From the Mastery Series by Scientific Anglers, the Short Belly Taper (SBT) is more or less the exact opposite of the long belly lines I like, or at least thought I liked. The dimensions for this line are: tip 0.3ft; front taper 10.7ft; belly 8.9ft; rear taper 3.5ft; handling line 2ft – giving a head length, according to the box, of 23.3ft. So the head is ‘compact’ and the weight in the head is balanced towards the tip of my rod.
In the air this #4 felt slightly on the heavy side – he said quibbling – but fine nevertheless. My real problem was length; I automatically had far too much line in the air. SA has used an unusual colour setup for the SBT, the tip and the front taper are olive (aka Dark Willow) then the belly and rear tapers are orange, followed by olive running line.
Naturally, when casting the whole head I had a little olive line between the rod tip and the orange – we call that overhang. The head is 23ft and the olive line I had between the rod tip and orange handling line was roughly 23ft – we call that too much overhang. Pull it in, get to the length where this is designed to work and frankly this becomes interesting.
I tried the SBT on a 9ft and a 6ft 6in rod. On the 9ft #4 rod I wanted more line in the air, but that is simply a bad habit, this roll and Spey casts beautifully thanks to the taper.belly profile and casting overhead I can present a fly very sweetly. The head feels like it loads the #4 rod well. Allowing too much overhang killed the effect, this becomes an unstable difficult line. Bring that orange handling line back to the rod tip and again the SBT is a sweet line. With the shorter rod all became miniature, this is the right scale, the right length, for a wee rod, so I had a little less tendency to let the head get too far from the rod tip during false casting.
With a 9ft leader, the full WF head and these rods I am presenting a fly between somewhere between 35 and 40ft. Casting shorter is very easy, adding a little shoot is very easy. This is a 100ft line, at most I may need 60ft of that at!
In tighter spaces, or where fishing distances are more limited this line made a conventional 9ft #4 rod more practical. As a match to a shorter rod this makes very good sense. A slightly specialised line which deserves to be better known.
From: Alternative Tackle