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Floating an idea here - two items that lead into one subject...

Today I inspected my flyline; voila! full of cracks in the last 25% of the belly leading to my "tips" section. I should have known that it was happening, as my casting has gone "subpar" lately despite all of my efforts to compensate. This happens about every 3 to 4 months for me - I can not get a flyline to last any longer than that. The cracking always occurs in that portion of the line that is the "wedge" that is formed as the line travels out during the forward cast. If you watch, as the line reaches near the end of the cast, the line speeds up as this wedge becomes compressed while "rolling out" into the final turnover of the fly - I am of course speaking of casting with shootingheads. In other words, this is the part of the flyline that goes through the most flexing, deformation of shape, and recovery back to the original shape. Modern flylines are made of plastic coated over a thin Dacron or mono core. In large diameter lines such as many "Spey" lines, the plastic coating has to be fairly thick. The thicker the plastic, the less elasticity that it has, and therefore the more subject it is to fatigue.

The "world record" Speycast was something in the neighborhood of 180' (I don't recall the exact figure). Even with modern-day, high-tech rods no one has bested it. Though modern-day flyrods are definitely more efficient at releasing energy into a cast, this record still stands. What up? Modern day plastic flylines stretch - compared to old silk lines, quite a bit, I have been told. This stretching probably results in a subtle, unnoticeable loss of casting energy. Also, silk lines had less diameter for their given weight, which would translate into less air resistance. These are not original conclusions of mine, but rather it was brought up last year in one of our club newsletters.

Why would it not be possible to "weave" flylines using modern day materials? If the weave was done so that the actual taper of the line was in the woven core material, one would only need to use a thin coating of plastic over the weave to finish the line. This should result in more uniform line tapers and weights, smaller diameters for given line sizes, and minimization of line stretch. Smaller diameters and reduced stretch would result in more energy efficient casting, as well as more sensitivity in fishing, and better hook-sets. Sure, the process would be more expensive, but the lines should also last considerably longer. Any comments from industry insiders?
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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846 Posts
RA-
A couple comments:

Monic actually offers some big game saltwater flylines with a GSP core (Spectra) and a standard PVC coating. The issue that develops with this sort of setup is that you have two completely stretch percentages. GSP/Spectra does not stretch, PVC does. The lines split.

Also, I have spent a good amount of time fishing with Spectra/GSP materials (the type of braid that I believe you are referring to) with convential tackle. These lines have absolutely no stretch which has its advantages at times but to be honest with you, stretch is good!

You've made mention of your prefence for a more moderate and/or progressive rod due to the shock absorbtion those rods offer. I have found, that wild acrobatic fish tend to find ways to free themselves when fishing with GSP/Spectra as there is no stretch and thus no shock absorption.

Plus, they would be horribly expensive. GSP/Spectra is very expensive stuff and it is difficult to work with.

However, it is a very very interesting idea. :)
 
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From my experience line cracking is more often caused by not having both the inner and outer locked together at the leader loop end, and at the rear end. The core has one lot of stretch the outer cover another, and if they do not strecth in sync you get cracking.
Part of the problem with SWF is that we are faced with a lot of variables, variable stretch in tippets, leaders, lines shooting lines and backing. When you are trying to hassle big fish the system is usually stretched to the limit as far as the tippet is concerned, particularly if the fish get into aerial stuff, and the leader is a bit stretched, which can act as a buffer. In fact Rod Harrison Knotted Dog leaders are designed to act as a buffer.
But with the front end stretch the rear end, shooting line and backing should be pretty tight and thin to reduce water drag load on the stretchy bits. Being directly connected with a very thin strong, no knot system with leader buffering is ideal. Particularly as the rod is high modulus graphite with fast response times.
The better you can feel the fish the better off you are. The less the backing shooting line drag load the less the ultimate tippet load. Cheers Max
 

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Well, If...

If the old silk lines were so great, how come they are not in common use today?

(I know the answer - I started fishing using 'em - and I wouldn't want to use one or go back to 'em, even at gunpoint!)

BobK
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Riveraddict -

I think you have a good point particularly since you had gone as far as to isolate the section of line where the problem occurs. Since the head portion is typically only a relatively short functional segment and since it is typically just a vehicle for carrying a sinking or floating forward tip taper attached at both ends to standard fly lines, the amount of change in stretch would be inconsequential and the problem could be addressed without changing the overall characteristics of the line.

My most common area of line cracking is at the junction of the running line and the spey head, and there is certainly a lot of stress there. If someone made a reinforced final segment of 5ft in the running line at the back-end loop that resisted cracking I would be elated.

If they made the belly of a Skagit line that way it would be even better, put the two together and you'd have a real durable setup. Sounds good to me where do I buy? :)
 

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Re: Well, If...

BobK said:
If the old silk lines were so great, how come they are not in common use today?
Two reasons, in my view.

1. We're lazy. Silk lines require more mintenance than plastic ones - both regular greasing on the riverbank and drying after a day's fishing.

2. We're tight with our money. JP Thebault silk lines were still available here until recently, (although I notice the UK agent's website seems to have disappeared). Unfortunately they cost about three times the price of a standard floating line.

A line produced the same way as a silk one, but from manmade fibre, would be interesting. I'd have thought it could be made without any plastic coating at all; after all, weren't silk lines finished with nothing more than linseed oil and subsequent impregnation with grease? Doing away with the coating would eliminate any risk of cracking. Perhaps they could also be made to float without the need for grease by using a material with lighter specific gravity than water (although this would undo the casting benefits that result from silk's relative density). Such a line would presumably eliminate most, if not all, the maintenance issues associated with silk.

The point about needing a bit of stretch in the system is an interesting one. It's certainly true to say that modern carbon rods don't have the shock-absorbing properties of slow-actioned greenheart or cane rods, and modern leader materials like fluorocarbon have little stretch in them too. But maybe this be got round by incorporating shock gum in the leader?
 

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JD
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3,641 Posts
Economics

need to be brought into the picture here. True, three or four months is not a very long life for a line. I would have thought a year maybe. (I couldn't afford this if I had to replace all my lines every year) But then Ed probably gets more river time in three months than most of us get in a year. :D

The fly line manufacturers would love to see us replacing our lines every year. :hehe: Seriously though, I suspect the manufacturers would be very concerned if thiis became an issue with a larger percentage of their clientel. Perhaps as more of us (baby boomers) near retirement, spend more days on the water, and get to where we are throwing those nice pointy loops, the problem will become more noticable. And get the attention of even the bean counters.

BTW: has anyone found a better way of attatching shock gum to line, leader than with braided loops? (new thread)
 
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Out here I use a twisty leader, incorporating biminis and a twisted leader which is quite long and doubled over to give a sort of tapered leader with a lot of twist giving a lot of buffering, The biminis are 100 twists and they also stretch a chunk. Added to that is the inherent stretch in shooting heads, but after that I have all GsP , the shooting line is usually a secion of lthe 30lb or 50lb Bionic Braid GsP backing, like 120 feet of the front of the backing line inserted inside 20, or less b/s gudebrod braided mono. It gives a no stretch system, and no knots, just one loop and is easy to handle and shoots really well.
Not meant for fishing for reef species but great off ocean rocks on pelagic species. Right now I'm experimenting with inserting monofilament core into hollow GsP, like Pro Power 150lb GsP braid. I have a shooting line made from 200lb hollow GsP with 10kg mono inserted inside it, and a manufactured Platypus line which is 50lb braided over a 10lb mono core. These things shoot like davey crockett but are pretty thin and hard to handle. But they are certainly the berries for security, The thing ends up pretty much like that old Berkley Ultra Max, which would be great if Berkley got off its butt and brought it back into play. Cheers Max
 

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Coatings

Have had some of the same problems chunks of coating coming loose from the core, front taper with lots of cracks and the line just sore of falling apart in your hands. Seems that it only happened to the brightly colored fly lines. Always thought that it was the amount of pigment need to change the PVC from its natural color to the bright colors that we like in lines. Some one shed some light on my theory or am I all wet.
Leroy........................
 
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Which is ridiculous anyway, if the fish can see it, considering the leader length it will be black regardless of the colour of the line. It will be in contrast against the surface light, and not very well illuminated from below. You would do as well with a basic green line in most cases, or a black one. Why people want fancy colours is beyond me. I used standard grey SA HiD sinking heads for all of my salt water fly fishing and couldn't see any fish being affected by the colour. But then everything is made to catch humans, fishes are incidental to the deal. Consider this. You want to build yourself a deep running lure. Looking down into the water its very dark down there, so why have a dark back on the thing. Surely it would be better if was flashy, like silver, reflecting all of the light illuminating it from above. And surely from underneath it should be in contrast against the bright light from the surface, like black.
If you wanted to have a middle water lure wouldn't it be better if it was reflecting all of the light that hit it, like silver. all over. Silver flashy lures work, colours mean nothing, particularly since MOST pelagic species see blue/green and don't see the red colour at all. Which makes things difficult for lure makers, and fly tyers, since there are no yellows, oranges, pinks reds etc. At least the fish doesn't see it. Not much point in using colours they don't see.
Max
 
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