What is the Barrio Instructor fly line for?
As the name suggests, the Barrio Instructor is a fly line designed primarily for use by casting instructors. Not only does the two-tone colour of the line make it easier for instructors and pupils to see the loading point of the line, the taper and line design are also well suited to basic fly casting.
What's special about this fly line?
While quite a lot of fly lines sold these days are often a weight heavier than their line weight rating suggests, the Barrio Instructor line is designed to international line weight standards. Buying a #6 line gets you a true #6, not a #7 sold in the box of a #6 to help a poor caster load their rod a bit more. The weight is exactly what the international line weight standards say it should be and the heads are all 30 feet.
What is the taper like?
I think the taper is most similar to that of the Barrio Mallard fly line - my personal line of choice for general trout fly fishing and the perfect match for most of my rods. The total head length comprises the head, front taper, rear taper and belly and measures exactly 30 feet. That's a fraction shorter than the Mallard, which has a 33 foot head, so it feels like it loads a little bit quicker and felt slightly better on closer range casts to me. It's a little thicker than the Mallard and therefore takes up more room on the reel.
|Line||Front taper and tip||Belly||Rear taper||Total head length||Running line|
What line weights are available?
The Barrio Instructor comes in four line weights - a four weight, a five weight, a six weight and a seven weight. All of them are floating lines in the same weight forward profile.
|Line weight||Line profile||Line type||Head (grains)||Head (grams)|
|#4||Weight forward||Floating||120 grains||7.8g|
|#5||Weight forward||Floating||140 grains||9.1g|
|#6||Weight forward||Floating||160 grains||10.4g|
|#7||Weight forward||Floating||185 grains||12g|
So, how does it cast?
Unsurprisingly, the Barrio Instructor fly line casts well. A line pitched at instructors probably wouldn't sell if it wasn't great to cast, would it? It loads the rod nicely making it possible to see and feel the loading point with ease and it throws lovely stable loops. Obviously, as the head is short by distance casting fly line standards, this isn't a line that is designed to be chucked to the backing knot. (Though I did have a try, and it can be!) However, for general roll and overhead casting, it's spot on.
As I'd expected, it feels a bit like the excellent Barrio Mallard, but I'd probably struggle to tell the difference if I was blindfolded. I tried it on a couple of six weight rods - my beloved Loop Evotec 690F and an Orvis Helios 10' #6 tip flex. These are pretty fast actioned rods - especially the Helios - and it worked well on both. The Helios really excels at distance so tends to be used with a Barrio GT90 or GT125, and some lines don't load it quick enough for close range casting, but the Instructor did.
What's it like to fish with?
As I quite like a colourful line so I can see it more easily when fishing buzzers and the like, I thought I'd give this a try. It does indeed make an excellent line for general fly fishing, performing well for dries and buzzers in particular. The bright colour doesn't seem to make that much difference to catch rate either.
It's got quite a hard, shiny finish to it, but Barrio lines usually soften and become limper after a few trips, so I am guessing this will, too. It shoots very well and turns flies (and indicators) over really well. It's a good line to fish with, as well as to cast. It is, however, rather thicker than the Mallard and doesn't hang as limp, so isn't quite as proficient in my opinion.
How much does it cost?
The Barrio Instructor fly line sells for just £30. The very low asking price might make you think you're getting a "cheap" line, but these are really only cheap in price, and they're on par with the best lines costing twice as much from the big name brands. They're superb value for money, whether you're an instructor or just a fly fisher.
Available from: Barrio Fly Lines