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Trouts Journal

Which Scientific Anglers Line Is Right For You?

Ivan Orsic / Dec 3, 2015

Scientific Anglers has long been known for quality, durable, dependable fly lines. They've been the primary fly lines I've fished for over a decade now- with the famed GPX seeing more days running through my guides than any other line made.

Needless to say, when I found out my beloved GPX had been discontinued this year there no doubt a slight "WTF?" whispered silently. I then reminded myself that if SA felt the need to discontinue one of their best sellers there must be something good coming down the line.

SA didn't just stop there though however, but rather has gone through and updated quite a few of their lines. Long story short, I can't wait to try out quite a few of these new offerings.

We sell a lot of fly lines here at the shop and unless your a gear geek (like all of us who work here) deciding which one to pair up with your fly rod can be somewhat confusing.

In an attempt to de-muddy the fly line waters, we're going to review the Scientific Anglers current line offerings in two parts. Part 1- We'll explain the different categories of lines currently offered. Part 2- We'll take a look at a few of the different tapers that I think will be most appealing from a freshwater fishing perspective.

Wavelength Series- If you qualify as someone who loved SA's Mastery Textured Series of lines, then the new Wavelength Series is for you. Wavelength lines are fully embossed with SA's Mastery Texture (little golf ball type dimples) which allows the line to shoot through your fly rod's guides quicker and is more hydrophobic, allowing it to pull off the water easier when it's time to make that next cast. $84.95.95 (available in MPX, Titan, Trout and Nymph/Indicator Tapers)

Sharkwave Series- Sharkwave lines feature the same running line and head as the Wavelength Series, however uses their patented Sharkskin line for the last 5-7' of the head head. Sharkskin (as some of you may remember from a few years back) is the toughest, slickest and most textured line ever made. This results in an incredibly durable, high floating tip on your fly line. Sharkwave lines also feature TRP (tactical reference point) which is a blip of smooth line right at the load point. If you've ever used a textured line in the past then you know there is a slight sound created as the lines moves in and out of the guides. This TRP allows anglers to both feel and hear the transition from head to running line. Sharkwave lines also feature a triple color scheme (running line/head/tip) to allow for even more reference points on the line. $99.95 (available in GPX, Ultimate Trout, Seige and Anadro Tapers)

Mastery Series- SA's top-of-the-line smooth line series. The Mastery Series has been around for a number of years now and for good reason- they flat out get the job done. They are extremely durable which comes in handy when both wading and fishing out of a drift boat (or am I the only one who steps on/walks all over their line multiple times throughout the day?) Mastery Series lines also feature a patented dry-slick additive coating dubbed AST (Advanced Shooting Technology). This technology adds a unique slickness element which is mixed into the PVC coating used when making the line. The end result is a line that as the coating begins to wear from use, the AST additive remains active allowing dirt and other drag particles to shed more easily. $74.95-$84.95 (available in MPX, Trout, Titan, VPT, SBT, Anadro, Expert Distance, and Double Taper tapers)

Frequency Series- Introduced last year, the Frequency Series of lines has been a huge hit with our customers not looking to spend $100 on a fly line. To quote SA, "Our goal for the Frequency Series was to create an affordable, durable, and—above all else-easy-to-understand family of fly lines. With three floating tapers and three sinking tapers, the line choices are simple, but your possibilities are limitless. Frequency Series lines are meant to be used wherever you are, day after day." $49.95 (available for floating lines in Boost, Trout, Magnum tapers. available for sinking lines in sink-tip, intermediate sink, full sink)

Heritage Series- If you're a fan of fishing dry flies on bamboo, fiberglass, or full-flex fly rods then this line is for you. The Heritage Series uses a true presentation taper and will be most at home throwing small flies, on small streams and spring creeks where presentation is key. $49.95

Sonar Series- Last in the line-up is the Sonar Series. There are currently 15 different offerings under the Sonar branding but in the interest of keeping things simple, just know that they're all sinking lines. Whether you're looking for a sink-tip, full sink, sinking line for still water, sinking line for big water, etc, etc....SA has you covered in this department. $74.95-$89.95

Now on to Part 2- Tapers. The taper of a fly line can drastically affect the performance of a fly rod. Unsure what taper you need for your rod? That's where we come in. Swing on by the shop or give us a call and we'll be happy to recommend the perfect taper to match whatever fly rod(s) you may be fishing with this season. As you've likely already noticed above, there are a lot of different tapers availble for these various series of fly lines. As promised though- and again in the attempt to keep things simple- below are a few of the different tapers explained in slightly more detail that I think will be most appealing to the freshwater angler.

I mentioned my love affar for the GPX taper earlier in this post and that it was had been discontinued. Perhaps I should have said "almost discontinued" as it is still available on the Sharkwave series of lines. Let's start there.

GPX- SA's all time best selling taper, GPX lines are designed a half-weight heavy (i.e. their 6 weight is more like a 6 and a half weight). This extra weight is found in the forward part of the line is the perfect match for today's faster action fly-rods.

MPX- The replacement for the GPX taper available for both the Wavelength and Mastery Series of lines. The MPX is a half-weight heavy line (again, ideal for faster action rods) and features an updated taper design built with slightly more mass towards the front of the head. According to SA, this design still offers all the power of the original GPX but the new taper allows for more finesse on presentations. While I haven't fished the MPX myself, I can't wait to try it out. It sure sounds like a win-win all the way around.

Ultimate Trout- Touted as SA's ultimate all-around dry fly line, the Ultimate Trout is available only on the Sharkwave Series of lines. The true-to-line size taper is going to offer an immense amount of control whether making a 15 or 50 foot cast. While designed around fishing dry flies, the Ultimate Trout is still more than capable of also tossing around a light nymph rig or small streamer with ease.

Trout- SA's Trout Taper is found on both their Wavelength and Mastery of fly lines. Another true-to-line-size offering, the Trout taper will adds an extra degree of finess compared to the Ultimate Trout. This has been my go-to 4-weight line for years now (in both the textured and non-textured versions) and I can say with certainty, the control you get with your dry fly presentations is unmatched. If you're looking for something to throw big hoppers and stoneflies with, you might want to look at the Ultimate Trout or MPX. However, if PMD's, BWO's, Caddis and Tricos get you excited then I highly suggest this line.

Titan- If you carry more streamers in your pack than any other fly, then the Titan is for you. Available in both the Wavelength and Mastery Series, this line is designed with a very short, heavy head that will turn over your articulated offerings with ease. If you want to keep this line happy, spool it up and then go throw some big flies to big fish.

Boost- Similar to the GPX/MPX, the Boost is the Frequency Series half-size heavy line. If you're looking to save some dollars on a fly line for that fast action of rod of yours- get a Frequency Boost.

Magnum- The Magnum Taper is found in the Frequency Series of fly lines and is the economic version of the Titan. If big flies and big fish are your target then the Magnum is for you.

Shop all Scientific Anglers products HERE!

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