New Products: SA's Shark Skin Fly Line

September 12, 2007 By: Marshall Cutchin

We received a sample of Scientific Anglers‘ new high-end fly line a few days ago and were struck immediately by the texture of the coating, which feels like, well, shark skin. The line, which is coming out this fall for 3- through 8-weight rods and in the spring of 2008 for higher weights, uses what SA is calling a “structured pattern” process on the finish. That accounts for the texture, and according to SA it also does two other things: it reduces the friction of the line in the guides and increases its hydrophobic qualities. The result is a line that, according to our sources, produces about a 7% increase in casting distance. The line is also reportedly 3 times more durable than those made with previous coatings. That’s a good thing, since the suggested retail price is going to be just under $100.
We cast the sample line on our favorite 6-weight rod and, yes, we were very impressed. The line does indeed seem to float higher on the water surface than any other line we’ve fished. And it reminds us of some of the original pebbly-finish tarpon lines that SA made in the early 90s in terms of increased line speed. (Those lines were a bright orange; our test Shark Skin line is a chartreuse.) There is one thing that might annoy some anglers: the line makes an audible “zip” as it passes through the guides. But we are betting at this point that the increase in line performance will make folks forget about that issue.