Sharkskin Fly Line
Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Line Review - I had heard good things about this line from other anglers, but it took me over a year to finally decide to part with $100 for fly line. The line I purchased was the 3 wt. with a double taper, so that's what this article will discuss. Other weights and tapers will have different properties that I will not try to guess at.
My 3 wt. rod is a short 6 footer that I use for small stream fishing, so I usually don't need to cast too often or too far. With that being said; there are times when a decent length cast is required even on small water. Since small streams usually hold spooky fish, I have found myself needing to toss dries upstream far enough to not scare 'em off. This is where my 6' rod can be a bummer. My 9' / 5 wt. rod can easily make these casts, but who wants all that rod when pushing through bushes and deadfalls?
The solution: Sharkskin fly line. This stuff rockets through the guides and easily adds the distance I would normally sacrifice by using my 6' rod. Besides being easy to throw, it sits high on the water and has a built-in loop. The loop does away with nail knots at the 'Fly line to Leader' connection, or those silly loops that use shrink tubing to hold the loop to the line (which get stuck too easily on the rod guides).
Because Sharkskin line sits high on the water surface it picks up with minimal ripping. Even a poor pickup rips much less than would normally occur with standard fly line. I frequently loose concentration, rush, or simply get cocky and rip the surface during pickups (makes you want to fish with me, huh?) so having extra forgiveness is wonderful. I spend a lot less time cursing myself on the water. Surprisingly, sitting high on the water is useful for nymphing in my area too. I can use the tip of the fly line as a strike indicator better than with any other. Using either a 7' or 9' leader depending on the depth of the stream, I just watch for the tip to get pulled (makes a wake on the surface) or for it to dip under the surface.
I don't know how quickly it will get dirty, but my guess is that the textured surface will trap more gunk. I am more cautious about having floatant on my stripping hand with this line as a result. I'm curious to know if it will be able to be cleaned or not. Also, I have heard that the large saltwater line can be hard on the hands, but the 3 wt. line doesn't bother my skin at all. Actually I like the feel of the line when stripping, it doesn't slide off of wet fingers as easily.
Overall: I love it. Compared to my previous 3 wt. line that cost me $75; Sharkskin line is well worth the extra cash.