What is the Barrio Mallard designed for?
The Barrio Mallard is as close as you'll get to a standard fly line. It comes in two forms - a weight forward or WF and a double taper or DT. Both of them are ideal for 99% of fly fishing done in the UK, whether it's on rivers or stillwaters.
What is the taper like on the WF?
The Barrio Mallard WF has a conventional weight forward profile. As the name suggests, this means that the majority of the weight is further forward in the line, so you don't need lots of line outside the tip to load the rod and make a cast.
On the WF, the line starts with a thin tip to aid presentation and includes a thicker front taper measuring about 10' in total. That's followed by a slightly thinner belly about 15' long, then a slightly thinner 8' rear taper, before ending in 57' of much finer running line. This gives you a line of 90', which is plenty for most people. You'd need to be a decent distance caster to run out.
How does the Mallard DT differ?
A double taper fly line is the same at both ends, hence the name. One benefit of this design is that when the fly line is starting to wear at one end, you can remove it and turn it around and get some additional use out of the line before it requires replacement.
It's also a 90' fly line and has the same thin tip and 10' front taper as the WF version, but there's a continuous 62' belly which serves as the running line, before finally ending in another front taper and tip.
Which version should I choose?
Most people will choose the WF version of the Mallard. DT lines aren't that heavily used in the UK. Some people reckon that the double taper fly lines aid presentation, but I'm not convinced that's really true. However, they can be more stable in the air when casting longer distances than a weight forward line.
I use the 4# Barrio Mallard fly line on my Orvis Superfine Touch fly rod and it's beautiful to cast. It loads the rod really well so I can make close range casts, but it's equally good if I want to chuck a fly a bit further - which isn't really what the rod is designed for.
Most people would probably be better off with the weight forward version of the Mallard though.
What are they like to cast?
Both the DT and the WF Mallard cast beautifully. I personally prefer the weight forward one and it is the best line I've found to match my Orvis Helios or Loop Evotec rods.
The running line is nice and thin, so you can feel when the head is in the right place to make a cast. You can cast a good distance with it and it's easy to make a nice tight loop if you need one. It shoots well, too.
Like other fly lines with very fine running line, you can sometimes get the odd knot in the running line, but these pick out quickly.
Do they have much line memory?
No, these are very supple lines and don't coil that much (especially compared to some Airflo lines I've used). There will be a bit of memory when you first take the line off the reel, though.
The best way to get rid of this is to give the line a gentle stretch between your arms a metre or so at a time as you start your session. You won't need to do it again until your next trip.
What sizes and colours does the Mallard come in?
The Barrio Mallard only comes in one colour, which is a sort of creamy white. The weight forward is available in sizes from 3# to 8#, but the double taper is also available in a 2#.
How much are they?
You can only buy Barrio fly lines direct from the manufacturer, so they're very fairly priced as there's no additional markup in there to give the retailer a profit. They'd undoubtedly sell for a lot more if they did.
They cost just £25.20 including delivery, which really is excellent value for such a well-made line. If you're looking to buy a new fly line you're highly unlikely to be disappointed with a Mallard.