Salty on a Budget: RIO Mainstream Saltwater WF8F Fly Line
Total Score: 7.58 -
else in life and fishing, fly line continues to get more and more expensive over
time. Nowadays, a top-notch line can run you up around eighty bucks, and there
are some specialized offerings that cost even more! With a price like that for
such a relatively basic fishing necessity, it's no mystery why many people shy
away from taking up fly fishing. Thankfully, there are some excellent products
currently available that won't break the bank. RIO's value-driven Mainstream
Saltwater fly line is one such item that's geared towards anglers wanting high
performance, but at a modest cost.
The attractive new packaging looks clean and fresh.
RIO is one of the most popular fly line choices in the world because of the
excellent and consistent quality that their lines possess. Not surprisingly, the
Mainstream Saltwater WF8F line has proven to be no different. I've been fishing
the Mainstream Trout lines for several years now—even in saltwater—and have
found them to be quite good for the price. In fact, in the last three years I
don't think I have fished any other line on my five weight! The funny thing is,
since I received the Mainstream Saltwater line for testing several months ago it
hasn't left my eight weight reel! Previously, I was fishing a RIO General
Purpose Tropical floating line which is a great line in its own right, but since
I've started using this new Mainstream line I've felt no urgency to take it off.
A couple features of this new line are listed on the side of the box.
I put the RIO Mainstream Saltwater line through its paces on Southwest Florida
beaches sight casting to snook for an entire summer. The line was paired up to
the Cheeky Mojo 425 and Abel Super 7/8N reels and thrown on seven and eight
weight rods from Sage, Redington, and G. Loomis.
This line casts very good with small to medium flies. Honestly, it didn't shock
me one bit since I've used the Mainstream Trout lines for so long and always had
great things to say about them. The saltwater version is no different, as it
loads various rods well, casts smoothly, and is easy to manage. It's a modestly
stiff line that is impregnated with silicone and features a hard coating to stay
slick and firm in hot weather. The formula seems to work! I was impressed with
its ability to stay clean and smooth after repeated usage. In fact, I never once
had to lubricate the line during the test period!
The line is just stiff/firm enough for extreme heat, but it remains easy to
At 80 feet, the
length of the Mainstream Saltwater line is 20 feet shorter than a favorite of
mine, the RIO General Purpose Tropical line. This is a bit on the short side for
a saltwater line, and because of this you can expect several things: shorter
head length, lighter head weight, and to see your backing sooner if hooked into
a long-running fish like a bonefish or jack. To compare, the WF8F Mainstream
Saltwater line features a head length of 35 feet and a head weight of 245
grains, whereas the General Purpose Tropical line carries a head length of 40
and a head weight of 305 grains. While this is a sizable difference, keep in
mind that the General Purpose Tropical line is built heavier than average to
conquer wind, big flies, and be more user-friendly on the ultra-fast rods of
today. With all of this said, the WF8F Mainstream Saltwater line casts nicely
during most instances, but it won't quite have the punch of a beefier line.
The light blue color of the line was an excellent choice on behalf of RIO.
I used this line in water temps from about 73–89 degrees and had no major
gripes. As opposed to some tropical lines on the market, it's a bit more on the
supple side and doesn't coil up or need to be stretched before casting.
Fortunately, it's just firm enough to not get overly sticky in extreme heat
which can be a huge nuisance in terms of casting and line management.
Durability issues? None. Through heat, casting, and occasional dragging of the
line over sand and small shells, I noticed no cuts, peeling, or other signs of
the line breaking down.
The line blends in with the sky, yet is easily seen on the surface of the water.
Due to its shorter and lighter head length, this line is best suited to rods
ranging from moderate to fast action unless you plan on up-lining. With the
right rod it's a very satisfying line to use, but on one that's too stiff it
just won't feel quite as good at shorter distances. Also, if you plan on
throwing a lot of bulky flies, then up-lining or choosing another specialty line
with a heavier head will be the best way to go. The WF8F Mainstream Saltwater
line won't be the go-to choice for everything you do, but it will be useful for
anglers targeting a variety of warm water species like bonefish, bass, snook,
redfish, and baby tarpon with average flies. One thing to note here is that the
hard outer coating might make the line a bit unmanageable in cool water temps.
This is something I have experienced with other tropical lines in the past—even
ones that weren't super stiff to begin with.
ratings standard for
2008 and have
included a key at
the bottom of the
following matrix as
: 2 =
poor : 3
: 4 =
: 5 =
: 6 =
fair : 7
= good :
: 10 =
Pluses and Minuses:
One of the many
using the WF8F
Presently, there are some very nice lines available at affordable prices, and
the WF8F RIO Mainstream Saltwater is one of them. While paying a premium for a
top-tier line will undoubtedly get you some additional extras, it may not be
necessary for you to shell out that kind of dough. I continue to be very pleased
with the performance of this line for the types of fishing I commonly do, and I
think in many situations you will be as well. If you're a coastal angler on a
budget, you need to check out the RIO Mainstream Saltwater fly line!