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Becoming a More Versatile Angler

by Scott Jontes

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Some of the great things about fly fishing are the endless number of species you can chase with a fly rod and the destinations this sport takes you, whether it’s somewhere exotic or your own backyard. Many are attracted to the sport for these reasons, but how do you account for more than one type of fly line when you’re tight on a budget? Most fly anglers budget for one type of line that typically fits their main style of fly fishing. If you’re like me, and the majority of fishing you do involves a floating line for both salt and freshwater applications, this can create a bit of a challenge when a floating line may not be the best option. A perfect example of this is the seasonal American Shad migration that takes place each year in Florida on the St. Johns River. The Shad are an exciting species of fish to target; they’re strong and tenacious fighters that can be extremely acrobatic during the fight. This is a reason why many anglers take advantage of this yearly migration.

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Typically, the American Shad hold deeper in the water column or if the water levels are unseasonably higher than normal, a floating line may not be the best option. A sink tip line, or even a full sinking line, can dramatically increase your success rate. So what can you do to increase your odds of catching these fish if you only have a floating line? As usual, RIO has an answer for this situation: the RIO Versileader. The RIO Versileader quickly turns your floating line into a sink tip line to help get your fly down to the fish.

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What’s great about the RIO Versileader is it’s a quick, versatile, and low cost option to expand your fishing opportunities. They come in a variety of lengths, sinking and floating densities, and sizes. You can choose from a wide range of quick-change options for everything including trout, spey, and scandi setups. http://www.rioproducts.com/fishing-leaders/versileader/
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This season, I used the 7ft Trout version of Versileader with a 7ips sink rate for Shad. I’ve had great success pairing it with my 6wt InTouch RIO Grand line with an 18 inch tippet. The Trout version has a 12lb nylon core and welded loop at the butt-end, which makes leader changes easier. They’re tapered for increased performance however the extra weight may affect the performance of your rod so you may need to compensate for this added weight. If all of this sounds like it could work for you, then try the Versileader for yourself. It improved my success rate and could do the same for you.