|The Rage Compact -Airflo's newest floating Spey head.|
Working as a fly line designer for Airflo the past few years has been a great privilege. We've built a solid family of Spey lines including the Skagit Compact for sink-tip fishing, the Scandi Compact for finesse dry line work, the Tactical Steelhead for those that appreciate a longer casting stroke and want the versitility of a multi-tip line, and the new Skagit Switch -Which is by far the best sink-tip line for switch rods and shorter Spey rods. However, there was a void in the line-up.
I've always loved Scandi heads for floating line presentations. From the moment I first cast them over ten years ago, I grooved on the line speed and tight loops I could throw. However, Scandi heads have their faults. First, they suck in the wind. The long, delicate front taper which gives Scandi's there finesse-like feel, crumbles in even a modest breeze. Not sure if it isn't windy in Europe, but the summer steelhead rivers I guide -mostly the Deschutes and the Klickitat, are windy places. As are every other big western river. The other problem with Scandi heads is they struggle to turn-over foam skaters and large wet flies. (Yes, I know you can do it... But it's not fun.) There just isn't enough mass in the front of the line to give the caster sufficient turn-over. As long as I'm ragging on Scandi heads... Another shortcoming is that most anglers struggle when they switch from their Skagit to their Scandi. These lines cast so dramatically different! I hate watching anglers waste precious fishing time trying to shift gears!
So why not just put a floating tip on a Skagit and call it good? Good question! The problem is when you cast a Skagit with a sink-tip, most of the sink-tip is in the water during the D-Loop formation. The caster is effectively feeling the load of the Skagit head alone. When you loop on a floating tip, you need to arialize more D-loop. Consequently, you feel the weight of the Skagit plus the 60-some grains in the floating tip. -60 grains is an entire line size! Ever notice your floating tip makes your rod feel mushy? And, its awfully easy to throw a tailing loop. That's because your rod can't handle the added grain weight in the D-loop. The Skagit + floating tip was a band-aid solution to a bigger problem.
What I really wanted was a Spey line built for surface and near-surface presentations that bucked like a Skagit but still had the finesse of a Scandi. Tim Rajeff, the US. distributor of Airflo and over-all fly casting guru, gave me the green light to start working on a new breed of line. With the help of Tim and the design team at Rajeff Sports, we came up with the answer to all of our problems.
The new Airflo Rage Compact is the perfect floating line to compliment your Skagit Compact. To be blunt, it is by far the best floating line I've ever cast. As a general rule of thumb, line your rod 30 grains lighter than your Skagit. If you like a faster -livelier feel to your floating line and have a very bottom-hand dominant stroke, go 60 grains lighter. Either way, the thing jacks! Like all of Airflo's Spey heads, the line comes in 30 grain increments and is available in 360 grains to 600 grains. I recommend using a 10' Airflo Poly Leader with 2' to 4' of tippet. I fish an intermediate leader even with skaters.
Awesome for sinking Poly Leaders
If you fish shallower rivers in the West like the John Day or smaller rivers in the Great Lakes, the Rage will easily handle a sinking Poly Leader and an unweighted fly. It's a great line on rivers where a full blown sink-tip is overkill. I wouldn't try casting a big weighted bug, but it'll jack an unweighted tube a mile.
The Rage is also a killer floating line for switch rods!
I was blown away how well this thing casts on a switch stick. Line it exactly the same as your Skagit Switch. Just for reference, most #7 weight switch rods are taking a 450 grain head. It made me re-think the rods i'll be fishing this fall!
Airflo's new loop labels...
A new feature on all Airflo Spey lines is our labeling of line type/size on the front loop, plus the old color coded system. Now you have an easy way of identifying your Spey lines!
|Smart... Very smart.|
If you love the feel of casting Skagit heads and want a floating line that cuts through the wind, turns over with total ease and doesn't take a PHD. in casting to make it huck, give the new "Rage" a try. I guarantee it will elevate your floating line casting and fishing.