Ask FR&R

Ask FR&R

Your questions, answered...

  • By: Buzz Bryson

Q: I messed up. I have dozens of fly lines and I’m usually pretty good at labeling them, but when I moved recently I ended up with one unidentified line. I do know that it’s almost certainly a 7- to 9-weight line, the main line is chartreuse or key lime in color and it’s got a 10-foot dark-green tip. I suspect it’s either a Rio or a Scientific Anglers (SA) line. The dark tip tells me it’s a sink tip—I think. In any case, I tried to look up info on line colors of older lines (it’s probably two to five years old) and nothing seemed to match. I’ve never used it. Any suggestions on identifying it? I guess I could simply throw it on my 7- or 8-weight rods and verify if it casts okay. Thanks, I’m a longtime reader of your fine magazine—Dan Calcaterra, Canton, Michigan

I’D AGREE WITH YOUR ASSESSMENT. The dual colors pretty much identify the line as having a sinking tip. You indicated that you had tried to look up (presumably on manufacturers’ Web sites) information on the line, and didn’t find a definitive match. I can completely understand that “problem” (in most cases, we’d consider it a blessing), in that fly-line manufacturers offer us a wealth of lines with sinking tips and heads. Notwithstanding the plethora of lines offered by others, SA ( lists at least one line, the Mastery Wet Tip, that appeared to pretty closely match the line you describe.

I called Bruce Richards, SA’s chief line designer, an avid curler, auto-crosser and fly caster and angler extraordinaire —he is either a true Renaissance Man or a true redneck (yes, it does take one to know one) displaced to Michigan’s north woods—seeking his wisdom. Bruce confirmed, as is too often the case, that I was right…almost. He said the line description more closely fit the SA Air Cel Supreme Wet Tip (which was discontinued in 2008, in favor of the improved Supra Sink Tip series).

Bruce made an excellent point about the line weight, as well. He said a couple of diameter measurements would confirm exactly which line weight it was. But he quickly added that the “test” you suggested—casting the line on a couple of rods, matching it with the rod that cast the line most comfortably for you—was as good if not a better option. Remember, line weights come with standards, but rod designations are subjective. Better to use the combo that best suits your casting!

Q: One of the guides on my favorite fly rod got bent on my last trip. I have an unlimited warranty on the rod, but would really rather replace the guide myself, and not spend the time and money to send it back to the manufacturer. How difficult is this?

A: YOU’RE REALLY ASKING TWO questions. First, are you capable of replacing the guide satisfactorily? Second, will the do-it-yourself nature of the repair in any way void or limit the rod’s warranty?

The latter is really more critical, since the unlimited warranty is: 1) not free; 2) too valuable to be voided by your own action, however simple the repair and capable you are; and 3) For instance, Sage’s warranty program ( specifically excludes “modification or customization” of the rod. The warranty department advised me that Sage has no control over home repairs. Should you replace a bent guide, and the rod subsequently breaks, Sage cannot determine whether the breakage was a covered (under warranty) repair, or in fact related to the replacement guide not having sharp edges removed, or being wrapped on too tightly, either of which can create a stress point and ultimately lead to rod breakage. So, to be perfectly compliant with the warranty program, either take the rod to a dealer, or send it directly to Sage, with the $50 fee, and you’ll get it back, good as new.

Temple Fork Outfitters’ Rick Pope says: “I’m fine with somebody taking a rod to a repair shop; most of them will replace a single guide for $5 or $10. Or, send it back to us with the $25, and we’ll make it good.” Question One takes a little more explaining. Go to Skills section for some advice on replacing a rod guide.

Send your questions for Professor Buzz to [email protected]