Fly Line Shootout

 

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This post is part of our Fly Line Shootout, so if you haven't read our main post, you probably want to check it out.

About Scientific Anglers Fly Lines

Scientific Anglers needs no introduction. While the company was started in 1945, Scientific Anglers has been a constant source of innovation in fly line technology, including the invention of the modern tapered fly line. SA's use of micro-balloons and variable tapered coatings was named the most important sport fishing innovation of the 1960's. As one of the largest fly line manufacturers today, SA produces lines not only under their own label, but under that of Orvis, Royal Wulff, and many others.

The Reviews:

Scientific Anglers Frequency Boost

Price: $49.95

The Hype: Let’s be honest. No one will ever turn down a little extra help with their cast. Luckily, the Frequency Boost, built a half-size heavy, provides just that.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

Prior to this shootout, I’ve never been a fan of mid-priced lines. I’ve just never understood the rationale between spending $800 for a fly rod and trying to save a few $ on the fly line. Let me tell you, that this line has changed my mind.

SA Frequency Boost is a pretty traditional line. There’s really nothing special about the taper. The first 30’ of the line are almost identical to GPX, but its head total is about 12 grains lighter (half a line size). Its shorter overall length also makes it shoot line just a little bit better. The tradeoff is worse overall presentation and poorer roll casting ability. Perhaps due to its heavier weight, this line didn’t really stand out on the Circa, but…

The Boost is the “Magic Line” for the NRX LP. It casts further, easier, than any other line. While it wouldn’t be my first choice for delicate dry fly fishing, it’s definitely the best choice for everything else. Nymphing, Streamers, Beginners, everyone fishing an NRX should be looking at this rod. It EASILY adds 20’ to your casts. I’d recommend this line for any faster rod.

Pros:

  • The best line for nymphing, streamers, distance, and beginners on the NRX.
  • CHEAP!

Cons:

  • Performance was average on the Circa

Bottom line: The ‘magic’ line for the NRX LP. If you have that rod, you must try this line. I’d also give it a shot on any fast rod.

Scientific Anglers Frequency Magnum

Price: $49.95

The Hype: Designed with an aggressive weight-forward head, the Magnum fly line is built for tossing large flies, turning over split shot, and blasting through the wind.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

Magnum has a very interesting taper. It’s the most weight forward line in the shootout. It’s got 32% of its head weight in the first 10’ of the line. It’s also the inspiration for many of SA’s current offerings (including the ever popular MPX).

Unsurprisingly, SA Frequency Magnum didn’t cast well on the Circa. It’s just too heavy and front loaded to work well on slower rods. Another thing we observed that should come as no shock to anyone is that Magnum hits the water with a splash. On the NRX, the Magnum was also a little overloaded, but it would work well for beginners as it loaded close and it’s also not too bad at chucking streamers.

Magnum was one of the lines that we put on the Sage Method, just to see how it casts on a really fast rod – and it’s great. It really does tame down the ultra-fast action into something manageable. Think of this as MPXX.

Pros:

  • Loads fast
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for really fast rods.

Cons:

  • There are way better choices for most rods.

Bottom line: A great line for beginners with faster rods, or anyone with a REALLY fast rod.

Scientific Anglers Heritage Ultra Presentation

Price: $49.95

The Hype: Ideally suited for fiberglass, bamboo, and slow-action graphite rods, the Heritage Ultra is a true presentation trout fly line.

Taper Diagram:

 

 

Casting Notes:

 

Scientific Anglers Heritage Ultra Presentation line is a throwback to earlier days. Its white color and classic taper are designed for softer rods. It’s got a slightly tapered belly and roughly average front and rear tapers. It’s also true that this line is fairly light in weight, particularly up front.

As you might expect, performance was also a bit of a throwback. Ultra reminded me of a detuned version of GPX – solid performance in every category, but nothing that really stood out in any way. While Ultra will definitely save you money, we preferred GPX on both the Circa and NRX, for every category.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Better than average performance

Cons:

  • GPX is a better line on virtually any rod

Bottom line: A solid choice for anglers looking for a retro look and feel OR a great value.

Scientific Anglers Mastery Anadro

Price: $79.95

The Hype: Designed with line control in mind, its extended rear taper allows you to cast a mile, mend with authority, and turn over nearly any rig imaginable—from dredging double nymphs to larger dry-dropper concoctions.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

We really liked casting the Anadro line – it’s one of the best nymph/streamer/beginner lines out there.  And we’ll tell you all about it in the SharkWave version, which is just a little bit better than the Mastery version, so scroll down to read about it.

Pros:

  • Perfect for chucking a lot of weight
  • Great for beginners

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t shoot as well as the SharkWave version

Bottom line: If you want to save $20 over the SharkWave Anadro, get this one, but SharkWave is better.

Scientific Anglers Mastery Expert Distance

Price: $74.95

The Hype: Designed with an extra-long head and rear taper, the Mastery Expert Distance is excellent in the wind, provides smooth distance casting, and lets you throw mends you didn’t think were even possible.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

It’s important to note that we tested the green version of this line, not the competition orange version with a longer head. Despite its roots, SA Mastery Expert Distance had average performance.

Pros:

  • Long head makes for easy mending

Cons:

  • Average performance across the board

Bottom line: Save this one for the casting competition

Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX

Price: $74.95

The Hype: Built a half-size heavy, the MPX taper starts where the GPX left off. Redesigned with more mass toward the front of the head, the MPX provides the same benefits of the GPX, with an added emphasis on presentation.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

SA Mastery MPX replaces our much loved GPX as SA’s all-around trout line for faster rods. So, on to the MPX.

Does it have better presentation than GPX? Well… none that I could see. It’s also highly unlikely that that’s the case since MPX has MORE weight forward in the taper. Sure it has a slightly longer front taper, but that’s not going to compensate for the difference. What it DOES do, is load faster rods quicker. Overall though, MPX is still a great line, but you definitely need a faster rod to make it work.

Pros:

  • Loads fast
  • Does everything pretty well

Cons:

  • I preferred the older GPX on the Circa.

Bottom line: A great all-around line for faster rods

Scientific Anglers Mastery SBT

Price: $74.95

The Hype: A short-bellied fly line with an extended handling section. That means more mass is distributed to the front of the line, which assists in turning over weighted flies and performing roll casts.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

SA Mastery SBT (Short Belly Taper) is one of the 3 single-hand spey focused lines in the test. These lines are totally new to the market and feature really long front tapers. SA took a lot of risks when they made this line. It’s got the shortest head in the test by nearly 10’(!!!) and it’s totally unlike any other line made before it. SBT is the first iteration of a great line that will likely evolve and change the way some people fish.

SBT is like Rio SHS, but taken to the extreme. SBT has a very long front taper like SHS– but it’s even more aggressive. They’ve also pretty much done away with the belly completely. Interestingly enough, SBT is almost a true 5-weight, and in fact it has the lightest total head weight of any line in the test.

Disclaimer: Yes, I’m writing a disclaimer for this line. If you’re going to be trout fishing with it, you need to understand what it can and can’t do. Casting the SBT is totally non-traditional. If you’ve ever cast one of Rio’s Outbound Short lines, you know how short headed lines behave. The 25’ head means that you won’t have to can’t make a bunch of false casts, but it loads so fast that you wouldn’t want to anyway. Another consequence is that mending line after the cast is going to be difficult, so beware if you’re going to be doing a lot of nymphing/dry fly fishing.  But you probably shouldn’t take this out on a spring creek, because it’s got no presentation whatsoever anyway.

OK. Now that you’ve read my disclaimer, I’m going to tell you why this line is also kind of awesome. It roll casts REALLY well. If you have no room behind you, this line can still get you out 60’. The SBT also shoots really well, so if you’re just learning how to cast, it makes it an incredibly easy line to learn on. And because SBT loads fast and casts far, it’s a really great streamer line for both stripping and swinging. Finally, if you’ve got one of the new Trout Speys that have come out recently, this works really well on them.

Pros:

  • Loads rods fast,
  • Roll/single-hand spey casts a mile,
  • Great for streamers

Cons:

  • It’s got a lot of limitations (see the disclaimer)

Bottom line: SBT and Rio SHS are lines that are definitely worth trying, and must haves if you do a lot of roll casting or are fishing in tight quarters.

Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout

Price: $74.95

The Hype: Perfect for dry flies and ideal for smaller nymphs and streamers, the Mastery Trout is one of our mainstays and has helped anglers catch trout from the mountains of Germany to the hills of Georgia.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

SA Mastery Trout is a LOT like Mastery Expert Distance. While Expert Distance has a slightly longer taper, they are very similar, and in fact within a few grains of one another in terms of weight. As such, it should come as no surprise that its performance was similar, and unfortunately, also average.

Pros:

  • Long head makes for easy mending

Cons:

  • Average performance across the board

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a dry fly line, check out VPT instead.

Scientific Anglers Mastery VPT

Price: $84.95

The Hype: An ideal trout dry-fly line, the VPT features an extended front taper that presents flies delicately and also serves to help perform roll casts and single-handed Spey maneuvers.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

SA Mastery VPT has a fairly unique taper. It’s got a long level tip (one of the few remaining), followed by a really long front taper, and a short-ish belly. On the surface, you might think it fairly similar to Rio SHS, but in reality it’s far lighter and less aggressive. Another curiosity is its Sharkskin tip – it seems that VPT is like Sharkwave at a slightly cheaper price.

VPT is easily SA’s best dry fly line. It casts a mile, roll casts well, and has a very delicate presentation. VPT is also too light of a line to really be effective at either nymphing or streamers.  The long-slow front taper means that this line doesn’t load well in close. Ironically, I preferred VPT on the NRX over the Circa. I can’t explain it and it doesn’t make sense given its light overall weight – maybe I was having an off day.

Pros:

  • A pretty great dry fly line.
  • True-to-line weight

Cons:

  • Not a line for beginners
  • Won’t cast your big nymph and streamer rigs

Bottom line: One of the best dry fly lines out there.

Scientific Anglers SharkWave Anadro

Price: $99.95

The Hype: Designed with line control in mind, its extended rear taper allows you to cast a mile, mend with authority, and turn over nearly any rig imaginable—from dredging double nymphs to larger dry-dropper concoctions.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

Front loaded compound tapers are nothing new. There are at least 10 in this test alone. What sets the SharkWave Anadro apart from the competition is its really long head. The long head does a few things: it makes mending and roll casting a LOT easier and you can hold a lot more line in the air. Both of those things hold true for the Anadro line. But you’re probably thinking to yourself: Why would I want to cast this 180gr-7-weight line on 5-weight?

The answer is simple: this line is awesome. It’s easily the best casting nymph/streamer line in our test. Anadro has great distance, shoots great, and delivers a ton of power to the fly. It even makes a pretty good beginner line. In fact, about the only thing I don’t love about this line is its presentation. I know I went on about how presentation doesn’t really matter, but this line is one of the few lines that really could use better presentation. It’s really the only part of the line that’s lacking.

SharkWave Anadro also had the curious property of being a LOT better in the SharkWave version than the Mastery version. While most of the lines we tested didn’t improve a lot when textured, Anadro got a lot better. What I mean by that, the texturing added about 10’ to my cast.

Pros:

  • Perfect for chucking a lot of weight
  • Great for beginners

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Wouldn’t be my first choice for dries

Bottom line: An amazing line for fishing everything but dries.

Scientific Anglers Sharkwave GPX

Price: $99.95

The Hype: Built a half-size heavy, the GPX’s extra weight up front helps load fast-action rods and can greatly increase line speed when used with a double haul.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

When [regular] GPX was replaced by MPX in Scientific Angler’s lineup, we were first shocked, then depressed. It was our best selling line (and SA’s bestselling line). Luckily they kept it around in their signature “Sharkwave” series. If you’re not familiar with Sharkwave, it features Sharkskin texturing on the tip, Mastery texturing on the head and running line, and a smooth handling section at the end of the head.

We’ve long taken this line for granted and recommended it for most rods for virtually any angler. I’m happy to report that after testing it extensively, we weren’t wrong. While GPX doesn’t blow us away in any particular category, it just does EVERYTHING, really well. Yes, that includes presentation. And yes, it also worked really well on the Circa, despite being a “half-size” heavier. Basically, if you’re not sure which trout line to go with on any given rod, for any given body of water, SA Sharkwave GPX should probably be your starting point.

Pros:

  • Excellent performance across the board in every category.

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, this great taper now costs $20 more and only comes in a textured version

Bottom line: One of the best all-around lines out there for any rod.

Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Siege

Price: $99.95

The Hype: Designed to turn over even the largest flies with just a single backcast, the SharkWave Siege has power in spades.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

While the taper diagram shows us that Sharkwave Siege is a relative of SBT, it casts completely differently. It’s like a strange hybrid between SBT and VPT. It’s got a long front taper, a short, thick belly, and a long handling section/rear taper. The extended front taper means that it doesn’t load well in close, but the heavy belly section loads really fast. It’s a presentation line for casts under 30’ and a shooting head after that. It’s a combination that no one asked for… ever. It’s one of the most bizarre casting lines I’ve ever used.

Pros:

  • I’m sure you could get used to this line…

Cons:

  • One of the few lines in the test we really disliked.

Bottom line: Get SBT instead

Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Ultimate Trout

Price: $99.95

The Hype: The Ultimate Trout taper is a trout angler’s dream. Designed to deliver dries with a soft touch, no matter the distance, the Ultimate Trout can also handle nymphs and small streamers, depending on the occasion.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

SA Sharkwave Ultimate Trout is tapered a LOT like MPX, but with a slightly longer belly and a longer rear taper. In fact, I’d describe it as the taper you’d get if Mastery Trout and MPX had a child: MPX in front, Mastery Trout in back. Ultimate Trout also inherited the weight of Mastery Trout.

Looking over some of our conclusions, you might think that would make this line better… but for some reason it doesn’t. It’s probably due to the fact that the line also got just a little too light in weight for faster rods (it’s true to line size). The result is a pretty average trout line that loads slightly better in close than some of the competition.

Pros:

  • Loads better in close the some light trout lines

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Average performance

Bottom line: We preferred Sharkwave GPX on every rod.

Scientific Anglers Wavelength MPX

Price: $84.95

The Hype: Built a half-size heavy, the MPX taper starts where the GPX left off. Redesigned with more mass toward the front of the head, the MPX provides the same benefits of the GPX, with an added emphasis on presentation.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes:

Wavelength MPX is the same line as Mastery MPX (though the version we tested was actually a few grains heavier), but is textured. You can scroll up to read more about MPX, or better yet, read our deep dive into the MPX vs. GPX.

What makes this line unique in this shootout is that it’s the only SA Wavelength line we tested. Wavelength lines are textured, but not as heavily as SharkWave. It’s actually the same process used on the Orvis HD lines. So the big question is: Does texturing make this line better? Not really… or at least not as far as we could tell. MPX and Wavelength MPX cast pretty much the same.

Pros:

  • Loads fast
  • Does everything pretty well

Cons:

  • I preferred the older GPX on the Circa.

Bottom line: A great all-around line for faster rods, but we didn’t notice a lot of difference between the textured and non-textured versions.

 

Scientific Anglers Saltwater Fly Line Reviews


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Bonefish

Price: $129.95

The Hype: SA says “built on a stiff core for tropical conditions, and featuring our AST Plus slickness additive, the Bonefish taper is designed with a long, compound head for casting accuracy and delicate deliveries”.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: We tested all three SA Bonefish lines: Mastery, Amplitude, and Amplitude Smooth in this shootout. They were virtually identical in casting and taper. Interestingly enough, we found that the AST Amplitude tech didn’t really give us a noticeable shooting benefit on this line. Textured line theoretically floats better and minimizes friction in the rod guides but it wasn’t hugely noticeable for us. That being said, this is a great Bonefish line offering from SA. The line was smooth, encouraged stable loops, and presented flies pretty well at longer distances. 

Also, while we didn’t see shooting benefits compared to the other two SA Bonefish lines, all three lines did pretty well in the shooting category, especially for lines with longer, lighter tapers. Amplitude Bonefish is a really nice all-around line, a decent line for beginners, and has a nice, easy, smooth performance.

These three Bonefish lines from SA were our favorite long-taper, light presentation lines in the shootout. The ‘Shooting’ score really sets these lines apart from other Bonefish lines in the shootout. Typically, fly lines with a light, long taper don't shoot as well as lines with heavier front tapers. The SA Bonefish Lines, however, were great at distance when we carried a lot of line in the air and also allowed us to make quick shots accurately (similar, in some ways, to the RIO Bonefish QuickShooter).

This means that these lines will work well for the angler who knows he/she is going to have to make delicate presentations at longer distances but also wants to be able to put a quick shot on a cruising fish. It also broadens the line’s versatility which helped it finish near the top of the scoreboard in the shootout. This is a line that can also be used for Redfish, Snook, and a wider range of tropical species than other ‘Bonefish-specific’ fly lines.


Pros:

  • Great performance across the board
  • Really good shooting performance compared to other Bonefish lines

Cons:

  • No huge shooting benefit to Amplitude AST
  • Expensive at $129.95

Bottom Line: If you prefer a textured line and want a versatile line that’s oriented toward the Bonefish angler, this is a great choice. If you’re not crazy about the texture, the Mastery has performance that’s pretty close to the AMP and AMP Smooth lines for a lower price.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Bonefish

Price: $99.95

The Hype: SA says “built on a stiff core for tropical conditions, and featuring our AST Plus slickness additive, the Bonefish taper is designed with a long, compound head for casting accuracy and delicate deliveries”.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: We tested all three SA Bonefish lines: Mastery, Amplitude, and Amplitude Smooth in this shootout. They all cast relatively similarly and feature the same taper. See the Amplitude Bonefish for complete casting notes on these three lines. 

Pros:

  • Great performance across the board
  • Really good shooting performance compared to other Bonefish lines

Cons:

  • No huge shooting benefit to Amplitude AST

Bottom Line: If you prefer a smooth line and want a versatile line that’s oriented toward the Bonefish angler, this is a great choice. If you’re not crazy about the AST slickness, the Mastery has performance that’s pretty close to the AMP and AMP Smooth lines for a lower price.


Scientific Anglers Mastery Bonefish

Price: $79.95

The Hype: Mastery Bonefish is built on a stiff core for performance in high heat with a long gradual taper for presentations at long distances.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: We tested all three SA Bonefish lines: Mastery, Amplitude, and Amplitude Smooth in this shootout. They all cast relatively similarly and feature the same taper. See the Amplitude Bonefish for complete casting notes on these three lines. 

Mastery Bonefish is a great value line for Bonefish anglers. Its performance is pretty similar to its higher-priced counterparts and we didn’t see any marked benefit to the AST slickness tech or Amplitude tech. If you’re an angler looking for a versatile Bonefish line that doesn’t cost as much as the others, this is the best fly line on the market.

Pros:

  • Great performance across the board
  • Really good shooting performance compared to other Bonefish lines
  • Affordable AND high-performance

Cons:

  • Not the best line for super spooky fish

Bottom Line: A great value line for anglers in the market for a versatile Bonefish line with quality performance across the board.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Tropical Titan

Price: $129.95

The Hype: SA’s Titan Taper comes in a variety of styles for a multitude of scenarios. The Tropical Titan is “the perfect line for throwing large flies in the hottest environments”.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: We’re pretty familiar with the coldwater version of this line as it’s one of the best for blind casting for Stripers in the surf here in the northeast. It’s a line that loads fast action rods well and has really incredible shooting capabilities. This is one of the thickest lines and THE heaviest line in the shootout at a whopping 383.8 grains (total head weight). It’s arguably the best line at shooting big flies at long distances. Fish it with an ultra-fast action rod and you’ll be able to cast it pretty far. 

While the coldwater version works well for Stripers, the Tropical Titan has more limited applications. There aren’t too many instances when an angler focuses on blind casting as far as possible when fishing in the tropics, and this line isn’t made for presentations. If you’re a Redfish angler this would be a fine line for really windy days and big flies, but it’s really a line meant to be fished at longer distances.


Pros:

  • Shooting capabilities

Cons:

  • Limited applications in a tropical setting

Bottom Line: This is a highly specialized line, but if you’re chucking big flies, it’s fantastic.


Scientific Anglers Mastery Redfish Warm

Price: $79.95

The Hype: For Redfish in warmer temps, the Mastery Redfish Warm is designed with a head that’s short and a half-size heavy for easy loading and quick shots.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: This line loads fast action rods well at short distances and encourages quick shots, as advertised. When we pushed the line out to 60-feet and beyond, however, we had to slow down our casting stroke and found that the line didn’t shoot particularly well or produce tight loops. We had a hard time turning over this line at longer distances which may be a product of its short, aggressive front taper. 

That being said, the line features fine performance at short distances and is definitely a line that’ll make quick shots on Redfish. The heavy front taper loaded the Meridian well during our casting session and this line is really made for a rod with a fast action flex profile.

Pros:

  • Short shots made easy with a short, heavy taper

Cons:

  • Performance suffers at longer distances
  • Loop stability and turnover worsens with distance

Bottom Line: This is a budget line that caters to the Redfish angler looking to load a fast action rod quickly at short distances.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Salt

Price: $129.95

The Hype: The Infinity Salt is SA’s flagship saltwater fly line series featuring versatility, accuracy, and technical innovation like never before.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: We tested this line in both the Amplitude and Amplitude Smooth versions which have the same taper and similar performance. This was one of our favorite all-around lines in the shootout. The Infinity Salt had good loop stability, easy performance at longer distances, and great accuracy across the board. SA dialed in the line taper to create a head that’s a little on the heavy side to load fast-action rods but has a nice long taper for performance at middle/longer distances.

We much-preferred the textured version of this line to its smooth counterpart and thought the Amplitude line shot through the guides better and was a smoother casting line overall. This line wasn’t the best line in windy conditions but perhaps we were spoiled by lines like the Tropical Titan with a much heavier head and aggressive front taper.

Pros:

  • Accurate across the board
  • Smooth performance, tight loops, and quality presentation capabilities

Cons:

  • Not the best line in high wind

Bottom Line: This is a technical line built to perform in a variety of tropical saltwater angling scenarios featuring quality performance and versatility in all casting categories.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity Salt

Price: $129.95

The Hype: The Infinity Salt is SA’s flagship saltwater fly line series featuring versatility, accuracy, and technical innovation like never before.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: See the notes on the SA Amplitude Infinity Salt above. While we much preferred the textured version of the line, for anglers who’d rather fish with a smooth line, the smooth version has similar performance and equal versatility. This is another great all-around line that can be used in a multitude of angling scenarios.

Pros:

  • Accurate across the board
  • Smooth performance, tight loops, and quality presentation capabilities

Cons:

  • Not the best line in high wind

Bottom Line: We preferred the textured version of this line but if you can’t stand fishing with a textured line, this is a solid line, too.


Scientific Anglers Frequency Saltwater

Price: $49.95

The Hype: The Frequency Salt features an “all-around compound saltwater taper designed to load rods quickly and cut through the wind”.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: The Frequency Salt has decent all-around performance for a budget line. As you can see from the taper diagram above, the line’s taper is versatile and typical creating a line that’s average across the board. The Frequency Salt threw stable loops, got a solid presentation score especially at longer distances, and provided classic performance for a wide range of saltwater applications. 

The biggest downside to this line is its shooting capabilities. The textured technology SA has developed on more expensive lines became apparent when casting the Frequency. That being said, this line definitely fits into the SA lineup well and provides solid performance for less than half of the cost of Amplitude and Amplitude Smooth lines. While this line doesn’t provide the easy-casting capabilities of other SA lines for novice anglers in the saltwater sphere, it’s a fine choice for intermediate anglers looking for a budget line.

Pros:

  • Stable loops
  • Good presentation score at longer distances

Cons:

  • Minimal shooting capabilities
  • Not the best choice for anglers looking for a line that does the work for them

Bottom Line: If you’re not willing to upgrade to the Mastery Series, the Frequency Salt provides average performance across the board for a cheap line that’s versatile and classic.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Grand Slam

Price: $129.95

The Hype: This is a fly line for any saltwater scenario. SA says “Tarpon. Bonefish. Permit. All in one day. All on one fly line...”.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: SA designed this line to be the best all-around fly line in tropical fly fishing. They’ve succeeded. This was one of our favorite lines in the shootout. The head of the line is heavy but not too heavy to encourage easy shooting capabilities and solid performance at distance. This line also loads fast action rods at short-range for those quick shots on picky fish. We were also really impressed with the loop stability of the Grand Slam.

The line’s user-friendly performance also makes it a solid option for beginners looking for a do-it-all fly line that’ll perform in any situation. If you’re an angler who uses a fast action rod to target multiple species in tropical conditions, the Amplitude Grand Slam really is the best fly line on the market. That being said, it’s not a line that encourages delicate presentations like some of the other Bonefish lines in the shootout. It’s aggressive and versatile which means it does a lot of things well but it’s not a delicate line. 

The line promotes efficient fly turnover which makes it a great option for the angler looking switch between smaller streamers and larger, wind-resistant flies. While it isn’t a delicate line, it can be carried in the air at longer distances unlike some other shooting-style lines which adds to its versatility. This is a line designed for the technical angler who travels to fish tropical saltwater with a fast action rod. It’s a line that scored really well in the shootout because of its versatility. 

If you’re an angler who is traveling to exclusively target Bonefish, there are some technical, species-specific lines that will provide more honed performance for one individual species. That being said, this is a line that can definitely be used for technical Permit fishing and should be on the top of your list if you’re hoping to target Tarpon on one trip and Permit on the next and you don’t want to get two separate fly lines.

Pros:

  • Great loop stability
  • Performance at all distances
  • Castability and versatility

Cons:

  • Doesn’t present flies as delicately as other lines in the shootout

Bottom Line: One of the absolute best lines out there and probably the best Permit line. It does *almost* everything really, really, well.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Grand Slam

Price: $99.95

The Hype: This is a fly line for any saltwater scenario. SA says “Tarpon. Bonefish. Permit. All in one day. All on one fly line...”.

Taper Diagram:

Casting Notes: This line has the same taper as the Amplitude Grand Slam that we reviewed above. For complete casting notes, see the Amplitude Grand Slam. We thought the Smooth version had slightly better loop stability and turned over big flies well during our casting session. If you prefer a smooth line, this line is equally as versatile and high-performing as the Amplitude version of the Grand Slam.

Pros:

  • Great loop stability
  • Performance at all distances
  • Castability and versatility

Cons:

  • Doesn’t present flies as delicately as other lines in the shootout

Bottom Line: Again, this is a line for the angler who’s targeting multiple species and needs a fly line with versatility and performance.