These days, fly lines come in so many different configurations that it's simply mind blowing. From species-specific to more general-purpose offerings, there's truly something for every need. What some anglers may not be aware of is that certain fly lines are built with a textured surface. While my experience with these lines had been relatively limited, I've played with a few of them in the past. Honestly, I wasn't really blown away by the examples I tried, but I'm always open to trying others. That's where the WF5F Orvis Hydros HD Trout fly line comes in!
Line Weight: WF5F
Color: Willow head/Orange running line
Overall Length: 90 feet
Head Length: 47.5 feet
30-Foot Weight: 140 grains
Welded Loops: Yes (1)
Orvis designed these Hydros HD Trout lines with what they call a "microreplicated HD texturing pattern" which looks like tiny dimples/diamonds on the line's surface. While the surface of a typical smooth fly line will have maximum contact with the rod guides during a cast, a textured line like this one will have less contact with the guides thanks to the uneven surface. Beyond less friction while casting, other benefits are said to include less drag along with easier pickups and mending.
As seen in the diagram above, the line is pretty standard in its taper design. It also weighs 140-grains in the first 30 feet—spot on to WF5F AFFTA weight standards. Aside from the physical build of the line, other features include one welded loop for easy leader attachment, a "Hy-Float" tip, and line ID printed on the line itself. Speaking of just that, a line ID should be on EVERY fly line made. It's such a simple thing and can alleviate lots of confusion when you own and swap out lots of lines like I do!
At $98 bucks I was expecting a flawless fly line and I got it. The line was free of defects and didn't develop any issues during the testing period.
Here in South Florida, I used the Hydros HD Trout fly line for everything but trout. It saw action on largemouth and peacock bass, as well as some mayan cichlids.
Orvis gave me a nice long time with this line, as I was able to fish it for over a month's time. I don't get to fish nearly as often as I'd like these days, but the line definitely saw some abuse from dragging over shoreline rocks, foliage, and other rubbish. At the conclusion of my testing, I didn't notice any splitting or cracking along the line's surface, nor did I have to lube the line at all even though it was exposed to a ton of mud, dirt, and other abrasive surfaces. In fact, it’s actually recommended the line NOT be lubed. This is due to the "IS" (Integrated Slickness) feature which means the line’s factory lubrication is built into the outer PVC layer rather than just coating it.
Casting performance is probably what you really came here to read, and I'd rate that as excellent. Due to its less-aggressive design and weighting, it made a great match on the moderate-fast and fast rods I tried it on. The two 5-weights that really stuck out to me were the Helios 3D and the R.L. Winston AIR―the line matched beautifully on those since they are not overly stiff or beefy. It's a solid all-around line but it wouldn't be my first choice for tougher conditions like tossing a streamer in a breeze or something like that.
So yeah, the performance was solid, but does that texturing really help?
It's simply tough to say for sure without casting it side-by-side with a standard (smooth) Hydros WF line, but I feel that it did shoot a little more cleanly than I'm used to. The textured surface does make an audible zzziiiing sound both while casting and stripping which some might be annoyed by, but I wasn't....I actually thought it sounded kinda cool! You'll also obviously feel the texture when handling the line, but it's nothing harsh or bothersome whatsoever.
The one downside I experienced with the texturing is that it seems to hold a lot more dirt and grime compared to a smooth line. Now, this is nothing out of the ordinary because the other textured lines I've tried did the exact same thing. While it makes fingers dirty, oddly I didn't feel like the added filth held the line back much or even at all.
I saw no handling issues like excessive memory or tangling while fishing the Hydros HD Trout. I even used it on some pretty warm days without any stickiness problems. How does it do in cold weather? Can't say—the coldest weather we had during testing I believe was in the 60's. In a nutshell, this was just a really nice line to use. Period!
I think you'll really like the Orvis Hydros HD Trout fly line for any general trout or similar freshwater duties. I'd have to say this is my favorite textured line thus far and one I'd gladly own myself.
These lines are available in weights 3–6 and also come in several other varieties for both fresh and saltwater.
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