What is the Wychwood Connect Series Distance Rocket Floater?
The new Distance Rocket Floater is a fly line aimed at medium to long range fishing for stillwater trout, whether you're on the bank or in a boat. The line is part of Wychwood's new Connect Series of fly lines, which replaced the popular Charles Jardine range of a couple of years ago. These very smartly packaged fly lines are very competitively priced and come in a wide range of profiles and densities to suit loads of different fly fishing situations, on both stillwaters and rivers.
What profile does this fly line have?
The Distance Rocket Floater is one of three new Wychwood fly lines which use their recently launched Energy Taper. This is a bit like an integrated shooting head and uses an aggressive weight forward profile to help the rod load quickly. That means you can reach fish that are a bit out of your normal casting range and can let you reduce the number of false casts required.
The Distance Rocket Floater has a long belly section after the thicker head section and before the usual very thin running line. The total head length is about 40 feet.
What other fly lines use the Energy Taper?
There are three new lines using this shooting head style Energy Taper: the Distance Rocket Floater, the Hoverer (a standard intermediate) and the Ghost Intermediate (a fast intermediate). They're all 36.5m or 120 feet long, to provide more than enough for the average person.
The measurements of the head aren't that clear, but the first part is 2.36m and the belly is 9.7m so you end up with 11.97m or about 40 feet of combined head and belly prior to the running line. That's on the long side for a shooting head, but shorter than a proper long belly line, like a Barrio GT125, which has a massive 70 foot head.
Wychwood says: "These lines have a long belly - 9.7 metres in fact - but with an incredibly short front taper of just 2.36m, compared to 3.2m on the rest of our distance-oriented lines. This longer belly means there’s more weight outside the rod tip on the cast and what this does is load the rod more effectively for range casting."
Does it have welded loops?
Yes, the Wychwood Connect Series fly lines are fitted with tiny welded loops at the front end only. These are getting much better on modern fly lines so the days of chopping them off are long gone. Wychwood's loops are neat, tiny and well constructed so you end up with a leader connection point that's smaller and less splashy than using a braided loop and far less hassle than a nail knot.
What's it like to use?
As the name suggests, this is definitely a fly line best suited to longer distance fishing. Although it loads quickly, the longer belly means the head feels relatively long compared to a regular style integrated shooting head line. The thickness and extra friction of the exaggerated weight forward head section mean it also takes a few false casts to get it into position.
The technique you use will depend on how much line you're capable of carrying when you cast. George was most comfortable with about 5-10 feet of the thicker, white head section within the rod as his weaker arms couldn't carry the full head and belly. I aerialised the whole thing, but this does require a bit more room. As with similar lines, aerialise too much and the thin running line and excess "overhang" makes the loop collapse.
It takes a few casts to get used to how it behaves, but after a while you'll be making a few good double hauls and watching the thin yellow running line shoot out! It's great fun to cast. The thick head means it's also excellent at turning over flies. Buoyancy is superb. These lines float really high on the water surface so lift off perfectly.
I've been using the #7 line on my Loop Evotec and it works very, very well. However, I've also purchased the #6 line for my other Loop rod. Both are excellent. The #7 line is better suited to the 40' head than the #6 in everyday use, in my opinion. I would personally prefer a shorter head on the #6 line. You do need a good amount of room behind you to aerialise all that, so a slightly shorter head might get you into the thin and shootable running line quicker.
There is a downside in longterm use - the floating ability tends to wear off. Mine has now turned into a midge tip and won't stay afloat at the tip. Even regular treatment with silicone paste won't keep it up...
How far does it go?
It really flies! I used the #7 line in a recent British Fly Casting Club event and recorded a personal best distance of 116'! That was the entire line and a bit of the backing. (A lot of people think if you've got the whole line outside the tip you've cast that distance, however, the line never lies completely straight due to the wind, so will always be a bit shorter.) It would have gone further as the line bounced back at the end of the cast as I didn't pull enough backing off the reel.
120' plus is easily achievable by a good caster on grass, though I'd struggle with a fly attached on water, I suspect. Well over 100' is easily achievable with a decent haul, though. George, who is now 10, cast the line a personal best 86'!
Can you use the Distance Rocket Floater for closer range fishing?
You can use the Distance Rocket Floater fly line at close range, but as with most shooting heads, the head section is quite thick and doesn't shoot well as a result. It also sounds a bit screechy as it goes through the rings, so there must be a bit of friction with this section of the line.
For best results, you really do want to get most of the head out of the rod, aerialise it and shoot the rest. The running line is much thinner, slicker, lower in friction and shoots like you wouldn't believe.
For closer range work, you'd be far better off with one of the other lines in Wychwood's range aimed at presentation, such as its Feather Down Floater or the standard Rocket Floater, which has a far less weight forward profile than the Energy Taper lines.
Does it have any memory?
George has been using the standard Rocket Floater (and the Charles Jardine version that went before it) for some time and I've always been impressed with the way that lies so straight on the water surface. The Distance Rocket Floater is definitely not like a coiled spring but doesn't lie quite as straight as the standard Rocket Floater.
Like most floating lines, especially those with a thicker floating head, there is a little bit of memory to this line when it first comes off the reel. A gentle stretch does help reduce this a lot and it's really only noticeable when the line is static on the water surface and isn't being retrieved. The running line is beautifully limp and really thin, too. I'm sure this will reduce as the line wears in a bit and gets stretched out.
How much do these fly lines cost?
Wychwood's Connect Series fly lines are very competitively priced. The Distance Rocket Floater model costs just £34.99, which represents excellent value for money given the quality and performance. If you're looking for a fly line for fishing at distance, these are definitely well worth a look.
More information: Wychwood Game