Flats fishing and just sight-fishing in general are games of stealth. The water is shallow, typically clear, and the fish don't often come easily. Because of this, everything from flats skiffs to clothing are designed to be subtle so you remain undetected. By the same token, fly lines for tropical flats fishing conditions are often designed with muted, natural colors to help them blend-in to the surrounding water.
This is great from a stealthy perspective, but depending on the water color, available sunlight, and the angler's vision, these fly lines can blend in a bit too well.
If this happens, sight-fishing can be an even greater challenge. When you can't quickly distinguish exactly where the end of the fly line is, it becomes very difficult to gauge the fly's approximate position in relation to the fish. What can occur then is missed opportunities in the form of spooked fish or just simply presentations that aren't optimal. I once experienced this years ago with one particular fly line and it was frustrating beyond words! However, Cortland has a new solution for this problem in the form of their new Hi-Vis Flip Fly Line.
Line Weight: WF7F
Colors: Orange Head/White Running Line
Overall Length: 100 feet
Head Length: 30 feet
30-Foot Weight: 210 grains
Welded Loops: Yes (2)
Designed with input from the legendary Flip Pallot, this tropical fly line is built with an obvious purpose—to be highly visible. Spanning 100-feet long and built on a mono core, it's comprised of a white running line and 30-foot blaze orange head that screams for attention. There's a welded loop on each end for easy attachment of leaders and backing, and the entire length is smooth and slick as it should be.
Since this line is perfect for sight-fishing in hot weather, I took it to somewhat of a less-obvious location to test—Northern California. I had my sights set on a crystal-clear private lake full of three to six pound largemouth, and I knew there would be the possibility of some sight-fishing on the weedy flats. Not only did the fishing exceed expectation, but so did the temps. With air temps around 100 and water temps in the low 80's, it was the perfect scenario to use this new Cortland fly line!
I tossed both medium-sized weighted streamers along with a couple of much lighter baitfish patterns, and the line carried them with ease at any distance. It was easy to handle, casted extremely well, and unlike some tropical lines I've used, there wasn't a ton of memory. I also had a 5-weight setup on the boat that day, however I had screwed up and rigged it with a standard fly line that became a sticky, unusable mess by midday. Picking up the 7-weight rigged with the Hi-Vis Flip was like a breath of fresh air, as it zinged through the guides without hesitation. Speaking of casting ease, the line is built one line size heavier which helped it load in-close and was a fantastic match for my ultra-fast Sage METHOD 7-weight.
To say the least, this line is EXTREMELY visible. There was absolutely no issue with seeing the line's tip at any distance, and it remained plainly visible in shadows or over weed slop. The orange head seriously pops in the water and immediately grabs your eye. Although I didn't fish it after dark, I have to think this would be a great line for fishing at night around bridge/dock lights for species like snook and tarpon.
Despite the bright color, I successfully sight-fished several quality largemouth in shallow and very, very clear water. I noted no fish that seemed to be spooked by the line's color, but then again I luckily didn't foul up any of my presentations either. In my mind, any errors in presentation with this line will likely be amplified because of the high-visibility orange color. Before using the line I personally had some concerns about possibly spooking fish, so to make myself feel more confident I simply lengthened my leaders just a little bit. Was it necessary? Who knows, but I did catch fish! I hoped to also take this line for some local snook fishing here at home, but with my schedule, Hurricane Irma, and just bad weather luck overall this summer, that unfortunately didn't happen.
The new Cortland Hi-Vis Flip is simply an excellent fly line. If you sometimes struggle to track your line's whereabouts on the water, this is a seriously good solution to that problem. If you're a fly fishing guide, the bright head color will also be appreciated since you can easily track the whereabouts of your client's line or even a hooked fish during the fight. All Hi-Vis Flip lines are floating and available in sizes ranging from 6 to 11 weight.
*As of this writing the line has yet to pop up on the Cortland website, but keep an eye out as it's on the way soon!
Link: Cortland Fly Line