The Forgotten Double Taper
Although I have fished extensively for most fresh and salt water species with a fly, I keep going back to the Trout as the perfect fly rod species. Trout challenge us by their natural wariness, while feeding on an ever-changing menu of aquatic and land born insects, together with other water born yummies from baitfish to leeches.
Trout offer us beautiful surroundings to enhance the challenge of presenting the proper imitations of natural food to them in the manner they are accustomed to, accepting our offering as the food of choice. Presentation is the name of the Trout Anglers Game.
Several years ago the great trout angler and rod builder Tom Morgan explained his rod designs and fishing this way: "During the past 50 years most Trout have been taken from 20 to 40 feet and I expect the next 50 years will be the same." The need for a long cast certainly is part of our game but our day to day staple is to position ourselves to make an accurate presentation within the range he noted so well.
I prefer a Double Taper line to handle the Trout challenge, although a properly designed weight forward will perform well also the Double Taper offers the most, most control and accuracy in the 20 - 40 feet range, which is what presentation of the fly is all about. Because of the extended belly of the Double Taper mending in the air (i.e.: Reach Cast) and on the water is much easier. Roll casting is easy and a single handed Spey cast can be very useful with a brushy background.
My choice of floating lines has, in the past, been the Rio Classic, but this year the "Selective Trout" lines became available and I think it is the finest trout fly line I have ever fished! All the great qualities of the Classic lines, but a bit more supple and enhanced with a nine foot compound front taper and a bit of an hour glass profile. It loads a rod easily at short distanced and presents the fly positively but gently. I was concerned that with such a long front taper it might drift sideways in the wind, but it does not and remains very accurate. The "Selective Trout" is at home with graphite or a fine bamboo rod.
I still fish bamboo, because I like to and the rods I've used the Selective Trout lines on seem to be a marriage made in heaven. The graphite and similar composite rods I like to fish are progressive tapers with delicate tips and they all love the "Selective Trout" lines as well. I'm not about to discard my "Classics" but the folks at Rio have a clear winner with the Selective Trout and they have certainly reinvented the Double Taper.
Recently on the Henry's Fork and the Bighorn I needed the Selective Trout DT5F to perform both ends of the spectrum from size 6 grasshoppers to size 22 baetis. The long front taper turned over a hopper flawlessly in the wind and was totally accurate with size 18 to 22 dries. I couldn't ask for any more from a fly line.
Jim Vincent and the design team at Rio are all outstanding fly fisherman. They bring a very practical approach to the innovation on a new design. The demands of quality with constant testing are remarkable. The durability of all the Rio lines has set a new standard for the industry. The "Slick Shooter" process adds increased shootability and has another very desirable trait to all their floating lines, because they just don't get dirty, like so many other lines. Distance, when you need it, are easy and are further enhanced by the "hour glass" profile.
Now, if you have not tried Rio leaders, and PowerFlex tippet material, I encourage you to do so. If you enjoy the demands of Spring Creek and Tailwater fisheries these leaders and tippet compliment the advanced line tapers and out perform others I have used, which includes just about all that are available. What do I use for precision required for success on our Western rivers? The answer is simple: Rio Hand Tied multi-material leaders, which embody the best qualities of different monofiliments to achieve the best presentation leader that is commercially available. Wind or no winds they perform beautifully so try them. If there is any floating grass or algae, I will use the RIO knotless leaders, and what is so amazing, is that even the 15" leaders turn over fantastically. Powerflex tippet material has the best qualities of strength, shock proof and knotability, it has become the standard that all others are measured by.