What is the Scierra Aerial Long Belly fly line?
The Scierra Aerial Long Belly is a special fly line designed for distance fly casting. Unlike a standard weight forward fly line, such as the regular Scierra Aerial fly line, the Long Belly has a longer more gradual taper which lets good casters aerialise more of the line when false casting.
The approach is the opposite to shooting head style fly lines, such as the Sunray El Guapo, in which you aerialise the head and shoot the running line. While the shooting head style gives you easy distance with minimal space behind you, the long belly style is favoured by many casters.
What are long belly fly lines suited to?
Although they're a common choice for competitive distance fly casting, long belly fly lines actually work really well as regular fly fishing lines. The long, gradual taper means they present more delicately than lines with a more aggressive taper. Long belly lines also help you cover fish at longer range.
As they don't load the rod so much when you only have a short section of line outside the tip, they're not quite so good at close range. Shooting head style lines are the opposite - they're good when you've got little room behind you, but they don't always land delicately.
What sizes and densities are available?
The Aerial Long Belly lines are all floating lines and come in three sizes: a 4, 5 and 6. All have an orange head section and a white running line and are around 90 feet in length, of which the head makes up about 46 feet. This is longer than average, but still significantly shorter than you'd get on something like the Barrio GT90, Barrio GT125 or Snowbee XS Plus Competition Long Cast, which have heads of 60-70 feet.
Do they come with welded loops?
Unfortunately not. You'll need to either attach a braided loop or nail knot some leader butt section to the tip before you use this fly line. While these lines aren't that expensive, it's always nice to get a welded loop on the tip end, especially as many makers are getting so good at making them smaller and stronger these days.
What does this fly line feel like in the hand?
The Aerial Long Belly is based on a braided core so has very little stretch. It's one of the most supple fly lines I've used and had no coil memory whatsoever when removed from the spool. It hangs very limp indeed, helping it lie much straighter on the water.
As is often the case, lines that are extremely limp generally don't have a hard, shiny coating and generally don't shoot quite so well as harder, shinier lines. This Scierra line falls into that category - it shoots OK, but not as well as some lines with a harder coating. The upside of this is that it's really, really supple.
What is the Aerial Long Belly like to use?
As this line has a 46-foot head, you need to get this amount of line outside the tip to make the rod load fully. At closer range, the rod will feel somewhat underweight and delicate. This is fine for dries and smaller patterns and means presentation is very gentle, but the line doesn't really start working fully until the whole 46-feet is outside the rod tip.
The head is a dark orange colour and stands out nicely from the white running line, so it's easy to tell when the head is in the right spot. The line casts really well, forming nice stable loops and landing very softly. It's a great line for fishing smaller flies, especially dries and nymphs, but the taper doesn't really suit chucking big, bulky fly patterns or indicators, as you would expect.
Before you buy one, I'd suggest thinking about the amount of line you can carry when casting. It takes a fairly decent caster to aerialise this much line, as well as a reasonable amount of room behind you, so if you're after easy distance and can't double haul and carry 50 feet of line, then I'd suggest another line with a shorter head - maybe the regular Scierra Aerial or something like the Barrio Mallard.
Lifespan on the line will remain to be seen, but it's not an expensive one to replace if it wears out after a season or so of heavy use.
How much does this fly line cost?
This is a very cost effective fly line and retails for under £30 making it exceptional value for money. The £30-35 bracket is kind of mid-range as lines go - with most Greys, Wychwood and Barrio lines coming in around this price.