It looks like RIO has just changed the spey running line game with their new GripShooter line. It’s running line that combines Slickshooter with a PVC coated ‘handling’ section at one end. More details shortly – let’s start with the background.
Spey and switch anglers who prefer mono running lines like them for a few reasons.
- Their smooth coatings, light weight and small diameters translate to maximum distance with little effort.
- On longer casts, loops of stripped-in mono running line pop up out of the water easier.
- Small diameters mean less drag as the line is swinging, sometimes giving more line control options.
Mono running lines have always had a couple of disadvantages, though. There’s a bit of a learning curve associated with handling them, and it can sometimes be tough to pinch thin mono running lines against the cork of your rod. Let’s hit that point in some more detail.
The Dreaded Slip
When you’re in the sweep of a spey cast, you’re loading your rod up with a bunch of kinetic energy that’s just about to get translated to the launch of your head across the river. You maintain tension on your line by pinching your running line against the cork of your rod. Once the cast is made, you release that pinched-off running line and sit back to watch that rocket launch of a cast you just made.
Mono running lines are thin and smooth, and that can make it difficult to pinch them against the cork of your rod. If you lose grip on your running line during power application, things go very badly – running line slips through your fingers, all stored energy is lost, your cast goes nowhere, and your buddy has to hear you say some bathroom words. Not good for anybody!
RIO’s Slickshooter line has always represented one extreme in the mono running line game. It’s thin, hard and smooth, and it has an elliptical cross-section that minimizes drag during shooting since less of the cross-section can have contact with your line guides. Slickshooter has always been one of the best options for distance. Unfortunately, it’s thin, hard and smooth, and it has an elliptical cross section…and all those things make it really easy to lose your grip. Particularly in cold, wet conditions, the Dreaded Slip tends to happen with Slickshooter.
So this year RIO took Slickshooter, coated one end of it with PVC and called it GripShooter. Hearing about GripShooter was one of those “of course – why hasn’t anybody done that before” moments. It makes a ton of sense, and it works great.
14 feet on the line end of a spool of GripShooter is coated with PVC. The rest of it is normal Slickshooter. When you’re set up to make a cast with the head out the tip of your rod, the coated section runs from just past your rod tip to just past your cork (more on this in a second). You’re hanging on to PVC, but as soon as you start shooting line, you’re shooting Slickshooter. Brilliant! Best of both worlds!
GripShooter comes in 4 sizes from 25 lb to 50 lb. We tested 44 lb, and found it really easy to handle. It also shot like a mofo. The coated line end of the spool has a big pre-made welded loop, making for an easy, smooth connection from running line to head.
We really think GripShooter is a fantastic concept that wipes away one of the major disadvantages of mono running lines (which we’ve always fished anyhow).
The downsides to this stuff are incredibly minor.
- Pure mono shoots a teeny weeny itsy bitsy bit better – the PVC section adds a minuscule amount of additional mass and drag.
- When you’re swinging your fly, unless you made a really short cast, you’re still going to be pinching mono against the cork – the coated handling section won’t help with most hook sets. We’ve already told you the solution to that though – try some rubber tape on your cork.
- For shorter rods like our 11’6″ test rig, the coated section is a little too long at 14′ – about 5′ more than necessary was coated, which again doesn’t help with distance. We haven’t tried it, but there’s no reason you couldn’t just whack the loop off the front end of the coated section, trim to the length that fits your rod, strip the PVC off the end and tie yourself a new loop knot.
All in all, we’re sold. We love mono running lines, and GripShooter solves one of the major problems with them. We’re going to be fishing GripShooter a bunch, and we think you should too. You can find it at your local fly shop starting on August 1st.
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Did you notice a difference when you have many coils of line? I understand the advantage of it if you’re only holding that section of line, but if you’re throwing 4-5 coils of line into a cast, how much would that PVC really help?
Hey Brent! Great question.
When I’m holding a bunch of loops of line, all the difference comes in the line that I pinch on the cork when making the cast. There’s no difference when the fly is swinging. Basically it’s just like PVC when you make the cast, and just like SlickShooter when you’re actually swinging the fly.
GripShooter is the best shooting line I’ve used so far . What I would like RIO to change about it – the handling is a little too short if you hold your loops in under hand like in the Scandi casting style. With Scandinavian shooting heads you need approx. half a meter of overhang and that combined with 13’6″ rod or longer makes GripShooter 35lb missing a few inches in handling section 🙁 The 44lb model has perfect handling section length for 13’6″ rod but the stiffer mono affects the cast while using lighter heads. 35lb seems perfect for most of my rods and shooting heads but RIO could make its handling section a little longer or they could make it available in two versions with shorter and longer handling section.
BTW. Love your gear review section 🙂
Great input, Janusz. Thanks for the good words!
I’d like to get your opinion on using the GripShooter 35lb on a 10ft 8wt SH rod. I’m planning on using the rod with an Rio Outbound type shooting head for over-head beach casting, and a scandi head for single-hand spey casting for steelhead. I want the extra distance of SlickShooter, but thought the coated handling section on the GripShooter would be easier to grip for double-hauling. What do you think? Thanks!
BTW, Love the reviews, and Blog … especially the Spey articles!
Tony wills says
Can I weld a loop on this line ?
Chuck Schmit says
For use with a one handed 9′ 8 weight rod, which would you prefer? The Rio Gripshooter or the OPST Lazer line? I’d be using it in windy and sometimes cold conditions and I’ll be a novice with this one handed spey casting technique. Thanks
Kyle Shea says
Great question! There’s a lot of personal preference involved of course when choosing a running/shooting line. However, given the conditions you’re describing, I’d probably opt for the GripShooter. Although the Lazar line might shoot further, I think you’ll appreciate the handling section on the GripShooter while learning the technique, especially with cold/wet hands. Hope that helps!
Douglas galbraith says
Had slight problem with knots on mono running line which I have had to cut out ,what method can I use to reattach mono to mono appreciate any input