By Jerry Darkes
As a guide for both steelhead and smallmouth bass, I am always looking for equipment that helps customers fish more effectively. The skill level of my clients varies from highly experienced to total novice. When they use my gear, I want to put something in their hands that can cross skill levels and enhance their day on the water. All of this translates into making my life easier.
One of the key components of any fly outfit is the line. In fact, it is the single most important part of the outfit as it ultimately determines what you can do on the water. If the line is not suited for the task, you are sunk- pardon the pun. Finding a line that can be used and appreciated by both novice and expert is quite a challenge, but such a line does exist, the Sharkskin Magnum Taper.
I was admittedly skeptical when the first Sharkskin lines appeared. Other textured lines had been brought to market and never lived up to their hype. When I got the chance to cast and fish these lines, the benefits were quickly noticeable. These lines did cast further with equal effort when compared to a conventional line. The Sharkskin lines definitely floated higher, making mending easier with less disturbance on the water. These lines were also easier to pick up off the water to make a cast.
When the Magnum Taper was released, I figured it would be a great line for fishing river smallies and it is. The line turns over both air resistant and weighted patterns extremely well and is easy to manipulate on the water. A few additional benefits were also noticed. The line stays usable in a wide range of temperatures, from subfreezing to summertime highs. The Magnum Taper also has a lengthened back taper that allows more line to be carried on the backcast resulting in more accurate fly placement . The longer back taper also makes for easier, more efficient mending.
The Sharskin Magnum Taper has become my go to floating line and I believe it is the best, all-around floating line on the market. It casts and turns over heavy, air resistant flies for smallmouth as well as a two-fly rig with shot and an indicator when dead-drifting for steelhead. It is easy to mend and roll cast, a key component for success with cold weather steelies. Despite being “front loaded”, the longer back taper still gives a degree of delicacy when fishing on the surface, making it very suitable when fishing dries for trout.
Bottom line, the Sharkskin Magnum makes fly fishing easier. It helps my clients fish better. They catch more fish with less problems. This keeps them happy and makes my job easier, a win-win situation for everyone.