Anyone who knows me knows that I’m passionate about stillwater angling, especially from my float tube. The vast majority of that fishing, at least before gulper season gets going, is done with an intermediate fly line. For the most part, I fish with the non-transparent lines because I think their tangling properties are more of a pain than their transparency is a benefit. This year in the shop we’ve started carrying Rio’s Hover lines and I’ve been trying one out on my five weight.
Rio describes the Hover line as “An ultra slow sinking line with a sink rate of 1” per second-nearly half that of a regular intermediate-fantastic for fishing sub-surface on windy days or over the top of shallow weed beds”. It’s a moss olive color which seems very appropriate for a lake line. The line comes with a welded loop, as do most of Rio’s lines at this point.
My first outing with the hover line was a bit of a disappointment. The problem with all intermediate lines is that you want them to sink but there near neutral density makes it difficult for them to break through the water tension and do what they’re supposed to do, which for me is hold under any wave action and not disturb the surface when stripped on calm water. The hover line seemed especially bad about this, which makes sense since it has even a slower sink rate. The other issue I had with the line was that it seemed to tangle worse than some of my old intermediate line, although not nearly as bad as most clear lines. I caught some fish on the line, and it wasn’t terrible, but I also wasn’t supper impressed.
I realized that I had broken one of my rules about new fly lines. They really all need to be cleaned, even out of the box, before you really know how they’re going to perform. I don’t know why this is, but every intermediate I’ve used, the clear ones included, wouldn’t sink reliably until cleaned. After taking the line home and giving it a good cleaning with some mild dish soap and a paper towel I gave it another chance.
The line did seem to perform better the second time out. It still takes a while for it to get under, but at least it didn’t sit there floating on the surface. The tangling problems also seem to be reduced. This may just be a factor of break in, or me getting more used to the line, or just me having a bad day the first time out with the line. I did really like the slow sink rate of the line once it got below the surface. It made it very easy to keep the fly in the desired strike zone. Also, the line seemed to shoot and turn over very nicely. The welded loop seemed to provide a smooth transfer of energy and go through the guide nicely. I’ll probably still cut it off and tie a nail knot as a matter of principle.
In general, I think this will be a very good lake line. It will probably be the line I fish most on still waters, especially for things like damsel fly fishing and early morning bugger/leech fishing. Sinking lines tend to last longer than floaters, maybe because they’re kind of self cleaning, and hopefully the hover line won’t be an exception to this. We’ll need a few years to get back to you on that. For now, the hover line is my favorite stillwater line we currently carry at Fins & Feathers. I’m hearing good things about the Rio Aqualux clear lines from some of my co-workers and will be giving them a try soon, as well. Stay tuned for a report from Fins & Feathers.