Have you ever fished a textured fly line? While the vast majority of fly lines have smooth surfaces, some lines are built with different types of surface designs that are said to reduce friction and improve line flow. I've typically just stuck with conventional smooth lines for the most part, but my 2018 test of Orvis' Hydros HD textured trout line gave me some food for thought. That proved to be an excellent line, and with the brand-new PRO Textured and Smooth lines taking over as the most premium offerings in the Orvis fly line category, I decided to purchase a WF4F textured version for my own personal use.
Line Spec: WF4F
Tested Color: Willow/Olive/Peach
Overall Length: 90 feet
Head Length: 50 feet
Grain Weight: 120 grains @ 30 feet
Core: Hollow Braided Multifilament
Welded Loops: Yes (2)
The first thing that jumped out at me when I received my line wasn't the line itself, but rather the packaging! Yes, the design of the box is pretty creative and even has a magnetic flap closure, but I really appreciated all of the information that was displayed. You'll find detailed info on the features, line color, taper breakdown, temperature range, grain weight, etc, etc etc. Some line boxes leave out useful tidbits, but here there's no mysteries.
Picture Credit: Orvis
PRO Trout Textured lines are built on hollow braided cores for easy handling and span 90-feet in total length. As you can see in the picture above, the 50-foot head is designed with a "gentle" front taper and the entire line is broken down into three different colors to help gauge distance while fishing. Each line sports a front and rear loop along with the line identification permanently printed on the line's surface—a super handy feature.
Undoubtedly there has been a ton of thought put into these lines, but the two most noteworthy features in my mind are the AST Plus slickness additive along with the textured surface.
AST Plus might sound familiar, and that's because Scientific Anglers uses it in their new Amplitude lines. To put it mildly, I've become a huge fan of AST Plus. In the words of Orvis: "The proven slickness additive AST Plus is incorporated completely into the line jacket, continuously migrates out for effectiveness over the life of the line, and is 70% slicker and eight times as durable as any other slickness additive available." In simple terms, these lines continuously self-lubricate and therefore stay quite slick.
Regarding the textured surface, Orvis also says: "PRO Trout Textured Fly Lines offer increased surface area, allowing the line to sit higher in the water, offering less drag, easier mending, less water spray and easier pick-ups. The micro-textured surface traps air to provide increases in both shootability and floatation while decreasing friction." Interestingly, the line's tip has a more-aggressive "HD tip texture" to maximize flotation, while the remaining line has a less-aggressive "3D texture" for better handling and shooting.
The WF4F PRO Textured Trout line proved to work very well for chasing.......bass. There's no trout here in South Florida, but this line carried small streamers to largemouth and peacocks without an issue. With a 30-foot weight of 120-grains, it's right on where a 4-weight line should be according to AFFTA weight standards.
As Orvis advertises, these obviously aren't streamer-specific lines, but rather made to be all-around performers. I mentioned how my test line handled small streamers just fine, but it wasn't done with the authority of a more aggressively-tapered and weighted line. I still could detect some delicacy there, as casting is very easygoing and the line lays down smoothly. I definitely got the impression this could be a great singular choice for dries, nymphs, and streamers.
The line is nice and limp so handling hasn't been an issue. While the textured surface feels very subtle to me while handling the line, it's quite a bit louder than a smooth line when sliding through the rod guides. I don't find it annoying at all, but I'm sure some folks may not care for that aspect.
For bank anglers like myself that drag line along the shore as they fish, this textured surface does seem to attract dirt a bit more than a smooth line. This is something I've experienced with other textured lines I've fished in the past, but oddly I never seem to detect any blatant performance loss.....just dirtier fingers. This line indeed casts very well and does feel like it flows through the rod guides with a bit more ease than a standard line.
Do I regret my purchase? As you can probably surmise from reading this review, the answer is absolutely NO. This is an excellent line and is simply great to fish with, even when not chasing trout and fishing in conditions that have been warmer than most users will likely experience. Yeah at $129.00 the price is steep for sure, but that's really the only major downside I can think of so far. Orvis is really delivering a premium product here that's loaded with features. PRO Trout Textured floating lines are available in 3–6 weight sizes.
You can find Orvis PRO Textured Trout Fly Lines at