What is the Sunray El Guapo fly line?
El Guapo is Spanish for "the handsome", which is an odd name for a floating fly line designed for fishing streamers and lures for trout. I'm not sure why Sunray's Tom Bell chose the name, so I've looked it up so you don't have to. Urban Dictionary gives some alternative insights into the phrase's other meanings. One of them is the nemesis to the Three Amigos, one is "to solve a problem or obstacle in a comical way", and the other one involves, ahem, autoerotic asphyxiation (don't Google it...). Let's assume it's unlikely to be the latter.
What profile does this line have?
This Sunray fly line has an exaggerated weight forward profile common to integrated shooting head style lines. As usual, the head section is thicker than average for the line weight, but the running line is exceptionally thin. In fact, I don't think I've seen another fly line with running line as thin as this. In one of his vlogs, Tom uses a micrometer to measure the running line diameter at 0.57mm versus 0.83mm on the Rio Outbound. That's mega-thin.
The thicker mass of the head and the taper within helps turnover big, bulky fly patterns better than a delicate taper. The tip is also on the fat side. This gives the line a quick-loading feel and sacrifices delicacy for a bit of brute force. The El Guapo is around 85 feet long - good casters could comfortably hit the backing knot.
How are you supposed to cast these fly lines?
Fly lines like the El Guapo are designed for shooting, not carrying. Instead of aerialising most of the line you want to cast, by "carrying" lots of line in the air, with an integrated shooting head you simply get the head outside the tip and then "shoot" the rest. The mass of the head pulls against the thin running line and it will just fly out. It's very easy to cast when you get the hang of it. However, it's also quite easy to get wrong at first.
The trick is to avoid getting too much of the head outside the tip - something called overhang. The running line is so thin that it can't support the weight of the head and the loop will turn into a floppy mess and collapse if you slip too much line on the back- or forward cast and have too much head outside the tip. Just a foot or so of the head outside the tip is the maximum you want to allow in order to keep your loop stable and send the line to the other side of the lake.
What colour is this fly line?
The thin running line is a dark grey colour while the head is dark orange. That really helps you tell when you've got the head in the right place, just in case you're not able to feel it.
This version of the El Guapo is the 2018 model, but I believe the new 2019 version is tri-coloured and also features an extra overhang marker to make it easier for novices to judge when to shoot the line. "The overhang marker tells the user when to fire the shot", says Tom.
As usual with most twin colour lines, the distinction between the two isn't perfectly clear, so that overhang marker will be handy as it takes a bit of practice to get the head lined up properly for the best cast.
Does it have welded loops?
Yes, it comes with welded loops at the front and the back which makes it really quick and easy to attach to your backing and set it up. Sunray's loops are incredibly neat and thin. Few are smaller.
What does it feel like in the hand?
Like the similar Sunray Marsden Hi-Vis fly line we've been using for the past year or more, this feels nice and limp in the hand. There's very little memory and it lies fairly straight on the water. Any slight memory soon goes after a gentle stretch when you start your session. It's got quite a hard feel to it, which probably explains why it shoots as well as it does.Fly and Lure / YouTube.
What's it like to use?
We've got the El Guapo in #5 floating format and have been using it on a fast action Loop Evotec fly rod. As you'd expect for a line with a head of 30-35 feet or so, it loads very quickly and casts really well. If you're used to casting integrated shooting head style lines you'll love it. If it's your first experience with a line like this, it will take some getting used to at first and will feel much heavier than usual as all of the weight is up front.
It's quite an easy line to cast, just flick the head out towards the tip with a false cast or two, point in the right direction and shoot. With a good double haul (and even my half-arsed double haul, for that matter) it goes miles, making it quite a fun line to chuck. Even if you can't haul, it's easy to cast and takes very little effort, thanks to the really hard and slick running line. After half an hour of getting used to the line, George was soon able to cast the whole thing with a single back-cast!
The presentation isn't too bad either, given the aggressive taper. You wouldn't choose it for fishing dries, but if you predominantly cast bead-headed flies and the like then it will turn them over and present them well. To get a good presentation, though, you do need to be careful not to overpower your cast in the wrong place. If you give it too much welly, the line will dog-leg and won't straighten. This was something that took me longer to master than George!
It currently floats like a cork. However, the Marsden Hi Vis we've been using has suffered from issues with buoyancy and requires frequent treatment with silicone pastes to keep it floating on top, so hopefully, the El Guapo won't go the same way.
How much does this fly line cost?
At full price, these cost £74.99, which is a tenner less than the Rio Outbound fly line this is pitched against. That's good value against the Rio price, but pretty expensive as fly lines go. I picked mine up in a Sunray clearance for a mere £25 delivered, which I think was quite a bargain given the quality. Pretty sure I'm never going to see it again, now that George has seen how far it flies!