Barrio Midge Tip fly line review

The Barrio Midge Tip fly line is ideal for stillwaters as it keeps your flies in the sub-surface taking zone longer than a floater.

Barrio Midge Tip fly line review
© Fly and Lure
Barrio Midge Tip fly line review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Barrio Midge Tip fly line review
Barrio Fly lines Estimated reading time 6 - 9 minutes

What is the Barrio Midge tip fly line?

The Barrio Midge tip fly line is a weight forward floating fly line for use on rivers and stillwaters which features a slow sinking "midge tip" section about three feet in length. These are a relatively new addition to the Barrio range and have only been on the market for a month or so.

When would I use a midge tip fly line?

Midge tip lines are great when the trout are feeding just below the surface (which tends to be a lot of the time) as they give you greater control over the position of your flies using the line, so you don't need to countdown for so long or use weighted flies.

As they're a predominantly floating line, they lift off nicely making them easier and more enjoyable to cast than intermediates. The main reason, though, is that when fish are feeding subsurface, they let you retrieve with your flies in the right place for the duration of the cast.

They're particularly good when fishing nymphs and buzzers just under the surface. They're great for straight-lining buzzers, but also work well for small lures too. They're pretty versatile lines.

 A midge tip line is a good choice if you like to fish buzzers.

Do they also work for the washing line technique?

Yes, midge tips are particularly good if you fish the washing line technique. Here, you'd normally fish a very buoyant point fly (say a booby or hopper) on a floating line and suspend two buzzers or nymphs from the droppers.

On a floater, the nymphs would only be a foot or so under the surface, but using a midge tip helps suspend them a bit deeper, which can have great results when fishing emergers.

Midge tips are great for fishing the washing line - as we did at Westlow Mere a few weeks back.

Why do so few fly anglers use a midge tip?

I think they're something of a niche fly line, but only because there aren't a huge range of them around and most fly fishers aren't aware of the benefits. One of the most prolific fish catchers on my local water uses nothing else. Maybe this is one reason why he out-fishes a lot of the rest of us?

The Barrio Midge Tip is cream with a pale olive tip section.

What is the taper like?

The Barrio Midge Tip is based on the excellent Mallard taper. The Barrio Mallard taper is one of my personal favourites. It's a classic weight forward profile and loads well at fairly short ranges, while still coping fairly well with longer distances, making it great on small and medium stillwaters, and rivers.

How does a midge tip differ from a sink tip?

The new Barrio Sink Tip and Midge Tip lines are quite similar, the main difference is in the length of the sinking portion. On the sink tip, it's much longer at 10 feet, compared to just three feet on the midge tip.

The very short sinking portion means that you can use these lines to fish the washing line and fish the flies on the droppers slightly deeper than you'd be able to on a floating line. That extra depth control can result in extra fish.

What colour is the line?

Like the floating version of the Barrio Mallard, this line is a creamy white colour, apart from the midge tip section, which is a kind of pale yellowy olive green. It's nice and subtle.

Does it suffer from line memory issues?

No. Like other Barrio lines, this is very soft and limp and, after a pull when you first remove it from the reel, will lie flat and straight all day. The braided core means there's very little stretch.

How long does the midge tip take to sink?

The midge tip section has a 1.5" to 2" per second sink rate, making it the same as most intermediate lines. It's very subtle and is just enough to keep your flies just under the surface to increase your chance of catching.

The line lets you throw nice tight loops.

What is the line like to use?

The action, unsurprisingly, is very similar to the Barrio Mallard. The line is thin and supple, shoots through the rings well and hangs limp when you figure of eight retrieve.

Close range casts at the sub-30 feet range go out well, thanks to the weight forward taper, but it's brilliant at the 30-70 feet distance most people fish within. It's a really pleasurable line to cast and feels "just right" to me. Loops are tight and stable and casting effortless.

Obviously, it's not really designed for huge distances so isn't in the same league as the Barrio GT90 or Barrio GT125 which are designed for long distance casting, but for regular fishing on stillwaters and smaller rivers, the taper is ideal and it's far better than these long belly lines at close range, so will be a better choice for most. 

It's great for fishing buzzers when straight-lining, or using a blob on the point and epoxy buzzers on the droppers, as it lets you cover a wider range of depths than you could with a standard floater. It's also perfect for nymphs and lures.

How much does this line cost?

Barrio fly lines are only available direct from the maker, Mike Barrio, so the prices you pay for them are proportionally lower than fly lines of similar quality bought from retailers because the price hasn't been inflated with extra room for margin to give to a re-seller.

This means the mere £27.60 asking price (which includes free delivery) makes these seem like a budget quality line, when in fact it's arguably a premium line at a low price. I think these are great lines and you're unlikely to be disappointed if you get one.

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