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Guideline Coastal WF-Line #8 Slow Intermediate

By Magnus Angus

Lacks a little colour contrast between the running line and head.
Lacks a little colour contrast between the running line and head.

Listed as a WF8 fly line, the box says this has a 10.5m head which weighs 19g. On a powerful #8 rod the Coastal feels heavy, handles very much like a shooting head and goes a long way. This line has me wondering if the list of letters (DT, WF, SH) we use as fly-line shorthand needs another term ... something like Integrated Shooting Head perhaps?

At 10.5m (34.5ft) the head of the Coastal weighs 19 grams, compare the weight/length of this head with a DT #8 line and I would  have close to 15 metres (almost 50ft) of that DT line in the air to match the head-weight of this line. Should my #8 rod be capable of handling that much of a DT? Of course it should. Nevertheless, this is technically not an #8 line, the AFFTA (AFTMA) Fly Line Specifications sets an #8 line as 13.6g at 9.4m (30ft). It is, however, designed to cast with #8 rods and it does cast well.

Looking at this as an Integrated Shooting Head, meaning the head has shooting line fixed to it, makes more sense than the Weight Forward description. So, casting short this loads a powerful rod very easily, get the blue head in the air and my casting stroke needs to be smooth, fairly long and deceptively slow. Due to the weight of line being thrown about my rod bends quite deeply, that influences the length and arc of my stroke. While I have the power on, while I am accelerating the line, I want the path of my rod tip to be as straight as possible. That mass of line also influences the tempo of my stroke, with a lighter length of line I cast faster using a narrower arc, this needs slower acceleration and a longer stroke to maintain a straight tip-path. Then the Coastal launches! Sending a fly to distance, well over 100ft, was very easy and exceptionally consistent.

Compare this with a shooting head and the line in my hand is a little nicer than typical hard shooting line and there is no joint between backing and head so I can haul with the rear of the head inside the rod tip and use this as a more conventional line.
The profile graphic on the box suggests the Coastal head has a long front taper with the bulk of the weight set closer to the rear of the head. That profile should suit roll and Spey-casting and it seemed to me the Coastal did suit those casts. This doesn't feel like a delicate line but turnover is not brutal, that long front taper does its job, smoothing and dissipating energy from the moving line. 

For the Slow Intermediate Coastal, the sink rate is listed as 1.25cm per second. Given this is marketed as a line for cold saltwater fishing I have to assume that sink-rate is in saltwater. I'd have no hesitation using this Coastal in fresh water where it would be a fast intermediate. Casting, this seems to me to be more dense than a simple intermediate, so treat it as a sinking line, roll the head to the surface, lift into a back-cast and send it on its way. That sink-rate means that with a slow retrieve my flies hold their depth, slightly below the surface, and fish without making a wake.

In the hand, this feels sleek and smooth, the coating is PU rather than the more common PVC, pleasant line to handle. Guideline make a point that this has a very low-stretch core; in running water that might give slightly more bite sensitivity, in saltwater I doubt it matters so much.

This has a pale blue head and Bone (i.e. off-white) running line. For me, and especially in dim light, the contrast between the head and running line is too slight, they merge into one another. The point of making a bi-colour fly line is to make it easier for me to see the head getting to the rod tip, so why use colours which make that harder?

An excellent fishing line if you are aiming at bass or sea trout in the sea, and a very long casting fast intermediate for freshwater fishing. Guideline offers Coastals in #5 to #9 sizes, and in three densities: floating, slow and fast intermediate.


Price: £59.99
From: Guideline stockists
Sample provided by Glasgow Angling Centre

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