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RIO General Purpose Tropical Fly Line

Posted on May 11 2016

RIO General Purpose saltwater fly line review for bonefish.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Photo: Kyle Shea.

We get asked all the time what our favorite fly line for bonefish is. That’s because the right fly line can make all the difference on the flats – arguably more so than in any other fisheries.

There are a lot of great fly lines out there for bonefish – and these days odds are if you choose a line with ‘bonefish’ in the name, you’re probably going to be just fine. However, a few fly lines out there not marketed specifically for bonefish actually make really good bonefish lines too!

Take RIO’s now discontinued Tropical Clouser fly line for example. We were long fans of the Tropcial Clouser’s ability to turn over heavy flies in the wind, while still being able to carry a fair amount of line in the air. It made a great all-around bonefishing line for our fishery, and we were pretty bummed when it was discontinued (we have a feeling a few of you were as well!).

However, what some don’t realize is that the good folks at RIO actually replaced it a few years back with a similar line called the General Purpose Tropical Saltwater Floating line. Yep, it’s a bit of a mouthful.. But we think it’s a great bonefish line for our fishery, and here’s why.

  1. Our Shots are Short. Like most popular fly lines for bonefish, the head of the General Purpose Tropical is slightly heavier than the designated line weight. That means it loads quick at short distances which is really nice for fisheries like ours where a short quick cast is the norm.
  2. We Get More Than One Shot. Compared to some fisheries that receive more angling pressure, our bonefish aren’t overly spooky. There’s also of a lot them. That means when you miss a shot (hey, we all do it), it’s not uncommon to get a second, or even third chance at the same fish, or the ones traveling right behind him. Therefore, being able to pick up and lay down a substantial amount of line in the air can be really helpful when your guide says, “a little more to the left,” after making a cast. At 40 feet, the head length of the General Purpose Tropical is a great happy medium between being long enough to carry a considerable amount of line in the air, while still short and heavy enough to pick up quick and shoot.
  3. We Fish Anglers of all Experience Levels. Some fly lines (typically longer bellied lines) tend to favored by more experienced casters, while less experienced casters find them more difficult to cast. On the other hand, some fly lines (such shorter shooting-head style lines) tend to be preferred by beginner to intermediate casters but not always so by experienced casters. There’s a lot of overlap here of course, but we’ve found that anglers of all experience levels tend to like the taper of the General Purpose Tropical. The length of the head (40 feet) is middle-of-the-road as far as bonefish lines are concerned, and it pairs up with most rods (and casters) really well.

If you like a line that’s aggressive enough to turn over heavy-ish flies in the wind, but aren’t too keen on heavier shooting-head style lines, or you use to really like the old Tropical Clouser line, we think you’ll really appreciate the General Purpose Tropical. It’s available in line sizes 7 through 10 weight, and retails for $79.99. Pick one up at your local fly shop today, or check it out on RIO’s website for more information.

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