For this 8-Weight Shootout, we are trying to gauge how well each rod performs with an 8-weight line. However, we know that some of these rods would be better with a 9-weight line. If you are having problems with any of these rods loading well at short distances, don’t be afraid to go up to a 9 weight line or at least try one before settling in on which line to use. For most anglers though, we feel that an 8-weight line is the one to use. Rods that we feel might benefit from a #9 line are the Loop Cross SW-Fast, the Sage Salt HD, and the Redington Vice.
In the past we have used the standard SA Mastery Bonefish Taper, but their new Amplitude Bonefish taper is even better. This 100-foot line utilizes a 40-foot head (including tapers in a WF-8-F) and a 60-foot belly. The first few feet of the tip is textured for the ultimate in flotation, then it goes to a smooth line for the remainder of the belly. A light texture on the shooting line allows the line to shoot like crazy. This new line has the S.A. Tropi-Core technology – a stiff coating and stiff core, perfect for warmer climates. At the back end of this Amplitude line is a 10-foot section of black line, called a sighter. The idea is to show you where the start of the fly line is when you are playing a fish that has run well into your backing. This sighter makes it easy to see how much backing you have out as you are reeling it back onto the reel. Once I have the fly line back on the reel, then I feel comfortable putting a lot more pressure on the fish to land it. I think this “sighter” is handy, but if you would rather not have it on your line, it is easy to take off, as it is attached with loop-to-loop connections.
What surprised us was how well the Amplitude Bonefish cast compared to the previous Bonefish Taper, and how well it would shoot, even here in the colder Montana weather, once we stretched it out. So at the beginning of each casting session we would stretch out the full length of each line- stretching it perhaps 15 feet or more. We would then strip it into loose coils at our feet while casting the rods. Of course once we reeled up the lines on the reels we had to stretch them out again before more casting was done.
For cold-water applications you’ll want to switch over to a softer, colder water line like the SA MPX or the Amplitude MPX. Anglers fishing for stripers etc. in temperate climates often use an intermediate line like SA’s Sonar Titan. Throwing streamers for trout, our favorite sinking line is the new SA Sonar Sink Tip, type V that has a 14-foot sink tip in WF-8-F. The SA Sink 25 Cold gives you a 25-foot super fast sink tip. Their Intermediate/Sink 3/Sink 5 line gives you a line with a fast sink type 5 tip, a Sink 3 section behind this and then an intermediate running line.