Oct 4, 2013

Rio GripShooter Review

Rio GripShooter Fly Line

Product tested: 

  • Rio GripShooter 44lb/20kg.
  • Handling Section – 17ft/-.043
  • Overall Length – 100ft / 30.5m
  • Color – Red
  • MSRP - $29.95

According to: 

Rio, in their words: Rio’s new GripShooter is based on the very popular SlickShooter, but has a thick, coated handling section that makes it very easy to grip in cold conditions. The thin nylon shooting line gives caster’s the maximum distance and is light enough to hold off the water at range and allow anglers great control of their head and fly far out in the swing. A neat 8” welded loop at the front end allows for fast and efficient head changes. GripShooter is a hard nylon shooting line with a unique handling section – the best choice for distance. GripShooter has a thick, highly visible handling section for grip, durability and visibility.

Features -

  • Thick, highly visible handling section for grip, durability and visibility
  • Front 8" Welded Loop

Specs -

SKULine SizeHandling SectionTotal LengthColor
6-1904025lb / 11.3kg15ft/.037"100ft / 30.5mBlue/Orange
6-1904135lb / 15.9kg16ft/.040"100ft / 30.5mOrange/Orange
6-1904244lb / 20kg17ft/.043"100ft / 30.5mRed/Orange
6-1904350lb / 22.7kg18ft/.045"100ft / 30.5mYellow/Orange

Intro Disclaimer:

Let me start by saying this, there is no perfect running/shooting line. They all have something that someone doesn’t like about them. This one is too limp, this one is too stiff, this one has a lot of memory, and this one slips through my fingers too easily, this one doesn’t come with a loop, on and on. Working at the Gorge Fly Shop and talking to countless customers that have fell victim to the Spey and switch craze, there are just about as many opinions when it comes to running/shooting lines as there are options for shooting heads. Today’s world of switch and Spey rods and Skagit style casting has opened the door for so many options and versatility. These options and versatility have also created mass confusion. With this being said, for this post, I would like to review the Rio’s New GripShooter Shooting line.

I can honestly say that after testing all of the shooting lines that we carry in the shop, I had settled on the Rio SlickShooter in the 44# and 50# sizes as my favorites, even in cold winter weather. I learned to live with the drawback of the SlickShooter occasionally slipping through my finger when sweeping around to create my “D” loop and casting, especially in colder weather and with wet hands. To me, the benefits of the SlickShooter seemed to drown out the disadvantage of an occasional slip. I loved the distance I got with the SlickShooter and it was easy to lift off the surface when I needed to mend. If you’re a die-hard SlickShooter fan you can also place a strip of non-adhesive tape, like used on golf clubs, where your pinching finger meets the cork of your rod. This will help eliminate slippage as well.

Let me stress something one more time. It doesn’t matter what shooting line you choose, there will be something that you won’t like about it. I tell customers all the time to find one that they like for its advantages and can live with its disadvantages. In other words the advantages of the SlickShooter, I loved, the disadvantages of SlickShooter, I can live with. Then here comes Rio’s New GripShooter! My interest spiked as soon as Georgie revealed this product to us at the shop. Already being a SlickShooter fan, I was on point! I thought…gone are the disadvantages that I live with for the SlickShooter. Disadvantage number one, is the line slipping through my fingers as stated before. I thought this is the best of both worlds. I now will have a shooting line that launches like a cannon but doesn’t slip through my fingers anymore. Sweet! So, I got my hands on a spool of the 44# GripShooter and as soon as I got home, without hesitation, I immediately put the new GripShooter on my reel, set my alarm for predawn… and I was off running to check out the latest and greatest in shooting lines. Georgie had set me up to be excited when he gave us the presentation. Georgie, as he slowly pulled the GripShooter from his bag of goodies said, and I quote “When the phone rings…answer sooner!” I love that, if you know Georgie, you know what I’m talking about. So, seeing Georgie this excited about it made me that much more excited about it.

On the River:

John Garrett
So, I’m stripping out line and making short cast and swinging the short water in front of me, and I finally get the shooting head out of the tip and I am now holding the GripShooter in my fingers. Immediately I notice that it is thicker to my touch than the classic SlickShooter is. I set my anchor, perform my sweep to set the “D” loop up and let it rip. No slippage. Ok, this is cool. I even held the line loosely to see it if would slip from my grip and it didn’t. Sweet! I strip out another 3 feet and repeat. Same results, no slippage. Strip another 3 feet and again the same results. This goes on until I have 14 strips of line out. Not once has it slipped from my grip. Bear in mind that I am used to fishing with SlickShooter and it rarely slips from my grip anymore. But, I was intentionally holding it loosely to see if it would slip, and it didn’t. This is a great thing. I’m now enjoying the best of both worlds. The grip of the PVC coated GripShooter running line that doesn’t slip from your grip and the major benefit of the hard nylon SlickShooter for distance. I like…I like a lot! Why, someone hadn’t thought of it until now, don’t ask me, I’m just benefitting from it.

Rio GripShooter 50lb
As much as I love the new GripShooter and the idea of it, there is still one thing that I would customize about it. And this is a personal preference of mine since using it now for a couple of weeks. It’s nothing major other than if I was using the GripShooter on a switch rod, I would cut some of the Grip section down to match the switch rod. In other words, if I were using a Sage TCX 7119-4, which is 11’9” long, I really don’t need to have 17’ of the GripShooter. This gives me an extra 5 plus feet of the Grip section, which feels like it slows the line down just a hair until it hits the SlickShooter section where it then launches. I understand the idea of making it the lengths they did, to accommodate the Spey rods, and it may not be a big deal to some of you who try it out.

If you use the same reel for multiple rods and switch back and forth from a switch to a Spey rod, then you might want to leave it as is, to fit the longer Spey rods you have. Again, we are back with living with something you don’t like because of the advantages you do like. See, we still can’t get away from that. If you don’t switch reels back and forth, then by all means spool up your switch reel and customize it (or not), then spool up you Spey reel with its own sweet GripShooter. On my switch rod, I would cut the Grip section down to about 12 feet and strip off about 8”-10” of the PVC coating then build myself a new loop with a whip finisher. This would give me 5 feet less of the GripShooter and get me into the SlickShooter that much faster.

GripShooter Example: 25lb - Overall Length: 100'

All in all overview: 

When it comes to considering whether or not to try the new Rio GripShooter… call sooner! I promise to answer the phone sooner when you do. It is definitely worth a shot. If you have hesitated in the past, because of the negatives you’ve heard about SlickShooter, don’t hesitate now. It is a great addition to the shooting line roster and it has found a permanent place on my reels.


By John Garrett
Rio Spey Fly Lines
"Fly Fish the World with Us"


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