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Trouts Journal

Gear Review: Scientific Anglers Sharkskin GPX Fly Line

Ivan Orsic / May 18, 2011

What we say

When the Sharkskin fly lines first debuted, I believe in 2008, it took the fly fishing industry by storm. Touted as the super line by many, I was skeptical that anyone would drop $100.00 on a fly line! Scientific Angler's claim was that this line would essentially add distance to anyone's cast by utilizing a textured surface, thus eliminating some contact or friction between the surface of the fly line and the guides of a fly rod. It all made sense, less friction equates to higher line speeds. Higher line speed, in turn equates to added distance and accuracy. In my findings, this presented itself as being quite true. I could cast further, unfortunately at the sacrifice of serenity. Zing. Zing. Ziiiiing. Constantly there was this annoying noise whizzing through my Auditory Cortex, leaving me to ponder whether or not this "added distance" really was worth the negative influence that it had on my overall experience, and those around me!

Not one to give up, I continued to fish with Sharkskin lines, in fact I've since owned the Magnum and Ultimate Trout Tapers in the Sharkskin Series. All of which proved to be fantastic fishing lines. Yes they cast further. Yes they seem to be quite durable and have less memory. And yes, they float like a cork and mend like a dream. Unfortunately though I find it difficult to rate this product as a must have. In addition to the annoying noise, there are other concerns to address. We've had numerous customers come back complaining about how "dirty" these lines would get, and how difficult it was to clean them...this I found true and can confirm through experience. I've had customers come back in to show off their "Sharkskin Burns", this caused by the line as it blazed over their stripping fingers during a blistering run...this I find true with all lines. I recommend wearing some kind of protection on your fingers, tape 'em up or better yet invest in a set of Stripee Finger Guards...especially when fishing Sharkskin lines and/or when in the salt. Lastly, I've had people come in complaining of cracking/durability issues. This too I believe holds true for any line. The more you fish a line, the more you step on it, wrap it around oar locks or shrubs, jam into cracks along the river side, etc. Fly lines are an investment, take care of them and they too will take care of you.

Now onto the GPX Taper itself. This is my favorite taper from Scientific Anglers and is considered to be their "General Presentation" taper. Kind of like how a 9' 5 weight fly rod is the "jack of all trades" for Rocky Mountain trout fishing, it will do just about everything you ask of it, but has its limitations. Designed to have a fairly aggressive front taper, this line will turn over flies of all sizes in all conditions. Cast it short with dries or cast it long with a hopper/dropper rig, this line will stand up to the task. Where you might run into some issues is with long roll casts and mends, but fortunately for those out there that dunk lead all day they make a great Nymph line too. Another thing to note is that this line is not a true 5 weight, it is actually a bit heavier when measured in grain weight. This was done to accommodate the faster rods being put out today by the different manufacturers. This added grain weight really brings out the performance characteristics of high performance, fast action rods and acts as a hindrance on slower, more medium action rods. We at Trout's highly recommend speaking with a shop representative when making your next fly line purchase. We know the perfect fly line for just about every rod on the planet.

What they say

Floating General Presentation Taper:

  • Sharkskin Technology provides increased durability, lower memory, and higher floation
  • Line stays high on the water surface for ultimate line control
  • Front tip section has improved floatation (Dry Tip Technology)
  • Taper designed to throw a variety of fly sizes
  • Looped on both ends for quick rigging
  • Optimized for cold to temperate water
  • SA ID: SA SS GPX WF X F where X denotes line weight
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