and has been a good line when anglers have not had experience fishing sinking lines. I have this line paired with an Orvis Recon 9ft 7wt and it has performed very well.
Rio Outbound Short Intermediate – Although the only line in this discussion not made by Orvis, this has been the the most impressive intermediate fly line for many seasons. Used both in the bass fishing world and favored by many streamer fisherman on big western rivers, the Outbound Short series is smooth-casting and has a fantastic feel. The intermediate is probably the best line on the market for fishing crayfish patterns for smallmouth bass on the Juniata River.
Smallmouth fishing trips will still be around for a few more weeks, but don’t worry if you were not able to get in on the action this season. Keep smallmouth float trips in mind for upcoming seasons and check these lines out when you get a chance.