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Discussion Starter #1
Spent some time at the sandy clave with a guy who was throwing an old xlt.....and throwing it to the backing knot every time. I've heard that some generations of this line were great and others were a bear to cast. Can anyone fill me in on the differences? I'd like to pick one up and give it a try.

Tom
 

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I'll be interested to see the responses to this thread. I've read that the double line designation line...7/8 for instance...were the better generation of this line. When the change was made to single line designation the "improved" line was not as well received. I've had a couple each of 7/8, 8/9 & 9/10 on my bench for the last year or so and haven't had time to play with them.
 

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I have the original 7 for my Scott ARC 1287 - Way Yin actually designed that line around that rod and I used it a lot before I transitioned to short line systems (mainly Skagit) due to shoulder and elbow issues unrelated to fishing. These first lines were very nice but some felt the front taper too long and fine and recommended cutting off the front few feet to help with turnover. I also have the 9 wt for my Scott ARC 1509

I actually cut them at recommended locations and looped them so they can also be used with tips which they also throw very well
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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I like the second gen line better. It's more forgiving. The main problem with the 2Gen XLT was that it was released when mid-shooters started becoming popular, and since it was harder to cast, it was left behind. For this reason I call it the Cro-Magnon of distance lines. I might be wrong. But I like them, and want some for myself. The single-designated ones, that is. Anybody got a 6,7,or 8 for me?:)

I think the beauty of XLT is its use as a fixed line. Very graceful, very mendable, super control on the swing. Like a DT, with some of the drawbacks removed. Makes a very pretty loop. I want to use 2Gen XLT as the next step of my Excellent DT Adventure, but they're hard to find. I still have some work to do with the DT first, and have to get the right 16'er in my stable for this, but it's exciting. Keeps me going.

A lot of people don't like the long (what, 18ft?) back taper, and don't like that it requires very good mechanics to cast consistently, but that's exactly what I DO like about it. A beautiful, revolutionary design. A line that teaches you, and rewards you only when you get it right.
 

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Steelhead are cool!
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I have the pre-2004 7/8 and 9/10 I purchased in 2004 when the new models came out. They are nice casting but I found they can be troublesome in the wind with the very long front taper.
 

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The first generation lines that Rick talked about were the best I think but they did have a long front taper which a lot of folks cut back. They work really well on 14'+ rods.
 

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The first generation, two size designation, XLTs have an extremely long front taper/belly/rear taper. (Some competition lines may be even more so, but I don't know.) A 7/8 is my primary dry line for my 15' 7/8/9 Highlander, and does perform better with the front four feet cut off.

I can't see a point in choosing it for a rod shorter than 15 feet, but to each his own. In the beginning, some even cut the long taper back and looped it for sinking tips! It usually required a 24-27 foot circumcision:whoa: That's just a pointless mutilation of a great design; almost any other line is a better candidate for conversion to a floater/sinker.

As others have said, the second generation had more conventional semi-long belly parameters, and felt, to me, heavier and harder to match to a rod, based on a few attempts. The original design is a soaring wonder, if there's not too much wind, improbably turning over its long length to straighten out. ;)
 

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JD
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When I first got into this game, the XLT lines were still in development & we were all chomping at the bit to get them. !4 & 15 foot rods were de regure' & there was this "Hammer" guy a little down river from me that had 16" &17' rods! :whoa: The number of guys who knew the how & why of cut & splice lines were few & far between.

When we were finally able to get our hands on these lines, they were like magic. That is, until the wind blew, and/or you exceeded the lines carrying capacity by tying on a (big) fly only to be frustrated by watching the loop die & the fly fail to turn over. And don't even think about sink tips or poly leaders unless you were willing to cut the line back 25+ feet in order to loop on a 15ft sink tip. That was a really hard sell. Add to that, the thought of shortening the total length of that "magic" line by 10ft???

To put this all into perspective, I was also told, all too often, that I was casting too far. "The fish are right out here" And those magic llines, with the loooong fine front tapers, didn't even begin to load the long rods until you had 60/70ft of line off the reel. The original XLT lines, with the dual line designation, were the Ferrari of spey lines, more like a formula one race car. They filled a special niche in the world of Spey. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Has anybody got the grain weights for both generations of XLT's? Especially in the smaller sizes, say up to 9 or 8/9?

CT
 

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loco alto!
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Has anybody got the grain weights for both generations of XLT's? Especially in the smaller sizes, say up to 9 or 8/9?

CT
The lines are very long and the grains can be hard to interpret relative to current lines. I found (roughly, for fishing) that the first gen XLT 6/7 worked in place of a DT 8/9, the XLT 7/8 for DT 9/10, and XLT 8/9 for DT 10/11

the comments about the long front taper can't be emphasized enough - very long, very fine
 

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In my opinion, SA was seduced into making lines that were great in competitions, but very limited in actual fishing use by mortal average anglers. They had an initial surge in popularity, but were overtaken by lines like Rio's Windcutter, which was much more user friendly for all but the best casters. The XLT was awful in the wind, not much good with large flies and limited when backcast room was restricted. SA discontinued the line and came out with the short head line that was pretty much an imitation of the Windcutters.

The XLT still has its fans and uses, especially among very good casters, but it was basically a marketing failure.
 

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Harsh, Speycaster! Not wrong, although I don't think that a line is a "market failure" because it turns out to be specialized as to its ideal use. That's what extra reel spools are for.

Some old data: an 8/9 XLT weighed 797 grains for its front 80 feet, and 962 grains for its front 100 feet. More data from Feb. 4, 2004 (not sure of the original source, but includes data for other brands of long belly lines).

Front 90 feet of XLT lines:
6/7: 790 grains
7/8: 880 "
8/9: 990 "
9/10: (92 feet): 1050 grains
10/11: " 1265 grains
 

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JD
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I feel compelled to speak up

In defence of the XLT design. At the time of it's introduction, there existed among the spey community, a good deal of controversy regarding short belly (Windcutter) lines and the, shall we say, sloppy casting techniques one could get by with when casting them. Put on an XLT line and you discovered you were not the hot caster you thought you were.

Once you honed your casting techniques however, the XLT line allowed you to cast exreteme distances, mend pick up & recast, without the need for stripping. Not that the XLT was without it's draw backs. Like said, you needed ample room behind for your D-loop. Due to that long ,fine front taper, fly size & leader design, properly matched to line & rod was more critical than the shorter, lees refined front tapers of other lines. And then there was the wind.

There is a reason competition lines are always 10/12 wt lines. Wind! Competition casters were chopping the heaviest XLT lines, converting them to shooting heads, and they worked very well. But alas, the average spey caster was unwilling to devote the time & effort to master the technique of casting the XLT line.

And then there were the nymphers.:rolleyes:
 

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XLT had its fans, but not enough of them to make it a commercial success, so no longer on the market - I'd call that a market failure by definition.
 

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The 8/9 XLT was a great line in its day. I loved it so much I still have a few new ones in boxes.
 

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PiscatorNonSolumPiscatur
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I was a big fan of the original XLT's and as JD says they taught many of us to tighten up our casting skills.
I have some great memories of throwing sparsely tied summer flies on that beautiful long front taper at first light on big water. Was poetry in motion watching that thing unfurl. But yeah--in a wind it was problematic.
The 2nd gen were more practical and user friendly, but there was something special about those first XLT's. At the time they were something to marvel over.
 
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