Oct 15, 2015

Scientific Anglers Ultimate Scandi Taper by Andrew Perrault

UST - Ultimate Scandi Taper
I love fishing Scandi Lines for steelhead whenever the conditions permit, but I also love the nice slow swing of an intermediate line. I saw these new S/A Scandi Lines last year and just had to try them out. They come in a variety of different combinations for different conditions. I chose a triple density line. Officially, it is the UST Floating/Hover/Intermediate 460 grain head. The back half is a standard floating head, with the front half split into two sections; a “hover” section with an intermediate tip. This combination gives me a nice angle in the water and presents the fly somewhere around a foot deep, maybe two or three feet if I am using a weighted fly. This is often where I want my fly to be, so I gave it a try.
Gorge Fly Shop - 541.386.6977
I got this line back in May and immediately took it down to the ______ River to just throw around and see how she casts.  I only had one little bass streamer with me, and no extra tippet, just a five foot section of 10# maxima that I pulled off a sink tip that was in my truck.  Now May is not the best time of year for steelhead.  The winter fish are upstream spawning and the summer fish are generally not in the rivers in any numbers yet. 

I made a few different casts, testing how the line throws.  I was just standing in one spot, casting, and stripping the line in and casting again.  Trying different size D-Loops, hang-down and line speeds. About fifteen casts into my morning, I was stripping the fly back immediately after it hit the water and bam! Fish on!  It popped off in just a few seconds.  That was great!  Hooking up on a steelhead three casts into my day stripping a bass fly across a run that is not really a known producer in the first place during the worst month of the year for fishing….  Interesting start for this line

I decided to start fishing this little minnow pattern for real this time.  A few casts later and bam! Fish on!  I ended up going three for five in the first pass.  One of those epic moments of my steelhead career came and went in about twenty minutes on a quiet May afternoon and no one was there to witness it. 

I thought this had to be a fluke.  I ran into a pod off aggressive fish and they were just riled up.  So I went back the next day early.  I stepped into this same run and went two for three with the same fly, now very, very chewed up and falling apart.  I would have loved to have stayed, but I had to work and I was out of time.  With a hasty drive back to Hood River and a ear-to-ear grin, I happily worked all day and was standing in that run again for the last hour of light. 

So anyway, this is a line review…  The point is that if you have a line that catches fish, it is a good line.  I haven’t got to the part about how it is not very easy to cast.  This line really just doesn’t fly off the rod like a Rage or a traditional floating Scandi.  Part of that is that it is a sinking line, so it takes much more energy to break the surface tension and pull the line into the air.  The other part is that I was using a weighted fly on a 37’ Scandi line.  Scandi lines don’t generally do well with a weighted fly, especially one that has lead eyes, and this one is no exception.  
A Scandi Head system with Single, Double and True Triple Density models.
However, I expect that if I am throwing a sinking line, a weighted fly is an integral part of the system in a lot of scenarios.  Not that I couldn’t cast it, but it is not very easy to cast, especially with a weighted fly.  I can still hit 60’, which is as far as anyone should be expected to cast in order to effectively catch fish. 

I will repeat what I said earlier:  If you have a line that catches fish, it is a good line.  The next time I used this head was on June 1 (opening day) on the Klickitat.  I fished it with a little Gotcha bonefish fly.  It was on my rod when I hooked the only fish of the day…  And that was on the second pass though the run after fishing it with a Skagit line and a bunny leech too.  The next time I used it was on the Deschutes a few weeks ago.  I landed the only fish of the trip on a Larimer’s Brazilian.  I started to see a trend with this new line.

I ended up finding that it casts better on a Burkheimer 7134-4 better than the Sage Method 7126-4 or the Echo Glass 7129-4, and definitely much better with a traditional, unweighted fly.  It still takes some precision and my cast tends to fall apart easily if I am not on my “A-game” with this line.  It takes quite a bit of line speed to keep it from sinking as you come around on your cast.  But hey, it is still far better than the old Rio Mid-Spey that I learned on. 

Reviewing this, I find that there is a balance between the fishy mojo that it has and the ease of casting.  For pure fishy mojo, this line is a 10.  I mean, I have not ever fished it without getting a hookup.  (dooming myself for months…)  As far as casting ability, I would give it a 6.  I can cast it 60’ just fine, but it definitely does not have the buttery smooth casting of an Airflo Rage or Rio Scandi Short.  It’s a give and take here and I will take hookups over ease of casting any day. 

So in my thirteen years as a two-handed steelhead junkie, I have had hot streaks, cold spells, mismatched gear as well as having tried just about every head, running line, sink tip and new trick that has come out.  This S/A Triple Density Ultimate Scandi Taper has by far accounted for more fish per hour than any other line that I have ever tried, and in the end that makes it likely the best line I have fished, even if casting it is not a breeze.  

Andrew Perrault
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

Scientific Anglers Ultimate Scandi Taper

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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