Hazy August Line Testing

August is not always the best month for beach fishing on Puget Sound.

The kelp and seaweed in the waters along the beach and near the shore cling to fly lines and flies, meaning many casts fling green stuff into the air on either the back or forward casts. And that green matter that is not cast-off clings tenaciously to flies making them unappetizing to any passing cutthroat trout or Coho salmon.

The water temperatures in August are often higher, which drive fish deeper. The air temperature means walking the beach in waders is uncomfortable, even in earlier hours of the day. And when the smoke drifts over from western fires, the sky itself looks and feels oppressive.

It’s not a wonder that many beach fly fishers do something else, and come back in September.

But sometimes, one just needs to go down to the beach. And sometimes that leads to unexpected discoveries.

Yesterday, I decided to hit Narrows Park, right at the turning of the low tide. Mostly, I wanted to comparatively test several fly lines I’ve used with my Sage X 691.

While I’ve switched off between lines on different outings, I had never really compared the lines. So, I took my Airflo Power Taper, Scientific Anglers (SA) Titan Taper Long, and Elite Rio Grand and cast them against each other. I used a Puget Sound Slider as a fly on a 9-foot tapered leader to make the comparison as accurate as possible.

I had a feeling from individual casting how they’d stack up – assuming the Titan Taper Long and the Elite Rio Grand would be my two favorites.  That’s how it turned out. The Airflo Power Taper line is a nice line, but I had a problem casting it with shorter line lengths out the rod tip; and it doesn’t shoot well.  It does have the advantage of being free of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – more on that below. I may have to spend more time with the line to learn its nuances.

Both the Elite Rio Grand and SA Titan Taper Long were great in comparison; both cast well at long and short ranges and each really could handle shooting.  I did give the edge to the Titan Taper because with its longer rear taper, it’s more stable on longer casts where there is a good deal of line being aerialized.

So I think I’ll concentrate on the Titan Taper as my primary line for now.

Back to the PVC issue, and a reminder of the many ways everything we do impacts the world we live in, and our own health.

Airflo uses PVC-free material in its lines as PVC requires plasticizers to add flexibility. However, plasticizers in the past have been known to leach phenols and phtalates into the water.

Phtalates have been identified as risks to pregnant women, as well as causing liver and lung damage (among many other risks). It’s important to note that phtalates (of which there are many types) have been widely used and are in many common household items and food – think about that for a moment. And then think about one estimate that approximately half of the American people have phtalates in their urine.

While Airflo only makes PVC-free fly lines, others do not – neither do Rio or Scientific Anglers.

However, Scientific Anglers does state on its web site that it uses Flex PVC for its lines.  In addition, it states that its FLEX PVC does not use any phtalate-based plasticizers that are listed as controlled by Proposition 65 (US-California) or REACH (European Union). That’s good to know.

Rio makes no statement on its web site, but I assume they follow the regulations above.

One other thing about Scientific Anglers; they are switching to paper spools used for new fly lines in their packaging – eliminating the use of plastic spools. Well done.

Hopefully other line manufacturers will follow Scientific Anglers in their ongoing efforts to reduce plastic.

Finally, Someone set up a picnic table under a tree on the beach about half-way between Narrows Park and the bridge. It’s much appreciated. Nice place to get out of the sun and watch the water and boat traffic.


Author: Tom

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