What is the Sunray Distance Intermediate?
As the name suggests, Sunray markets that as an intermediate fly line aimed at distance casting. It has a sink rate of around 1.5 inches per second, so lets you fish your flies in the top few feet of water. Intermediate lines like this are great for fishing nymphs and lures and work well all year round.
Count to ten and your line will be 15" or 38cm below the surface, count to 30 and your line will be 45" or 1.1m down. You can then pull or twiddle it back and it will remain on a relatively level plane, keeping your flies in the feeding zone for longer than a floating line counted-down to depth could.
What profile does this line have?
The Sunray website doesn't provide much information on this line, other than to say it's designed for "extreme distance". There are no head measurements provided, but I reckon it's somewhere around the 33-foot mark on my #6 line. It's a twin-colour fly line and comes in two colours; mine has a blue head and a white running line, but the #7 version has a blue head and yellow running line.
With most twin-colour fly lines, you tend to find that the head is a different colour to the running line to help you find the load point so you can prevent having too much overhang in your cast. The basic idea is that you get the coloured portion to the tip and then shoot the rest because if you aerialise the thin running line it won't be able to support the head and your loop will go all floppy...
Oddly, for a twin-coloured line, the colour doesn't extend the full length of the head. On mine, only the first 18 feet of the head is blue, with a further 15-18 feet of thicker white line before it joins the thin running line. While the twin-colour approach isn't essential in a fly line, I thought it was a bit odd to break the convention. Maybe I'm missing something, though.
How does it feel in the hand?
Like Sunray's other lines, this feels smooth, fairly soft and very slick in the hand. It's relatively limp and has little or no coiling. There will be a bit of memory when you first spool-up the line, but that goes after a gentle stretch. As is the norm with lines of this nature, any coiling will also tend to be at its worst on freezing cold days and they'll generally be much softer and suppler in warmer conditions.
What's it like to use?
This line is lovely to cast. The lack of a fully-coloured head section does make it a little bit tricky to judge when the head is out. We found we were slipping a bit of line into our back-casts to try and get the head in the right spot and were often feeding out a bit too much line. It would make it easier if the whole of the head were a solid colour, we thought.
That said, you can still feel the right spot and once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy to get decent distances. To us, this felt more similar in casting feel to the Sunray Marsden Hi-Vis Shooting Head than to the Sunray El Guapo. The head felt a bit longer than the El Guapo's, it's a bit more delicate but also doesn't shoot quite as far.
It turned over flies OK, but isn't the ideal taper for really big patterns, we felt. The tip is relatively slim - compared to the El Guapo - so it copes OK with standard flies, but less well with really chunky perch patterns and the like. Distance wise, we were chucking it 60-75 feet fairly effortlessly, but it wasn't as good at distance as the El Guapo.
How much does this line cost?
This line retails for £65. At full price, that's under-cutting premium lines from the likes of Rio but is more than you'll pay from most other brands. I still find £65 rather a lot to pay for a fly line, even if it is a good one. I picked mine up for £28 in the Sunray sale, which I think is great value.