In no-way am I professing that I am a Spey Jedi , just wanted to share my exprience so far with the RIO AFS shooting heads for two-hander usage .
A little background . I started swinging the two-hander about 3 1/2 years ago . In which I started casting with a Traditional stroke , top-hand dominant . From there I moved to a more modern style casting stroke . This is known as Under-hand casting , or Scandinavian style . It is a much more efficient way of casting , utilizing less line grainage to deliver your fly . Although this style can be used to deliver all line types , it was created for the shooting head type spey line .
The AFS Spey line is a shooting head or Scandi-style line . What makes this line unique , is the long front taper RIO incorporates . The long front taper is beneficial for turn-over . As the D-loop unfolds , heavier line constantly turns over lighter line , making problems that are usually assiociated with the wind a non-issue . The problem starts as the tip begins to unfold with the AFS . Since the front taper is much longer than most shooting heads , the diameter/grains ratio becomes rather low . So the AFS develops issues , delivering the larger flies we like to use for Salmon and Steelhead . So I started thinking ……..
The AFS experiment :
The rod that was used to conduct this experiment was a 13’7” 9/10 Scierra HMSvII . This rod likes Scandi lines in the 31g – 34g (480grains – 525grains) range and is a true Scandi-style rod , meaning the rod’s action is med.fast to fast , full flexing progressive taper and fast recovery . In North American standards , it would be a 7/8 to 8/9 .
The 8/9 AFS version is 520grains , which makes it the logical choice for this experiment .
I also used 10′ RIO Versi-Leaders , ranging from 40-grains for the floating version to 118grains for the 7.0 ips version .
1. 8/9 AFS floating head with 14′ Florocarbon leader (#20 tapering to #10) :
a. 35mm sparse waddington shank = disaster
b. 20mm sparse waddington shank = not much better
c. #4 Spey-type fly , with bead chain eyes = NO WAY !!!!!!
d. #4 Spey = very nice
2. 8/9 AFS floating head / 10′ removed and RIO Versi-Leader added and 4′ #10 FC :
a. 35mm sparse waddington shank = good
b. 20mm sparse waddington shank = very good
c. #2 Spey = excellent
d. #4 Spey-type fly , with bead chain eyes = just ok ….. maybe …..
Although the AFS did well with the RIO Versi-Leaders , it was trying at times with anything at 5.6 ips and 7.0 ips . Just too much grainage for this rod .
I modified my AFS head to incorporate the use of the RIO Versi-Leaders (poly leader) . These are more like a tip than a leader to me ….. the grainage speaks for itself .
(10′-FLOATING=40, SINK 1.5=52, SINK 2.6=66, SINK 3.9=72, SINK 5.6=86, SINK 7.0=118)
(14′-FLOATING=58, SINK 1.5=76, SINK 2.6=102, SINK 3.9=108, SINK 5.6=134, SINK 7.0=178)
By cutting the AFS Head 10′ back from the tip and adding loops (I’ll try to post a step-by-step soon of my method) to both ends of the cut pieces . This way a loop to loop connection can be utilized for both the Versi-Leader and the cut portion of the AFS Head .
The AFS Head is a very smooth casting line that generates very high line speeds that is just awesome in windy conditions . By sizing your fly accordingly , the AFS Head is an excellent addition to your spey arsenal !!