Barrio Predator fly lines review

Barrio has produced a range of new Predator fly lines aimed at those who target pike on the fly and, as you'd expect, they're great.

Barrio Predator fly lines review
© Fly and Lure
Barrio Predator fly lines review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Barrio Predator fly lines review
Barrio Pike fly fishing Fly lines Estimated reading time 7 - 12 minutes

What are Barrio Predator fly lines?

The new Barrio Predator fly lines are aimed at those who fish for predatory fish in coldwater. They're ideal for the pike fly angler, but they'd also be great for use in cold saltwater to allow you to target bass, pollack and coalfish on the fly, too.

What sizes are available?

The Barrio Predator lines are sold shooting head style rather than using an AFTM line weight rating, so they're purchased by their head weight over the first 10 yards or 30 feet. There are three different weights available: 22g, 25g and 28g.

The lines come in three weights: 22g, 25g and 28g.

Which size line should I select?

I might be wrong, but I think the head weights make these approximately equivalent to a 11, 12 and 13 weight fly lines, however, Barrio says they're designed for rods from a stiff #7 to a medium #11.

Barrio Predator 22g Barrio Predator 25g Barrio Predator 28g
Rod line weight Stiff #7 to medium #9 Stiff #8 to medium #10 Stiff #9 to medium #11

If you have a medium fast #8, like me, Barrio recommend going for the 22g line if you generally go for a line matching the rod line weight, or the 25g if you prefer to over-line your rod to get a deeper load when casting.

If you have a medium fast #9, go for the 22g if you prefer to under-line your rod and keep it feeling crisp during casting. The 25g should be a good match if you pick a line to match the rod's rating, while the 28g is best if you like to over-line for better turnover.

If you're using a medium fast #10, then the 25g is the one to pick if you want to keep it feeling crisp, while the 28g should be a better match for a standard line's action.

What is the taper like?

Like most pike fly lines, these have a heavily weighted head and thin running line. The exaggerated taper means you'll be able to throw huge flies and turn them over far better than you'd be able to with a standard line of the same line rating.

The lines are all 100 feet in length, and have a 33 foot head section, followed by 15 feet of handling line before the thinner running line that follows. The handling line gives you better grip when hauling, and also improves the stability of the loop so it's less likely to collapse.

The floating Barrio Predator 22g fly line.

Are they floating or sinking?

The Barrio Predator fly lines come in both a floating and intermediate headed version. The sink rate of the intermediate head isn't stated on the site, but I reckon it's around the 1.5" to 2" per second mark, making it well suited to most pike fishing situations.

What colour are they?

The floating version of the Barrio Predator line has a pale olive head and a pale cream running line, while the intermediate headed version has a pale creamy yellow running line and a darker olive head, making them fairly easy to tell apart if you've got them spooled up.

The intermediate headed version has a yellow running line and a darker olive head.

What leader should I use with these lines?

To transfer the energy in your fly line to the leader and propel your budgie-sized fly outwards at the end of the cast, you'll want to use a leader with a thick butt section to aid turnover.

Barrio say they work very well with 5-7' polyleaders or versileaders, followed by a thick section of monofilament before your wire trace.

It was hard to prise the rod out of George's hands.

What are they like to use?

These are very impressive fly lines. I'm using the floating Barrio Predator 22g floating line and the intermediate headed Barrio Predator 22g IH on my 10' #8 Loop Evotec rod.

The Loop Evotec is an awesome rod, but the #8 is really the lowest line rating I'd consider for pike. My rod is 10' one which has a medium fast action model and comfortably handles flies up to around four inches or so using my current pike fly line - a Loop intermediate.

Both lines cast beautifully. They're very limp and lie straight on the water and have a lovely slick surface which means they shoot wonderfully. Some pike fly lines can take quite a bit of effort to cast, and can put strain on your shoulder, but casting these was almost effortless and, despite the weight, they don't make the rod feel overloaded at all.

I let my son George, 10, have a go and it was hard to prise the rod back out of his hands. "Ooh, this is good!", he said. He then clung onto the rod for the next few hours. While no pike were caught, he did use it to throw some big zonkers at the local rainbow trout and caught several.

George gave the lines a gentle test on the local trout population.

What size flies can they turn over?

Barrio says that the Barrio Predator 22g line will turn over "small to medium" sized flies in the 4-6" size range, at medium distances if they're light and aerodynamic. That suits the sort of size fly I tend to chuck for pike. 

The bigger 25g line, is suitable for heavy and bulky flies up to 10" long and copes better with wind and distance than the 22g, but demands a bigger rod. The heaviest 28g line will handle medium and long range casting, even in windy weather, and flies of a foot long or more.

The 22g line I used certainly has no issues with flies around four inches. The clever taper on the head turns them over as if they were dry flies. My largest pike flies - around 6-7" inches - also cast and turned over without issue, making the 22g model a capable line for light pike fly fishing. 

The little four inch pike flies I tie turned over like little dry flies - almost..

Do they come with welded loops?

No, like other Barrio fly lines these are supplied without welded loops (which is fine, given that a lot of people chop them off anyway). They recommend using Roman Moser salmon loops to connect the fly line to your leader, but a decent nail knot will also work fine too.

I nail knotted some 30lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon to each line. When the knot turns were pushed down together it gripped the line tightly and formed a small, neat and strong knot.

Do these lines fit a standard fly reel?

Yes, while some specialist fly lines (like the Airflo 40+, for example) need an extra large fly reel to hold them, the Barrio Predator lines are fairly slim in profile so will fit on a regular size reel.

I'm using a Greys GTS700 7/8/9 cassette fly reel for my lines and they both fit on with plenty of room, even with a fair amount of backing behind them.

Both the floating and intermediate headed line fit comfortably on a Greys GTS700 for 7/8/9 lines.

How much are they?

These lines sell for just £39 (including delivery), which is exceptional value for a pike fly line of this quality. Given that most other dedicated pike fly lines from major manufacturers cost £50-80, these represent excellent value for money.

They cast beautifully, turn over big flies and are of excellent quality. If you're looking for a decent pike fly line, you're not going to be disappointed with one of these.

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