Feb 9, 2015

RIO Outbound Fly Lines

We recently posted a very informative piece on Skagit lines from our ever faithful rep George Cook, titled “Skagit/ology 3.0 – The Trilogy Comes to Light” where he went deep into the end zone and scored big time points with some confused customers who were trying to make sense of it all. Well, we thought we would have him do it again, but this time we are focusing on RIO’s Outbound Family of Fly Lines

RIO Outbound Series of Fly Lines

Contribution by Northwest RIO Representative George Cook


New Year’s Greetings…

As a longtime RIO Sales Rep dating back to 1993 there’s little doubt that the subject of Spey and Switch lines indeed dominate the landscape of questions, be it from dealers, consumer’s, guide’s and outdoor writer’s, the 2nd highest level of Fly Line questions surrounds the vaunted RIO Outbound family of lines. In this, there are a number of lines and with that number comes confusion and often times a straight up “Selection Conundrum”. The crew at GFS and I have spent many an early morning plowing thru the various families of the Outbound Clan and without further ado please find the below read as the CONUNDRUM SOLVED end all, be all explanation on Who-What, Why & Where as to the proper selection and use of these outstanding, innovative fly lines.

Throw Back!
The original Outbound line (now known-listed as the Coldwater Series Outbound) brought about by the innovative mind of RIO’s founder Jim Vincent was largely formulated for the East Coast Striper/Bluefish crowd where just a little more distance was ALWAYS being sought to reach yet another far off bait ball with busting critters just waiting for their next mouthful. This 37.5’ Integrated (=Fully Built)Shooting head was truly a gift to the angler in that it sprang forth three super important aspects that had previously really only been available thru “The Chop Shop Custom Shop” in other words someone in the local “Secret Society” who likely wasn’t sharing! The 1st aspect was that of the Ultra Custom Shooting Head that was largely found in California among-st the foremost inner sanctum crowd plying the fabled California coast for Steelhead, Chinook as well as Stripers. These west coast legends the likes of Bill Shadt, Bob Nauheim, Walt Bennett, Les Eichorn and others (Buy or Rent “Rivers Of The Lost Coast” narrated by Tom Skerritt and see these cats in action!) had brought forth the next generation of super shooting heads by taking existing Weight Forward (WF) Floating or Intermediate lines applying a “One Bump Up” theorem and then custom cutting them around the 38’ mark. So for a 9’ eight weight rod these boys would get their mitts on a full WF-9-F Fly Line, come back into it 38’, cut it, then play some level of splice or possibly loop system with a given shooting line (Amnesia being a good one). The outcome of this custom chop shop masterpiece was nothing short of next level performance in that one of these babies would simply FLY, Fly Away in the hands of the ardent double haul practitioner. The theory was ultra sound here in that by extending the classic shooting head from the standard 30’ out to 38’ one could reasonably expect a number of factors to come together that would produce greater max distance potential, boy did it folks! I got to play with one of these secret society lines in January of 1988 at the ISE Sacramento Sportsmen’s show when longtime Sage Pro Staffer Walt Bennett strung one up and put it on the then brand new SAGE 890 RPL Rod. I watched Ol’ Walt belt out some mighty rip roaring cast anxiously waiting my turn to cast this west coast magic line for myself. To be sure, I’d never seen anything like it, it was truly bad ass and I could instantly see the max distance potential that such an extended length taper (Shooting Head) would provide the caster, particularly with the recent advent of the Graphite 3 class rods like the RPL of the late 1980’s. It was plain to see that at 38’ the aerial stabilization factor was greatly pronounced in such a way to gain unprecedented distance.

Fast forward to Y2K when Jim Vincent cranked out the ultra-innovative OG (Original Gangster) Outbound Fly Line. 

Jim rolled with the longer Shooting Head length at 37.5 but improved upon a couple needed aspects A) “Double Bump” weight distribution ( hence an 8 weight line kissing a 10 weight range) and B) the integration, smooth transition of head to running-shooting line as a full built, complete fly line. The double bump idea was brilliant in that the Graphite rods of today were then and are now formula one race cars compared to the Classic Fenwick Glass Rods of the 60’s and 70’s that transcended to the first low modulus graphite weapons in the 1970’s. Graphite II brought about by SAGE would not hit till the 1984 period. These were all recurve bows compared to today’s laser like tools and the “One Bump Up” idea that was so valid then had given way to Jim’s modern day, modern graphite double bump. The integrated line format was simply lovely in that it insured clean, long cast in repeatable fashion, again Jim was hitting on all cylinders!

Today, we have the luxury of many available OUTBOUND format lines, no doubt a fantastic offering but can be somewhat confusing at first glance. Here you’ll find the lowdown on just which lines right for you, your fishing, your expectations and ultimately your success.

Coldwater Series Outbound
Coldwater Series RIO Outbound: Again the OG of the group. 37.5’ Max Distance Taper. This folks is your go to line for the following task… Puget Sound Beach Bombing with flies in the ½” to 3” inch range. Throw spinning rod like distances (70’-110’) from beach or boat in pursuit of Sea Run Cutthroat, resident and migratory Silvers, Chums and Pink salmon. While often overlooked this line is a sleeper Lake Line in that the same size flies and distance expectations that are common in the beach game transcend to Western Lake fishing as well and believe me the “Bank Rats” have their day in court armed with such lines in both Intermediate and floating versions. The KEY identifier here is that this is the 37.5’ taper NOT A SHORT Version. Do note that the likely only true drawback of this line is that once the fly size gets north of 3” in length folks can and will have trouble getting this longer line up, loaded and launched.

Outbound Short 

Specialty Series RIO Outbound SHORT: Short here does indeed imply SHORTER as in a 30’ taper VS the OG 37.5’ taper found in the Coldwater series. This is a freshwater/Coldwater line as well but at a shorter 30’ length still featuring the double bump weight format. This line is ideal for a number of angling scenario’s like Western Boat Streamer Bank Banging where repetitive cast to the banks edge with nasty streamers often produce the best Trout of the day, maybe the season! Think Yellowstone, Yakima, Madison and Missouri type environments where short range 25’-45’, rapid succession cast and strip techniques are the rule of the day. Quick loading with power to turnover and deliver the big nasty’s straight to Bow Bow and Brown Town’s favorite haunts. The 30’ SHORT taper is simply ideal for this classic western streamer fishing format.

Outbound Short Coldwater

Coldwater Series RIO Outbound SHORT: Essentially the SAME Animal as the Specialty Series Outbound Short (Above). The difference being simply put is how the line is marketed by RIO and presented by dealers. Confused…don’t be, just know this is another 30’ Double Bumped Outbound Short Line that is largely promoted as a Coldwater Fresh or Coldwater Salt use line. On one hand this baby will play that Western Streamer ballgame as discussed above in the Specialty Series Outbound Short. It is also a Larger Fly (3”+, think 4” to 8”) “GO TO” line for both East and West Coast striper chasers. It will also be prescribed for the Rank Beginner who ventures onto the same Puget Sound beaches where the veteran angler is busy launching mega cast with the 37.5 Outbound line. This prescription is set to have that new beach angler in a position to make good, acceptable fishing cast as he literally gets his feet wet in the salty brine of the Pacific Northwest. I will tell that same newbie that he will ultimately WANT the 37.5 Coldwater version as he develops his game to the next level as it will outcast the 30’ Short by leaps and bounds, no getting away from that aspect. The larger fly Striper seekers will find that this is a great choice to get up, load and launch those larger baitfish patterns particularly when crashing critters offer flash opportunities.
Outbound Short Tropical

RIO Tropical Outbound SHORT: Warm-tropical water use Outbound SHORT line that once again utilizes a double bumped weight formula that is a fantastic line for the Tropical salt water angler be it beach or boat. Examples abound here….Baja Roosters, Christmas Island/Seychelles’ Trevally. Anytime big flies and quick cast meet on the curve this is the clear cut winner.
Here’s what our very own Gorge Fly Shop owner and avid tropical fisherman, Travis Duddles had to say about Rio’s Tropical Outbound Short… “I have found the Tropical Outbound Short to be my favorite line for stalking Tarpon and Snook along the mangroves. This situation requires quick 40 to 60 foot cast. The Tropical Outbound loads the rod with one quick back cast allowing for a very quick powerful cast to the mangroves. Although this would not be my choice for a distance line, this is the only line I would use in the mangrove lagoons of Mexico, Belize and Florida.

RIO Outbound Short Shooting Head: The classical 30’ freshwater shooting head now available in the vaunted double bump Outbound SHORT format as a head only. For those anglers seeking an old school shooting head experience the advent of the killer Outbound SHORT taper brings load and line speed to the forefront of today’s available shooting heads.

Whatever your angling pursuits are there is a RIO Outbound line at the ready to maximize control, distance and ultimately SUCCESS for that all important time on the water.

George Cook - January 2015

Honestly there isn’t any need for me to say anything else that Georgie hasn’t already said. Thank you Georgie for the intel! We hope that this helps make some sense of the Rio Outbound Family of Lines. Rest assured that there is an outbound line that will fill your need. We hope you enjoyed the read and look forward to seeing you out on the water… if you have any questions feel free to give us a call @ 541.386.6977 or visit us on the web at: gorgeflyshop.com

Remember, if you can’t find it at the Gorge Fly Shop, you don’t need it!

Gorge Fly Shop
John Garrett | Product Specialist


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