How much more expensive can fly line get these days? Back when I began fly fishing, I remember premium lines costing around $60 or $70. Well, that seems like a pretty good deal nowadays, as the most premium lines cost well over $100! The big fly line manufacturers certainly offer some more basic or entry-level choices that are far cheaper than that, but for someone like a kid just trying to piece together their first combo, even those "affordable" prices can strain the wallet.
I'm planning on getting a little 3-weight rod at some point to use on local lakes for smaller fish, but I don't want to spend much. After all, this will be kind of a "novelty" setup for me and one I likely won't use super often. I also don't need any kind of insane performance out of it. With this in mind, I hit up good ole Amazon.com to find a cheap fly line that had favorable reviews.....if that actually existed. After searching "fly line" and setting the display filter to show the lowest prices first, I found MaxCatch fly line as one of the first results. I've heard of the brand before and saw this line had a 4 out of 5 star rating based on a fair number of reviews, so I thought I'd give the WF3F line a whirl.
Line Spec: WF3F
Tested Color: Moss Green
Overall Length: 100 feet
Head Length: 45.5 feet
Grain Weight: 100 grains @ 30 feet
Welded Loops: Yes (2)
The first hiccup I encountered was trying to find the line's overall length. The stickers on the front and back of the line box along with the website description say it's 100-feet long, but the chart on the back of the box says it's 90-feet long. Not that it really matters all that much, but I HAD to find which was true. I measured it out with a tape measure and it indeed was 100-feet long.
The second issue was getting the line spooled. It didn't seem to be coiled perfectly, and I had a bit of a tangle when initially removing the line from the pipe cleaners securing the coil and unraveling the line. It only took about five minutes to get that cleaned up, but still a little pain in the butt.
This line is built with a braided PE core and an "improved" PVC coating on top. MaxCatch says it has a 100-grain rating at 30-feet which puts it right on the money for a 3-weight line per AFFTA standards. Just to make sure, I weighed the head and found their rating to be accurate. As shown below, it has a pretty straightforward line profile with a 45.5 foot head length.
During unboxing/spooling, quality seemed fine, as the entire line was smooth, defect-free, and came equipped with two really clean built-in welded loops. The line's Moss Green shade isn't super interesting to look at, but it's always a safe bet for blending-in while still offering decent visibility to the angler. Another curiosity is that the MaxCatch website shows the line only in Moss Green, but Amazon also offers options for Fluorescent Yellow, Teal Blue, Orange, and Pink depending on line weight size chosen. Confused yet?
I'm actually really happy with how this line has performed thus far. It didn't feel especially slick right out of the box, but it has never had any noticeable issues while casting. In fact, it's been downright pleasant to use and I've caught a lot of fish on it. Tight loops are not a problem, casting is smooth with no flutter or other oddities while in the air, and it floats well throughout the whole length. The long head design of the ECO gives it versatility to effectively cast different fly sizes, including little streamers like I've been throwing.
Longevity/durability is by far my biggest question mark with this line, but there's been no problems so far after several trips out with it. Although this has hardly been a long-term test, keep in mind I have ONLY been bank fishing with it, so the line has been dragged over and through things like sand, brush, tall grasses, and a bit of rock. We'll see how long it holds together like new, but so far so good.
Finally, the line handles quite well. I haven't experienced any abnormal issues with memory and associated tangling. Since it's built on a limp braided core, the line is nice and supple and can present a fly delicately if needed.
At the price I paid (about $15 but the MaxCatch website shows it for $10), I'm absolutely satisfied with my ECO WF3F line. Now, if I wanted a line for more serious or demanding fly fishing I'd likely stick with one of the "big" brands, but for occasional and/or light-duty usage, I don't see a problem with saving some coin here. Heck, if this line's longevity exceeds expectations, then maybe I've found a new budget-friendly go-to line. I'll be anxious to see how the line lasts over the long-term, but for now I give it a thumbs up!
MaxCatch ECO Fly Line