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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this thread already exists. If it does can somebody post the link. If not title says it all. I just got a great deal on a sage salt 11wt. I have always used the grand slam taper but thought i might try something different.

thanks
 

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Everyone has their preference but I have an xi3 (salt predecessor) and my go to tarpon line is the Airflo ridge tropical clear tip. Matches very well with those rods. My .02
 

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IMO any input you get is going to be, at best, a very rough starting place. I think that in light line weight rods (3, 4, 5s) and heavy rods (10 up) that line preference varies a ton and especially on big rods. Mid weight rods that most guys fish a lot like 7-9 weights it seems like they are more easily used with more lines and more casting styles. But tarpon rods really depend on the rod/line/caster combination.

On my Sage I tend to like Rio tarpon tapers.
 

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IIRC, I have the Scientific Anglers Mastery series Tarpon taper on my primary 12wt (Hardy ProAxis w/ Tibor Gulfstream) and I have no complaints. I really haven't tried another line but I think I'd be better off working on my skills as a caster (I consider myself an adequate caster) than any edge from other lines might impart.

I will say that I had the AirFlo Sniper on my 10wt Scott Tidal with a Tibor Riptide when I first got it and I did not like that line at all. Even though it was a 10wt line it was way too heavy for that rod.

Also, I put the Wulff Bermuda Shorts Triangle Taper on an 8wt rig a couple years ago and I've really liked it. I need to replace some lines this spring and am seriously considering trying it on my entire quiver of 8-12wt rigs.
 

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I have a Cortland Tarpon Taper (12 wt) for floating line and Rio flats pro with the intermediate sinking head (11wt line ) for my 12 wt Scott STS
 

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Have you thrown any yet? For me, when it comes to tarpon lines, I try not to compromise on fly lines. It's just a much too important element in the whole equation to chance on just an "ok" line.

The "Whys"

What rod were you using the Grand Slam on? Was it an SA GS? The Grand Slam lines are a very aggressive taper and is not the best presentation line. Plus they are heavy, as in their 11wt lines are pretty much the weight of a 12wt line. That's ok if you need the rod to load up that deeply in the blank to feel the rod loading. I've noticed over the years that guys up north (trout guys in particular) prefer to upline their rods to get that more progressive bend in the rod, similar to their trout rod. But if you are use to fishing stripers, bluefish, albies etc in wide open casting in the surf and salt, then you need the rod to be a little more faster and the line to be more true to weight, to get those wind resistant tight loops, with higher line speed to punch out there where the fish are holding. if you overload a rod, then it wouldn't throw as tight of a loop as needed to reach out to further distances. So using a line that is more true to weight will help a rod that is softer in the tip or mid section, throw tighter loops, since the rod will not flex over so much and therefore not cause the loops to open up as much. I hope that made sense.

That being said, with trying to be more stealthy around tarpon, you should be comfortable casting further distances from the boat, so you are not spooking them and shutting them down so bad. So a line that helps with that will be your best all-around tarpon line. They may not do quite as good as short heads for closer shots near the boat, but some lines like the SA Tarpon have a bump in the front part of the many body of the head, to add a bit more weight out of the tip top guide in order to get a short shot off nice and quickly. But even with that, I would work on short quick presentation shots (Not slapping the water in front of you with the line), to help with those moments when you need that fly out 20-30ft in front of you without spooking the fish.

Let's talk about your rod

Close-out Sage Salt (not the newer Salt HD). Beefy, somewhat stiff in the butt section (more of a lifting rod), a basic fast rod (not extra fast, but a little more stiff than fast) in the mid section and a slightly softer tip section. That rod, depending on how you lift the line out of the water and how you load up the line, can lift up some heavy line and it can handle heavier lines. But that being said, the softer tip section allows it to throw short shots better than ultra fast rods. So if you have a line that is 1 wt heavier, even tho the tip section can load up and throw a lighter line and shoot short shots, then throwing a 12wt line on an 11wt that can handle a 12wt line, will be like throwing a 12wt rod with a balanced 12wt line (you may need to read over that again). So then what's the point in going with an 11wt in the 1st place (only to fight the fish on a lighter rod?).

So what's my point here? If you have a rod that has the ability to comfortably throw a line more true to weight, then that is the line I recommend for this rod and your overall experience will be better.

Here's another point of a Grand Slam over a tarpon line (which I rank the Grand Slams almost the same as an SA Titan). Think about this. The size of today's tarpon flies relative to the tarpon line itself is more like a bonefish gotcha on an 8wt line. What am I saying? If they made a bonefish line in a 11wt, that would work find as a tarpon line, contrary to popular beliefs. So a good Tarpon tapered line is almost a bonefish line with a little more help on the front side of the body of the head for short shots, over what a bonefish line provides. And it will have a much better presentation than a Grand Slam, which is very important these days in calm waters (if you get lucky to fish those kind of days).

My Recomendations

There are 2 tarpon lines I would recommend for that rod. An SA Tarpon (in either the Amp series or the Mastery series (to save a few bucks)) and the Cortland Liquid Crystal Tarpon in Sky Blue. The "Guide" has a 1/2 line weight heavier than the Tarpon Taper. I don't prefer it, but a lot of people like how it loads up quicker. But it also makes the swing feel a little heavier. Good for some people (more novice to intermediate casters, throwing on stiffer rods) and not good for others (more intermediate to advanced caster throwing on lighter, fast, not so stiff rods). Anyways I've used both (SA and Cortland) over the years and they are both consistently great lines to throw on rods that have a bit of give, such as your Salt.. I'd also pick up either a floater with a clear intermediate sink tip or a full intermediate line, in either fly line mfgs. Your guide will tell you if it would be best to have a floating line or a line that would allow the fly to get further down to the fish at eyeball level, depending on conditions. So with that, I'd have 2 spools rigged and ready. Btw, Andy Mills personally confirmed with me one day of my preferences on several of my fav poon lines and said his go-to floater was the Liquid Crystal Tarpon.

For me, both Rio and Airflow are out, as far as tarpon lines go. I've tried them both on other peoples rods and I personally just wouldn't use them for poons. Inshore stuff? Fine! But not for big tarpon, IMO.

The Wulff BTT lines (also being a heavy fly line ) does a great job completely unrolling the line, leader and fly completely and will have a much better presentation than the Grand Slam line. But if not careful, they can make wider loops, which can get knocked down from the wind and therefore shorten your distance, if you are trying to reach out there and touch some fish 60-90ft from you. Plus the 11wt regular BTT is heavier than the 12wt rating of a 12wt line, so it may overload the rod and collapse your loops if you are trying to punch it out for distance shots. The BTT Shorts is more truer to weight than the regular BTT and would make a great line for shots at the boat out to about 60ft. But again, may not get the distance shots that you need, if it calls for that.

As several people here mention, what is great for me and what is great for another can be two different things. Your best bet with that rod, since you live up in NY anyways, is to go throw some lines after the snow melts at a local fly shop. Or wait to come on down and make plans to go try out some lines at a local fly shop down here, before you go out on your fishing trip. When trying out the lines, it's best to throw on a pond or water if possible with a tarpon fly with the hook cut at the bend of the hook. As someone once said.... "water tells no lies!" Otherwise, just pick something up, take it down and fish it. Then tweek it as you go and gain more experience with it. Btw, the SA and Wulff lines (mfg by SA) will behave better in colder climates and the Cortland will have a coiling effect in temps colder than 70 degrees. Just sayin...

Good luck! ;)

Ted Haas
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ted,
Thanks so much for taking the time. I use the SA Grand Slam and wulff tt on my other rods. I agree about the Grand slam it is really good for loading up faster rods but can come down with a bit of a crash. I tend to look for rods that are bit faster than rated and then match the grand slam to it. My main rods i use are Echo EPR and Loomis CC GLX which booth can handle the heavier line with ease.

I have tried both the 10wt and 12wt SA GS line on the 11wt salt. The 12wt was too much and the 10wt line loaded well but it was just not a perfect match.

I go back and forth with the wulff lines.. some days i love them and some days i think they are just OK.

That was why i was starting this thread to try something new.

Also back to the GS lines alot of the striper fishing and redfishing i do uses heavier flies with lead eyes. I find the GS lines are great for punching it out there with heavier flies.

And last question
I can find the SA Tarpon Wavelenght in 11wt floating but it is the conch / tan color. I usually try to get lines in blue or green. Is the tanish / orange color a no go for tarpon?

thanks
 

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I have the SA tarpon wavelength line on my 11 wt hardy and it cast really well on that rod. Yeah the line is tan but I don't think it's an issue.
 

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I’d listen to Ted, everything he said makes sense.
JC
 
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Fly Fishing Shaman
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Ted,
Thanks so much for taking the time. I use the SA Grand Slam and wulff tt on my other rods. I agree about the Grand slam it is really good for loading up faster rods but can come down with a bit of a crash. I tend to look for rods that are bit faster than rated and then match the grand slam to it. My main rods i use are Echo EPR and Loomis CC GLX which booth can handle the heavier line with ease.

I have tried both the 10wt and 12wt SA GS line on the 11wt salt. The 12wt was too much and the 10wt line loaded well but it was just not a perfect match.

I go back and forth with the wulff lines.. some days i love them and some days i think they are just OK.

That was why i was starting this thread to try something new.

Also back to the GS lines alot of the striper fishing and redfishing i do uses heavier flies with lead eyes. I find the GS lines are great for punching it out there with heavier flies.

And last question
I can find the SA Tarpon Wavelenght in 11wt floating but it is the conch / tan color. I usually try to get lines in blue or green. Is the tanish / orange color a no go for tarpon?

thanks
In the Everglades, fishing rivers, back country, Indian River system, Mosquito Lagoon, Georgia, South Carolina, all where water is tannin stained, tan works good. I do prefer light sky blues over gin clear waters, like fishing the beaches or ocean side Keys when the water is crystal clear. Main thing to remember with any line is, DON"T LINE THE FISH! In other words, don't false cast over them (overhead) and don't throw past them over their backs, otherwise, they can spook. Work on proper leader and fly placement without showing the fish your fly line, and you'll be good.

Yes lines like a Grand Slam and Titans work well for short short with big clunky heavier flies. But most tarpon flies, relative to the size fly lines throwing in clearer waters will be small. So small in fact that I can throw them nicely with my 9wt. So with that being said, the Tarpon line will be your best bet throwing most tarpon flies. I've also used SA Saltwater tapered lines and they are a bit heavier than the Tarpon. But I prefer the Tarpon in SA and Cortland LC.
 

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I totally agree with the above especially with regards to not false casting over them particularly on bright sunny days. I think there is some misconception with fly line color, not saying that it indisputably doesn't make a difference but even a clear line false cast over fish on bright sunny days spooks them. Its the shadow a flyline projects that actually spooks fish not so much the color and even the clearest lines cast a shadow.
 

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I
Have you thrown any yet? For me, when it comes to tarpon lines, I try not to compromise on fly lines. It's just a much too important element in the whole equation to chance on just an "ok" line.

The "Whys"

What rod were you using the Grand Slam on? Was it an SA GS? The Grand Slam lines are a very aggressive taper and is not the best presentation line. Plus they are heavy, as in their 11wt lines are pretty much the weight of a 12wt line. That's ok if you need the rod to load up that deeply in the blank to feel the rod loading. I've noticed over the years that guys up north (trout guys in particular) prefer to upline their rods to get that more progressive bend in the rod, similar to their trout rod. But if you are use to fishing stripers, bluefish, albies etc in wide open casting in the surf and salt, then you need the rod to be a little more faster and the line to be more true to weight, to get those wind resistant tight loops, with higher line speed to punch out there where the fish are holding. if you overload a rod, then it wouldn't throw as tight of a loop as needed to reach out to further distances. So using a line that is more true to weight will help a rod that is softer in the tip or mid section, throw tighter loops, since the rod will not flex over so much and therefore not cause the loops to open up as much. I hope that made sense.

That being said, with trying to be more stealthy around tarpon, you should be comfortable casting further distances from the boat, so you are not spooking them and shutting them down so bad. So a line that helps with that will be your best all-around tarpon line. They may not do quite as good as short heads for closer shots near the boat, but some lines like the SA Tarpon have a bump in the front part of the many body of the head, to add a bit more weight out of the tip top guide in order to get a short shot off nice and quickly. But even with that, I would work on short quick presentation shots (Not slapping the water in front of you with the line), to help with those moments when you need that fly out 20-30ft in front of you without spooking the fish.

Let's talk about your rod

Close-out Sage Salt (not the newer Salt HD). Beefy, somewhat stiff in the butt section (more of a lifting rod), a basic fast rod (not extra fast, but a little more stiff than fast) in the mid section and a slightly softer tip section. That rod, depending on how you lift the line out of the water and how you load up the line, can lift up some heavy line and it can handle heavier lines. But that being said, the softer tip section allows it to throw short shots better than ultra fast rods. So if you have a line that is 1 wt heavier, even tho the tip section can load up and throw a lighter line and shoot short shots, then throwing a 12wt line on an 11wt that can handle a 12wt line, will be like throwing a 12wt rod with a balanced 12wt line (you may need to read over that again). So then what's the point in going with an 11wt in the 1st place (only to fight the fish on a lighter rod?).

So what's my point here? If you have a rod that has the ability to comfortably throw a line more true to weight, then that is the line I recommend for this rod and your overall experience will be better.

Here's another point of a Grand Slam over a tarpon line (which I rank the Grand Slams almost the same as an SA Titan). Think about this. The size of today's tarpon flies relative to the tarpon line itself is more like a bonefish gotcha on an 8wt line. What am I saying? If they made a bonefish line in a 11wt, that would work find as a tarpon line, contrary to popular beliefs. So a good Tarpon tapered line is almost a bonefish line with a little more help on the front side of the body of the head for short shots, over what a bonefish line provides. And it will have a much better presentation than a Grand Slam, which is very important these days in calm waters (if you get lucky to fish those kind of days).

My Recomendations

There are 2 tarpon lines I would recommend for that rod. An SA Tarpon (in either the Amp series or the Mastery series (to save a few bucks)) and the Cortland Liquid Crystal Tarpon in Sky Blue. The "Guide" has a 1/2 line weight heavier than the Tarpon Taper. I don't prefer it, but a lot of people like how it loads up quicker. But it also makes the swing feel a little heavier. Good for some people (more novice to intermediate casters, throwing on stiffer rods) and not good for others (more intermediate to advanced caster throwing on lighter, fast, not so stiff rods). Anyways I've used both (SA and Cortland) over the years and they are both consistently great lines to throw on rods that have a bit of give, such as your Salt.. I'd also pick up either a floater with a clear intermediate sink tip or a full intermediate line, in either fly line mfgs. Your guide will tell you if it would be best to have a floating line or a line that would allow the fly to get further down to the fish at eyeball level, depending on conditions. So with that, I'd have 2 spools rigged and ready. Btw, Andy Mills personally confirmed with me one day of my preferences on several of my fav poon lines and said his go-to floater was the Liquid Crystal Tarpon.

For me, both Rio and Airflow are out, as far as tarpon lines go. I've tried them both on other peoples rods and I personally just wouldn't use them for poons. Inshore stuff? Fine! But not for big tarpon, IMO.

The Wulff BTT lines (also being a heavy fly line ) does a great job completely unrolling the line, leader and fly completely and will have a much better presentation than the Grand Slam line. But if not careful, they can make wider loops, which can get knocked down from the wind and therefore shorten your distance, if you are trying to reach out there and touch some fish 60-90ft from you. Plus the 11wt regular BTT is heavier than the 12wt rating of a 12wt line, so it may overload the rod and collapse your loops if you are trying to punch it out for distance shots. The BTT Shorts is more truer to weight than the regular BTT and would make a great line for shots at the boat out to about 60ft. But again, may not get the distance shots that you need, if it calls for that.

As several people here mention, what is great for me and what is great for another can be two different things. Your best bet with that rod, since you live up in NY anyways, is to go throw some lines after the snow melts at a local fly shop. Or wait to come on down and make plans to go try out some lines at a local fly shop down here, before you go out on your fishing trip. When trying out the lines, it's best to throw on a pond or water if possible with a tarpon fly with the hook cut at the bend of the hook. As someone once said.... "water tells no lies!" Otherwise, just pick something up, take it down and fish it. Then tweek it as you go and gain more experience with it. Btw, the SA and Wulff lines (mfg by SA) will behave better in colder climates and the Cortland will have a coiling effect in temps colder than 70 degrees. Just sayin...

Good luck! ;)

Ted Haas
I have a Sage Salt 12wt, just now looking for a real and line for it, what would you recommend?

I was thinking Galvan T-12 for the reel, but have no idea about which line.



Thanks
 

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Read all the threads and enjoyed them - even though none of the advice given would score where we fish in the backcountry of the Everglades where the water, when it's clear - is the color of strong tea (or weak coffee) on a good day - and we routinely hook up with big fish that are a lot closer than you'd ever see them in clear water areas... These days every line on my skiff is a Rio - basic floaters for rods that are 9wt or smaller and full intermediates for rods that are 10wt and above. Matter of fact I just received two brand new 12wts from them and as usual they were full intermediate lines. I need a lot of lines since I actually have two reels for every size of rod that I hand my customers -one is for right handers - the other is for lefties and each is fully loaded and ready to roll...

Where we fish the mangroves (and all those barnacles, oysters, etc) are very hard on fly lines. I'm usually needing a new line after about a year's use (sometimes sooner...), so super premium this or that is pretty much off the table for this guy. I do enjoy reading about all the benefits they offer though...

Day before yesterday my angler released a solid 60lb fish in a river that was less than 90 feet across on a 10wt - so the gear does get a workout...
The very next day, while tossing a small popping bug at 20lb rolling fish on an 8wt.... that little bug got nailed - by a large gafftopsail catfish - so where we are you just never can be sure what will be bending your rod... or tearing up your fly lines.
 
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