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Fly Fishing Review

Better Casting through Science with S.A. Sharkskin Fly Lines

Date: 3/7/09
Tackle type: Fly Lines
Manufacturer: Scientific Anglers
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.08

Scientific Anglers applies advanced science to their new premium Sharkskin lines in an effort to improve casting distance and line handling. Using a precise texturing process the sophisticated new line is not only designed to cast better but deliver higher flotation and offer easier mending and enhanced durability.

Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Line (Ultimate Trout Taper) Specifications

Type Floating
Core Braided Multifilament
Colors Available Bluer heron, Chartreuse
Weights Available 3,4,5,6,7,8
Loop Yes. Welded streamlined loop
Price as tested $99.00

Impressions: To create their new line the team at Scientific Anglers turned to nature for inspiration. They studied how insects are able to walk on water and how plants like the Lotus are able to shed and clean the surfaces of their leaves, and even how geckos are able to adhere to surfaces with ease. By modifying the surface of their fly line with a micro-repeating structure they sought to achieve surface interface properties that mimic these instances in nature. 

Sharkskin Lines make use a microtextured surface on specially formulated 3M PVC integrated with the company's patented Advanced Shooting technology

Sharkskin technology is a “precise texturing process that embosses the surface of the fly line coating with a repeating geometric micro-pattern.” The result is a line with a surface that is more matte in feel and no longer smooth, the line does not exhibit unwanted line flash, and can be optimized for superior floatation, casting performance, and overall line suppleness and durability. Does it sound too good to be true? It certainly did to us, but we were eager to see just how this “science” would translate to real world performance.

What does TT Girl Ms. Casey have in the bag?

We spooled up an S.A. System 2LA Model 678 reel with 6wt. Sharkskin lines and paired the reel with a Powell Tiboron XL 6Wt. Fly rod. The minute we began spooling the line we could already feel the difference. The line was not slick in feel at all, instead it almost felt like a leathery string, or that there was chalk on top of a normal fly line. It was obvious why Scientific Anglers gave this new line the name “Sharkskin” the micro-pattern really does cause the line to feel like the coarse skin of a shark.

A Scientific Anglers System LTA reel spooled up with Sharkskin Ultimate Trout Taper for our tests

Real World Test: To test the Scientific Anglers Sharkskin lines we head to the Eastern Sierras where we could test the new lines casting and handing abilities on a variety of streams as well as on a few high altitude lakes including Crowley which is famous for its hard fighting rainbows.

There is plenty of technology behind this new line, and the scientists turned to nature for inspiration

Casting and Management: On my first few casts I noticed two things right away, first I did seem to gain a small amount of casting distance and second the line behaved quite differently going through the guides. The texturing on the line reduces line friction in the guides but the micro patterning does create a different noise than I was used to when casting.

Under the microscope you can see the Sharkskin micropattern

In the past line manufacturers successfully increased casting distance by reducing the line diameters on weight forward lines, but while casting distance improved this change also brought on a number of undesirable attributes including reduced durability and increasing line tangles. Scientific Anglers wanted to offer the best of both worlds by simply finding a way to reduce friction without adversely affecting any other important performance metrics, the texturing of the line achieves this by reducing surface contact with the guides during casting.

Spooled up and ready to go in the Eastern Sierras

Next Section: Time to catch some trout









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