In saltwater fly fishing, long-distance presentations are often not the norm. Being able to double-haul a streamer a country mile is undoubtedly a great and very useful skill to have, but possessing a solid short game is equally as important. Especially true when flats fishing, being both accurate and quick at short range can pay huge dividends when chasing species like bonefish, tarpon, and redfish. Speaking of the latter, I can remember catching a redfish in Louisiana one time with just the LEADER and no fly line outside of the guides....how's that for a short presentation!?
For those close shots at bonefish and other warm-water species, RIO offers the Bonefish Quickshooter lines. Designed with heavy, shortened heads and offered in two color combinations, these lines are made to load in a hurry and deliver your fly when time is of the essence. Earlier this summer, I used the WF6F line for local beach snook and pond largemouth fishing to see how it would perform. Remember, just because it says "Bonefish" on the box doesn't mean it can't be used for much more!
Tested Line Weight: WF6F
Colors: Aqua Blue/Sand (tested)
Orange/Sand (available only on lines 7–9)
Overall Length: 100-feet
Head Length: 35-feet 6-inches
Head Weight: 210-grains
Core: Medium-Stiff Powercore
Welded Loops: Yes (2)
My test line featured the stealthy aqua blue head and sand-colored running line. Like mine, all lines in this series sport a welded loop on each end along with AgentX and Extreme Slickness technologies for added casting ease. Since these are "tropical" lines, they are medium-stiff and made to withstand harsh heat and humidity. My WF6F line exhibited a very smooth and defect-free finish along its entire length.
Thanks to the short head length and a hefty 210-grain weight, this line does indeed load quickly. I've been chasing beach snook in Southwest Florida for about 20 years now, and even though the numbers and size has dwindled noticeably for me in the last few years, the one thing that remains constant is that the fish are in very, very shallow water and my shots typically need to be very short.
Compared to RIO's standard Bonefish lines which feature 46-foot 6-inch head lengths, the Quickshooter comes in much shorter at just 35-feet 6-inches. This means that more of the head's stout weight can be utilized with less line out, and not as long of a cast is needed to get the entire head length outside of the guides. This makes it easier to take a fast, short cast. Sure, the line casts great in close, but don't discount it at long distance—it’ll shoot far if needed.
On the water the line floated well and handled as expected. No line I've yet tried is immune to a tangle here and there (this one certainly wasn't), but I never experienced any abnormal problems. The line's smoothness made it a pleasure to both cast and hold, and the head's visibility is definitely on the subtle side as far as color goes. In the beach water I was fishing, I had to focus just a bit harder to see the end of my line since the blue color wasn't exactly jumping out at me. While it required a tad more focus on my part, it was a small price to pay for added stealth.
Bonefish Quickshooter lines come in sizes 5-9 in two color schemes (see above specs). I've tried other tropical lines in cool climates and found that they get stiff and generally become NO fun to use, so I'd save this one strictly for warm weather work. If you already own an all-purpose tropical line I wouldn't say the Quickshooter is an absolutely essential add-on to your arsenal, but it is a specialized and very handy line that could help you capitalize on a few extra shots when speed reigns supreme over delicate presentations!
Searching for a RIO Bonefish Quickshooter Fly Line?
Try Trouts Fly Fishing