Spey Pages banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed on some posts that some anglers consider Spey fly lines from U.K. better than lines made in the U.S.Is it a general concesus that they are better,and if so,why?Who are the manufacturers and what countries are they from.I know of Hardy,Loop,Snowbee,Guideline, and Vision.Do these companies make thier own fly lines or do some get the others to make the the lines to thier own taper configuration?Oh ya,I forgot Airflo.
 

·
chrome-magnon man
Joined
·
5,375 Posts
There are a limited number of line manufacturers worldwide. Some examples from the US are RIO and 3M; UK manufacturers include Masterline and Airflo. Most tackle companies develop their line tapers and have them made by these or a few other line makers. As an example, the recently announced CND Spey lines are being manufactured by RIO.

In general, lines developed in the US tend to be thicker for their line weight and also heavier than the UK lines. The thickness comes down to how high they are expected to float, and the additional weight is a result of line design and also the fact that NA anglers have tended to like somewhat faster action rods yet they still want to feel a good bend in the rod during the casting cycle. The UK lines tend to feel lighter to someone who is used the the NA designed lines, but I rarely hear anyone in the UK complain that their lines are too light.

As to which are better, it is tough to say, and ultimately gets down to personal preference. Consider this: the top tournament speycasters currently seem divided between US and UK lines, specifically the 3M XLT and the Carron Jetstream. No one in the UK makes Skagit lines, but the UK companies are getting interested in shooting heads (Hardy and Snowbee both have Scandinavian-style shooting heads available).

There are many variables that come in to play during the design of a fly line, and speylines add even more to the mix because two-handed rods can handle such a range of belly lengths. Once we only had long belly double tapers, then shooting heads cut from these tapers, followed by the relatively recent development of the dedicated speylines. Less than a decade ago it was pretty easy to find that one system that you could stick with and enjoy; now there is a virtually endless variety of speylines. I've cast most of them and there really aren't any bad lines out there. They all work well and suit particular casting styles. The challenge for a newer speycaster is deciding which line to start with. Speyclaves are the best way that I know of to test a bunch of lines without breaking the bank.

Of the lines you mentioned, I believe only one (Airflo) makes their own lines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
886 Posts
Other UK manufacterers are 22m who make the Carron line and others. Shakespere(?sp) who make the Partridge lines and I believe the Snobee lines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,829 Posts
Vision

Who makes these lines?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
is it `fly fish america'?

the freebie magazine all the flyshops give out,they had an article about the line manufacturers,i believe 7 plants worldwide,that's all,and the machines that `apply' the coatings are all `proprietary',custom built,exclusively by or for each company,when the article was being photo'd,the room where the coating machines were was OFF LIMITS! to photos,it was unbelievable how much thread was used to build the core,i believe those machines run nearly 24/7,,,and if i recall ALL cores are 30 pound rating for all lines,well,guess i'd better shut up before i get taken out by a secret agent huh :eek:
 
M

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
I'm not sure this will go anywhere but I'm told the machine is basically a vat full of gunk through which the core, a bundle of polyester fibres, more fibres more hold of the plastic, runs. The core goes through a variable extrusion iris, computer controlled, which sets the thickness of gunk around the core, which sets the line tapers etc. Pretty simple explanation.
These machines a specialised because to make a lot of lines it goes flat out 24/7 and are likely to be in a more than one situation, Every 90 feet is another line.
A couple of critical things, the plastic, which must be sticky enough to hang onto the core and the core tension so that its not under huge amounts of stretch.The type of plastic varies with line usage, the floaters have less density than sinkers so you need a variety of vats with different materials,
The process must produce a hell of a lot of lines, because shops are full of them.
Apparently the first plastic lines came out in the 50's and there were no computer controlled variable extrusion irises. I wonder how thay changed the extrusion hole in those days.
Max
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
I've been interested in how lines are made for obvious reasons, but even considering my interest, I've acutally never seen the actual machinery that mkes lines of either primary contruction type. I've been able to piece together a working concept of how lines are made, which has been helpful in understanding the advantages and limitations of each line making technology.

There are two fundamental methods for attacking a modern plastic fly line. The first dichotomy is whether the material the line will be made of is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU). There are intrinsic advantages for each.

PVC lines are essentially made by drawing a core material through a vat of liquid PVC, then through a die. The covered PVC is then set in an oven, and a run of lines is made, and cut by technicians.

Polyurethane lines, on the other hand are extruded lines, and the core is run and polyurethane injected to cover the core as it is extruded through a die at a speed quite a bit higher than a drawn PVC line. I don't believe that PU needs to be heat set - it's not a thermoplastic.

PVC, by itself, is pretty colorless, and has a specific gravity greater than 1.000 (meaning it sinks). To make it float, traditionally, microscopic air filled glass beads are mixed into the PVC, as are other proprietary additives, like plasticizers, UV resistant chemicals, and lubricants. To make a line that sinks, typically powdered tungsten is added to the mix.

Polyurethane has the intrinsic advantage of having the ability to be formulated to have a specific gravity less than or greater to 1.000, so you can make a floating line that is clear. Polyurethane also has the ability to be ultrasonically welded.

The disadvantages of each material itself I think are outweighed by the liimtations in manufacturing. Polyurethane, as an extruded line, has the challenge that extremely fine changes in taper are difficult to manufacture consistently and accurately, as are radical differences in the thickness of the line. Witness the thick shooting line of Airflo lines until just recently. To my knowledge, Monic and Airflo are the main PU line manufacturers.

PVC lines, on the other hand, rely on additives for floatation/sinking, and to my understanding, are intrinsically less durable, unless additives are used (why top PVC line manufacturers like SA, Cortland, and Rio guard their compositions so carefully, and why lines made on the other machinery don't have the reputation of durability and crack resistance that the top US manufacturers enjoy). If a line doesn't last long, cutomers start getting upset. For good formulations, PVC lines can last for years. Scott McKenzie, for example, has been casting the same stock 9/10 XLT essentially daily for over three years, and Andy Mill has been using his favorite tarpon line for at least a couple of years in really brutal conditions.

As far as cores are concerned, several options are available. The most common core is a multifilament nylon core, which has a great combination of stretch and suppleness. It also has a little air trapped in it which aids bouyancy. Braided monofilament cores are also used (typically for saltwater applications), as are monofilament cores (especially in ghost tip lines). Totally non-stretch cores, like GSP, kevlar, or braided dacron, have historically had problems with memory (the reason is beyond a brief description here, but interested readers should look up Bruce Richards' excellent book on the subject of line design and manufacture), but it seems that Airflo may have finally solved this problem.

The breaking strength of the core is totally dependent on the designer and manufacturer's target use fot he line. Obviously, a tarpon line should have a different breaking strength than a 2 weight spring creek line.

An incredible amount of thinking and prototyping typically goes into the design and production of a line, and often, a pure casting line won't work well for daily fishing use. The reason the US lines tend to be a bit thicker than lines manufactured on the Shakespeare machinery probably has more to do with the additives for usability and durability, as mentioned above, and the combination of core materials, some of which are proprietary. Cutting and splicing a number of lines from different manufacturers over the years, and looking at lines under magnifying loupes really reveals quite a variety of strategies for maximizing durability and performance from different manufacturers.

So, it's a little more complicated than what it might originally appear, and the trade secrets in a highly competitive market are kept more tightly than the secret to the H-bomb!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
more secret than the `H' Bomb

well,it only had to be cast out one time :chuckle: ,,but,the world of chemistry is quite competetive,,,and of course the end users reap the benifits from what's being developed in the world of plastics,,i will say this,i'm certain the same input/effort goes into rod blank manufacture as the lines,=,many hours behind the scenes by people `in the trenches' coupled with the chemists/designers/engineers/machinists/production people to yeild the miriad of lines that are available to the buyer today,gee!,even two years ago there wasn't near what's availlable today to purchase,,,does one wonder what waits around the bend? :Eyecrazy:
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top