Recently I got my grubby little paws on a “Kayak” specific fly line. I was wondering what this meant. I have used a lot of different types of fly lines but never one for a “Kayak”. I loaded it up on a reel and did a little research.
Captain Pat Horrigan from Florida came up with the idea and went to Jim Teeny Fly lines and they worked together to come up with a fly line designed for kayak fishermen to be casted form a seated position. According to the website and Capt. Horrigan, "I designed the new Kayak Fly Line for our contestants. They seemed to have a tough time throwing feathers while seated in their yak. Not everyone has a stand-up kayak and I wanted to help promote both kayak angling and fly fishing. Kayak fly fishing is most stealthy way that there is to get close to spooky fish on the flats and the new Kayak Fly Line now will allow anglers to throw a 50 shoot with only one back cast."
This peeked my interest and I wanted to see for myself. I spooled the line onto my Okuma SLV 78 reel and thought about the line. It seems to have a heavier head to the line, a lot like a shooting head but it was about 50’ long. It did not feel heavy like some of the shooting heads do. You can kinda feel the line is heavier, but this felt like a normal fly line. I grabbed my March Brown Distance 8wt and went outside. I dumped the line out and started to false cast. At first it was clunky and felt really heavy, I only had about 20 feet of line out so I let a little line shoot and had the shooting head just out of the tip top and the line really came to life. I let the line drop and stripped a bit back in. I picked it up and threw a quick double haul and the line shot through the guides smoothly and gave me that “thump” at the end that said, “I want more”. I spent about 30 minutes casting this line trying to throw 50’ feet with one back cast. Well since the head is 50’ long, it performs as advertised. I was able to throw the entire head of the line pretty easily. I was able to dump the entire line and about 10 feet of backing through the tip top easily. I was doing all of this standing up so I sat down and went through the same process. I achieved the same results from a seated position.
Now that I had seen the legs on this line I wanted to see the short game. While this line is great for casts out to 30 feet and beyond it is not as good at short shots. At ranges from 10-25 feet the line casts great but the aggressive head causes the line to really slap down on the water. Here in my home waters, that is gonna spook a redfish pretty easy. Now at ranges beyond 30 feet the line performs well and does not slap the water anywhere as hard and lands like any other shooting head line and soft enough to not spook fish.
Again, this is not a short cast line. I thought this may be caused by the rod. The distance is a mid-flex rod and is a little soft. I decided to try it on a few other rods.
I casted the line on a group of 8wt rods, as the line is only available in 8wt right now, namely the Hardy Proaxis , Sage Xi3, Sage Approach , Sage TCX , a TFO BVK, and, TFO Professional II. I work in a fly shop so it was a good excuse to go out back and play. Of course the shop neighbors always look at me like a lunatic siting on the ground in a parking lot casting a fly rod.
The Xi3 stood out and really liked this line. The stiffer rods seem to cast this line better. While all the rods will still give you a quick long shot, the stiffer tip rods really make it sing. I didn’t find any of the rods made a better short cast. They all still gave the hard presentation and slap at the end but the casts out past 30-feet all landed soft enough. None of the rods gave me a bad cast with this line.
The line performs pretty much as advertised. This is not an all-purpose line though. If you want to make shorter shots at fish you need to have a second rod rigged up and ready to go. For places like Florida where you have big expanses of flats and even around here out away from the creeks it will be a help, especially in the coming months when the water clears up and the fish get spookier and longer casts are required.
I do warn you, this is also not a line to spool up and go fish. Spend a little time casting it and learning how it responds. If you are looking for a line to get your cast out while sitting down I encourage you to check out this line.
Tight lines ya’ll!!