Friday, April 8, 2011

Gear Review: Rio Streamertip Line, Part One

A month or so ago I groveled successfully to the Rio PR folks on twitter and managed to score a spool of the new Rio Streamertip line, which to be honest I desperately needed. My old sink tip was in dire shape and I was never very good at casting it anyway. Consider this post the first part of a review of the Rio line, though it should be noted I am not the most technical guy in the world when it comes to gear specs, so my review focuses on stuff like how well a mediocre fisherman like myself can use the gear.

The Streamertip is based on Rio's Outbound Short lines. As such it has a short head (30 feet) and front taper that is designed to make it easy to throw heavy flies, which coincidentally is one of the things I struggle most with. In this particular area, the Streamertip immediately improved my casting. I spent most of the day casting a Butt Monkey--which is a pretty monstrous fly--and I also threw a Sculpzilla and a few other conehead flies. I was able to roll cast pretty easily, which was always a struggle for me with my old sink tip.

The Streamertip also has what it calls "extreme slickness technology," which I assume is some kind of coating to help shoot the line. If that is the case, then mission accomplished as the line shot much easier than I expected, although I'll have to fish it a few more times (bummer, I know) to see if that holds up or if the coating just wears off. For this first trip, I was shooting enough line that I was more worried about it getting tangled up at my feet than getting it through the guides.

Overall, I didn't feel like I had to completely overhaul my casting stroke to get used to the new line, like I often did with my old sink tip. While I still had to slow down my motion a bit, the line cast naturally. I find that pretty helpful because I almost always carry at least two rods, so I am switching back forth between a five-weight nymph rod (or a four-weight dry fly rod) and the six-weight streamer rod in every hole. Its nice not to spend the first five casts re-learning the whole process.

So my initial impression was pretty good. I was fishing a mid-sized river (from the bank) and I managed a couple of good fish on the Butt Monkey. The only negative isn't really a negative but really a design choice. The sink tip sinks at only 1.5 ips. The line was designed to be fished out of a drift boat, back towards the bank. So I can see why they wanted the slower sink rate to keep the fly above the fish as the boat drifts downstream and casts are pretty rapid. But I can't help but feel this limits the line's effectiveness in big deep back eddies where a lot of Montana and Idaho winter fish are still holed up. In these types of holes, I never really felt like my line was getting the fly down to the fish.

I am going to fish the line a time or two more this spring, then really give it a run out in the fall. I'll post part two of this review after more extensive field testing.  


  1. nice work on the groveling. I went back and searched the twitter archives and found out that it wasn't as much groveling, but more fishing for new line (pun intended). sounds like a line worthy of some attention. nice review qdog.

  2. Thanks, Ivan. So far it has been a pretty good line. Nice job on that big fish, by the way. You the man.

  3. I'm with you, 1.5 ips is a really slow sink rate. I like a faster sink rate precisely because of the rapid fire casts from a drift boat.