MIDGE TIPS AND INTERMEDIATES ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF OUR STILLWATER ARMOURY. STEVE CULLEN EXPLAINS WHY THESE FLY LINES ARE SO CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS
RIO Aqualux Midge Tip
Although we now have a whole array of ‘tip sinking’ lines, the one that the UK fishing fraternity love and value above all others is the Rio Midge-Tip. Here, I will explain just why it’s so popular.
First of all, it’s a great casting line, and the taper allows the rod to load fast, which makes casting easy and turnover very efficient. Casting longer distances can favour us in most fishing situations. Given the ‘ExtremeDistance’ technology used in the coating, you know that this line is going to fly. It also feels good in hand, smooth and easy to work with.
Some other ‘tip’ lines feel too light, they don’t cast as well, and more false casts are introduced to try and load the rod, so more line is used; this results in a poor turnover. On the other end of the scale, a heavy tip line will cast well, but the presentation is often lost, the line landing like a bike chain on the water, spooking any sensible fish in the vicinity.
The Aqualux Midge-Tip has everything just right and is an absolute pleasure to fish with. This floating line, bright yellow, stands out a mile and is the perfect colour for aiding take detection. The short 1-meter clear Aqualux front section, sinking at 1.5 to 2-inches per second, is awesome at anchoring your flies’ subsurface. This is a real bonus when you’re looking to present your flies a little lower in the water column in most weather conditions, but it’s a MUST in windy weather.
During the early part of the fishing year, the trout tend to be deep, gorging on buzzers, for me is when this line comes into its own. The Midge Tip coupled with an 8-foot leader to the first fly and then two more Buzzers at three-foot intervals, will see you have the perfect set-up for depths of up to 15-feet. The ideal depth of water for early season trout.
The point fly will be just off the bottom and the droppers nicely positioned in mid-water to coax any feeding trout. By using a floating line, you would see the droppers fishing too high, out of the taking zone, and virtually useless. A sinking line would see you having to fish the flies too fast, terrible for a natural presentation. The Midge-Tip rules the roost here, it’s that simple. It allows you to keep the flies in the ‘business area’ regardless, even on windy days.
It’s no wonder this RIO line is so popular!
RIO InTouch Midge-Tip Long
The RIO Midge-Tip Long has all the attributes that I want when I’m fishing through the summer months and on into the Autumn. The front taper is pretty similar to the original Midge-Tip, as with all Rio fly lines, the taper optimises casting performance for the lines intended use, so it casts like a dream. You can also expect excellent turnover with either a single fly or a team, so you know that you’re fishing straight off the bat!
When the weather warms up, the trout move up in the water column, and nymphs come into play; this is when the Midge-Tip Long often scores highly. This is the line which I prefer for the ‘washing line’ technique. By spacing the nymphs out along the leader with a Booby or FAB placed on the point position, you can cover more of the water column due to the longer – 2 meter – front section of this particular line. This extended front section gives you the option of fishing that little bit deeper and with a far less aggressive angle than the shorter 1 meter one. Trout prefer to feed in a ‘band’ of water, and the less aggressive angle will have your flies travel in that band for a longer distance.
RIO has been very clever by using its ConnectCore Technology, so there’s minimal stretch. Buzzer takes on the Midge Tip pull the rod out of your hand, brutal at times, so that line has some stretch to cope. The Midge Tip Long is better for nymphing and ‘washing line’ styles as the takes are often more gentle affairs. Having the sensitivity that comes with the ConnectCore allows the angler to feel everything, crucial to this style of ‘on the drop’ fishing.
The same can be said for when you’re ‘straight-line nymphing’ too, the feel at your hand, as the flies slowly descend through the water column, will allow you to connect far quicker with any takes. It’s a challenging method to master as there’s very little in the way of movement in the form of line retrieval from the angler. Due to this gentle contact, the angler has with the flies as they fall through the water. It’s crucial to have the extra sensitivity you get from the low stretch fly line when a trout intercepts your nymph.
When it comes to nymphing and the ‘washing line’ technique, the Midge Tip Long is the most crucial line in my fishing armoury. Did I mention that it has a super-smooth welded loop on the front end, far better than the usual braided loops and an all-important hang marker, winner!
RIO InTouch Hover
There’s a fly line that every single angler craves, and that’s a line that allows them to present their flies just under the surface. That crucial taking zone that the fish tend to live in from May through to November, that magical top few foot of water. We hold fly lines that allow us to fish this magic band of the lake in very high regard, and rightly so.
Being able to present your flies in that ‘zone’ no matter what the conditions is the key. This Hover overcomes any wind that would otherwise kill your presentation stone dead. Being able to fish effectively in the wind will see you out-fish so many other anglers on the water. The RIO Hover has the edge over similar lines of this ilk, and has so much going on in all departments.
It features the optimum sink rate at just under an inch per second for targeting fish up and feeding near the surface. If the line were to sink any faster, then your flies would be pulled down too deep. The only other line option, this high in the water, is a floater, which will fish the flies too high, pulling them at the surface in an unnatural way. It should also be highlighted that the floating line is pretty much redundant if there’s any wind to speak of as your presentation is gone!
But the sink rate is only one feature, albeit an essential one. As with some other RIO lines, the Hover has the ‘ConnectCore’ technology, which equates to very little in the way of stretch. This style of line, slow sink rate, and non-stretch is a total game-changer when it comes to targeting lightning-fast brown trout on wild waters. On the wild waters, which we are lucky enough to have access to here in the UK and also over in Ireland, the Hover is often chosen over a floating line, which is high praise indeed. It digs those flies in and keeps them fishing high up where we expect the trout to be. Couple this with the non-stretch properties, and you have total take detection, RIO’s Hover can be a Godsend!
It also features ‘Extreme Slickness’ technology, this, paired with the awesome taper profile, means that it’s an absolute dream to cast! There’s also a perfect welded loop and a subtle ‘hang marker’ which is a real benefit whether you are fishing from boat or bank—allowing a key focus point so that you can fish the ‘hang’ effectively.
The Hover is a fly line that can dramatically change your fortunes, no matter what venue or trout species you’re after! You’d be crazy to head out on the water without it!
RIO InTouch Camolux
Although we will fish a massive variety of flies here in the UK and indeed utilise many techniques, pulling lures is something that we are very, very good at. The Stillwater fly line that reigns supreme is the intermediate, the one which we ‘default’ to pretty much straight away when tackling up for smaller stillwaters.
The RIO Camolux is an intermediate that you can have total faith in. I love the camo/clear colouration of this line, making it hard for the trout to detect in all water conditions, something we need to focus on more and more on pressured venues.
When fishing with the Camolux, I’m often looking for a ‘level plane of travel’ and I feel that one pattern rather than a team is a far better option when fishing in this way.
A shorter leader, 8ft to 10ft, is a great way to fish most of our lures, anything from stillwater favourites like Damsels and Cat’s through to the meatier reservoir options, I’m talking Humungus and Minkies. I like to fish these flies back to me in a straight-line path, it appeals to the trout. The fly doesn’t deviate up or down, and this really winds them up, they often commit and lock on. I’d use a continuous retrieve, figure-of-eight or Roly-Poly if the fish want it fast.
Lengthen your leader, 16 to 20ft, and other flies, Single Blob, App’s Bloodworm, and Snakes, really come into play. These flies are pulled down toward the lakebed by employing a jerky retrieve in short, pull and pause movements. The fly line drags them down at a steady, not too fast pace. The other point to highlight is that the line will be below the fly and this is an effective way of targeting spooky fish, as only the fly is visible, with the line travelling below the feeding depth.
As with other sub-surface lines, it’s ideal for the ‘washing line’, wet flies or indeed nymphing. The increased sink rate of the Camoloux means a deeper presentation for all these styles and applications. It lets you target trout which are feeding lower down in the water column.
I need to point out the ‘ConnectCore’ properties too, with virtually no stretch, you can feel everything. Having this sensitivity is crucial when looking at targeting trout subsurface; it allows you to gauge what is happening at all times.
The InTouch Camolux has ‘Extreme Slickness’ technology, paired up with the ideal taper profile, and this, like the rest of the lines in the ‘subsurface’ range, means distance and presentation is spot on! You also get welded loop, no more messy braided ones, and a ‘hang marker’ which is a must whether fishing from boat or bank.