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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I'm putting together my first spey outfit (fast action 13' 7 wt rod, Danielsson L5W 8twelve reel) for steelhead and salmon on smaller rivers in Oregon and Washington. I'm looking at matching running line with heads and have narrowed my running/shooting line down to OPST Lazer (40lb, 0.47mm/.018" diameter) or Airflo Impact (44lb, can't find diameter). For my first head I'm looking at Rio Skagit Max, which suggests the following grain range for the corresponding running/shooting line diameters.

200 to 400 gr – .024”/.026” running line
400 to 550 gr – .030”/.032” running line
550 to 675 gr – .035”/.037” running line
675 gr and heavier – .040”/.042” running line

If I look to match the Lazer running line at 0.47mm (0.018")--and I'm interpreting the information correctly--I'm not even on the chart. And I'm unable to find the diameter of the 44lb Airflo Impact, so I'm kind of at a loss as to how I make an inexperienced yet educated purchase. How do you guys go about choosing grain size for running line and then matching head weight...without, if possible, saying it's about feel and personal preference?

Much appreciated
 

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Broken Down Spey Freak
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Your first set up eh! You want to go with a mono running line. Why? Right now I use 40lb Big Game with my set up's. 7/8 13ft and 15ft 10wt and have no issue.
I have not used the lines you mentioned but have used the rio connect core. Worked well in the cold weather but no good in the warm temps. You might find the mono tough to use in the colder temps and want something different. I am waiting for a airflo ridgeline and hope it's a good compromise.
I know it's not an answer but something to ponder.
I would lean towards the heavier line myself just for a better grip regardless of head weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess it could be unrestrained enthusiasm or lack of patience. All things being equal except the running line, it sounds like mono is more difficult but yields better results in terms of casting, mending, and stripping the line in cold water because the smaller diameter leads to less ice in the guides. If this is true, I'm having a hard time dedicating to a line that will at some point be insufficient (even if that's a few decades down the line).
 

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If you haven't already done so, take a look at the OPST/Ed Ward YouTube video on Lazer Line and knot tying. Towards the end Ed gives a brief explanation of the need to match head grain weight with the appropriately sized running/shooting line and makes recommendations specific to the OPST line.

By the way, the RIO recommendations that you posted sound like they pertain to their Connect Core line. The Connect Core funning line is really good stuff, but bear in mind that it is a coated line and isn't directly comparable to a mono line other than purely on the basis of diameter alone. Breaking strength, for example, is considerably different.

I wouldn't stress too much about it. I think most would admit to going through a few running lines on the path to finding "the one". I know that i did (and still am :)).
 

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50 lb OPST lazar line
 

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I guess it could be unrestrained enthusiasm or lack of patience. All things being equal except the running line, it sounds like mono is more difficult but yields better results in terms of casting, mending, and stripping the line in cold water because the smaller diameter leads to less ice in the guides. If this is true, I'm having a hard time dedicating to a line that will at some point be insufficient (even if that's a few decades down the line).
Hi,
I'm putting together my first spey outfit (fast action 13' 7 wt rod, Danielsson L5W 8twelve reel) for steelhead and salmon on smaller rivers in Oregon and Washington. I'm looking at matching running line with heads and have narrowed my running/shooting line down to OPST Lazer (40lb, 0.47mm/.018" diameter) or Airflo Impact (44lb, can't find diameter). For my first head I'm looking at Rio Skagit Max, which suggests the following grain range for the corresponding running/shooting line diameters.

200 to 400 gr – .024”/.026” running line
400 to 550 gr – .030”/.032” running line
550 to 675 gr – .035”/.037” running line
675 gr and heavier – .040”/.042” running line

If I look to match the Lazer running line at 0.47mm (0.018")--and I'm interpreting the information correctly--I'm not even on the chart. And I'm unable to find the diameter of the 44lb Airflo Impact, so I'm kind of at a loss as to how I make an inexperienced yet educated purchase. How do you guys go about choosing grain size for running line and then matching head weight...without, if possible, saying it's about feel and personal preference?

Much appreciated
I highlighted two points from your posts: in one you mention better performance characteristics, the other you point out this would be mostly for smaller rivers. So with the latter point in mind for context I would suggest that the better performances of mono might not be so appreciable, whereas some of its drawbacks would be quite noticeable.

I think few would debate how much easier mono shoots through the guides, so for really long casts on bigger water a big plus. For shooting short to modest amounts of running line, I personally just don’t see any running line being an issue to shoot; for smaller streams I think that the length of most casts makes this a very minimal issue (imo).

In terms of mending, I actually find mono to be much less user friendly. Thicker higher floating line tends to be easier to hold, and to lift and place, and in some instances add a bit of downstream belly. One nice thing about mono is that it doesn’t get pulled around as much by mixed currents and seams, again this can be a big plus when you have a lot of running line out, otherwise it’s not so difficult to simply keep the running line up and out of the water. In other words kind of varies by situation and by personal tastes.

The lack of ice in the guides is true only if you aren’t shooting and stripping much line at all. While I love the sound of that, for my winter fishing I’ve just found that it tends be be a bit of a fact of life in some (lots) of situations. Ymmv, but don’t think for a moment this will eliminate the issue.

Dealing with running line kind of sucks any way you slice it, but the real solution there (longer lines) creates other issues and challenges. Personally, and it really is a pretty personal thing, I wouldn’t over stress the running line too much. If I were helping a buddy, or a family member get set up for winter steelhead and salmon I would be starting him off with Rio Connect Core, or Airflo Ridge running line. They all need replacing at some point, so you’ll have plenty of chances to experiment with various options either way you go.

Enjoy,
JB

Edit: if I were helping a friend to start down this road I would also probably warn the spouse to hide the credit cards, and to start saving ASAP for “Gear Addiction” counseling!
 

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JD
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Having used damn near every running line that was in vogue, excluding OPST, the best I have found to date has been the Monic lines, which is what Ed was using before they came out with the Lazer lines.

The Monic running lines are all built on 72# GSP, the only difference being the PVC coating diameter. They are available in .024, .030.& .036Ø Being GSP, they are all zero stretch. What that means in terms of what you can feel when your fly ticks some buried structure is something I wouldn't trade, even for an additional ten feet of distance! Not to mention the advantage in hook sets. GSP is very flexible, limp even, and because there is so little PVC involved it has very little memory. I have all three sizes. The .036Ø is only utilized in winter fishing when I am more concerned with being able to hold onto it with cold hands, rather than distance casting which, in my case, is not often.

A lot has been said about matching running lines to heads, & I used to go along with that, although for different reasons. But when all is said & done, I really prefer the .024Ø over the others. At least on my 13 foot 7/8 wt rods. None of those lines tangle near as bad as mono when shooting. On the rare occasion when it does, the 024Ø will still make it thru the guides allowing me to fish out the cast with confidence since it is 72# test. And a damn site easier to untangle than mono! Aside from their price, the only down side to them is they do not do well in warm water. Their longevity makes up for the higher cost, & warm water is not an issue for me.
 
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