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Rio Fly Line


By Peter Morse


An integrated shooting head system is a fly line that has the head and the running line as a single line — it’s a weight forward type line but with a thinner running line for greater distance casting. The Rio Outbound series of fly lines are just that, a very well balanced head and integrated running line system. They come in several versions, primarily as cooler water lines and as tropical rated lines. In the cooler water lines they’re available as floaters, clear intermediates and sinking lines of several different densities. In the Tropical version they come as floaters and intermediates.

The big advantages of using heads are speed and distance, and these lines deliver those advantages brilliantly. The heads are 38 feet long, and the running lines are thin and slick. For those who like to chase pelagics in the south there is no better line for the long casts in usually windy conditions than the type 8 fast sinking Outbound — it is an absolute ripper. For calmer days use the intermediate head — you’ll be astonished at the distances you can achieve once you master these lines.

The Tropical version is a new release, and the Intermediate will become one the great lines of the tropical fly fishing world. I have used it extensively over the past six months on all sorts of things from permit to barra to Spaniards, and would happily describe it as one of the new generation of fly lines that has finally closed the gap between fly rod development and fly line development, bringing the potential of the two closer together.

The fifteen foot clear tip makes it ideal for spooky flats situations but the line also sinks fast enough to be very useful in tidal flows where a little more depth is required. The shooting head configuration means instantaneous presentations with minimal false casts, and with a good stretch the stiff running line remains very tangle free.

The floating version is a GREAT all round floating line for those who like to fish poppers and surface flies, as well as the flats, but particularly where long casts are the norm. The head length loads a rod quickly — for a long cast you want the full head and six feet of running line out of the rod before you shoot. For tight accurate casting use just the head and enough running line, it presents beautifully as a standard weight forward line.

For those who want a sinking line in the tropics the Rio Deep Sea is impossible to beat.


Anyone who has fly fished the billabongs of the north will be well aware of the problems the heat brings to an unsuitable fly line. This is why tropical rated fly lines were developed. Perhaps the most popular form of freshwater fly fishing through most of the year in the tropical billabongs is using surface flies, especially for saratoga and barramundi.

Surface flies by their design are usually very wind resistant and more difficult to cast accurately than more streamlined flies — they require a different fly line taper to achieve this turnover. For many years fly fishermen have used bass bug tapered lines and these were effective for turning over bulky patterns, but were not usually capable of handling the heat.

Rio’s Clouser line in the new tropical light blue version is just about the perfect line for billabong fishing. The head has been designed to turn over ‘chunky’ flies, and its ability to deal with the tropics is unsurpassed by any other line I’ve ever used. It’s also a great line for many other tropical applications, from Christmas Island bonefish to any shallow water sight fishing.


Fly lines naturally pick up dirt, especially in the heat of the tropics, where almost instant evaporation leads to a slight build up of particles on the fly line. A dirty fly line is one of the single largest contributors to poor casting technique, especially amongst those whose technique is not too bad, and those whose casting might be considered average and above. A line that won’t slide through the guides leads to excessive effort which leads to shock waves in the line, open loops and sometimes a boat rocking back and forth.

A slick line is cast with minimal effort, and fly casters must keep their lines well maintained. Rio’s Agent X is a brilliant line cleaner. For best results use it with a Sabco glass cleaning cloth and if you can, leave the cleaner on the line overnight to condition it, and wipe it off in the morning. During the course of the day it also pays to give the line a wipe over with Agent X from time to time — especially when you feel the line begin to stick in the guides as the day heats up.


This is great stuff for all of those who like to use a tougher, more abrasion resistant tippet material. It’s thicker and harder, and therefore better capable of withstanding the abrasive mouths, gill plates and tails of many fish. Its also available in heavier breaking strains for shock tippets. It is suitable for many species without the use of a shock tippet — that’s always a good thing if you can get away with it, but for those species that do have abrasive mouths you will require a shock tippet. Most sizes are available in two spool sizes, 30 and 110 yards.


This is a 100% silicon fly dressing that was developed by the late and great Andre Puyans. It remains extremely viscous even in intense heat, and is the very best floatant available for deerhair flies such as Dahlbergs. Put a little on your fingers and smear it onto the fly BEFORE you wet it, for hours of crisp snappy Dahlberg work. Its also excellent as a knot lubricant.

For more information on Rio lines for Australian conditions go to


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