The other day I stopped by McAfee’s Fly Shop to chat with Dennis about the new Scientific Anglers Sharkskin line. I wanted to know if the things I read were true about the super shootability. He just so happened to have a demo line in an 8 weight spooled up so I decided to take it for a little test drive. Dennis let me rig up a Sage Z-Axis 890-4 [that’s a 9 foot 8 weight for those who don’t know] with the Sharkskin. Before I headed out the door he mentioned to me that I would probably notice a strange noise while casting. Huh?
I peeled off enough line to get to the running line and proceeded to start the launch sequence. I quickly found out what Dennis was talking about. The first slip of the line through the guides produced what sounded to me like a fat man walking in wind pants when his thighs rub together. It was sort of a swishing ‘zzzz’ sound mixed in with a little ‘rrrr’. I got about half of the head out and let the rest of the line shoot through the guides. Hmmm this is nice. I decided to peel the rest of the line off of the reel to see if I could get it past the dry cleaners parking lot. A couple of false casts and I let it rip only to have the momentum of the line slam the reel. Hmmm…how long did Dennis say this line was…100 feet. I launched a few more bombs and went back in feeling like Steve Rajeff. Dennis later informed me that he had to chop a few feet off the back to fit the line on his shop reel. Damn! Based on the results though, I know casting the full line ain’t going to be a problem. It takes very little effort to shoot the moon with this line. My advice is to make sure you have a firm grip on the rod and your backing knot is solid…the line comes fast and hard to the reel!
At $90 a pop, feeling like Rajeff doesn’t come without digging a little deeper into your pocket. Scientific Anglers claims though that the Skarkskin process makes the line float better and last longer. The only real test is to take it out onto the water over a season. I better start saving those pennies now.
Dennis also had on hand the new RIO Gold in a demo 6 weight. He let me rig up a Sage Z-Axis 690-4 [that’s a 9 foot 6 weight] with the Gold. Once again I peeled off the line until I reached the running line which was a different color than the head. I noticed right off that even at a short distance I was able to throw some tight loops. As I progressively got the full head out past the tip I could feel the line loading the rod very deeply. More than I am used too. I found out quickly that if I didn’t want to look like a monkey waving a stick I would have to slow down my casting stroke.
Once I got into my groove I was able to throw some really tight loops at a distance. As hard as I tried I couldn’t get the full line to slam the reel. I did manage to shoot a floater with nothing but the loop near the reel touching the ground. My only gripe about the line is the two-tone color. Unless it is a sink tip, I’m not a big fan of the color change.