Until recently, as most fly lines were designed around average casting distances, getting a good line/rod combination for very tight water relied more on the rod than the line, and generally the slower the action, the better it worked at touching distances. Over-lining solved some of the close-up stuff, but invariably reduced all but the fastest rods to noodles at longer distances.
With the new RIO Creek line that’s all changed. I tried the new line at the IFTD show in Orlando with two very new and very different 3-weights — a medium (fast-ish) action Sage ‘Dart’ that’s replacing the Little One series, and a very sweet and slow-action Scott F series glass rod that’s replacing the current F2’s. Both great rods, but at polar opposite ends of the action equation.
On the Sage, which after a quick wiggle felt a little faster to me than the model it replaced, I would have expected the rod to struggle with less than 10 feet of fly line out of the top guide but to be a bit of a weapon in more normal or longer casting ranges. With the new Creek line, the rod was as sweet as the Circa (to date Sage’s best short line rod in my opinion) in tight, but still handy for adding 30 feet to the cast with just a simple flick. On very long casts there was some hinging coming off the back taper while hauling, but that’s perhaps a small price to pay for big casts on very short rods.
With the new Scott F, any hinging was smoothed over by the very forgiving blank, and long casts were delivered with the authority I would’t normally expect from an action this slow or blank this short. 50–60 foot casts were simple, and up very close, even with just a few feet of line out, it was as good as any glass rod I’ve ever used.
While both the rods went well with the line, I would say that medium-action or faster rods will benefit the most from this taper and it could easily be considered a general trout line for smaller streams.
Wayne Peterson, RIO’s line designer, tells me the Creek has been made for tight water with casts in the sub 15–20 ft range, but is still able to deliver a big hopper fly on the lightest of rods. The line is available in 0 through 4-weight and comes in a two tone colour scheme with creme running line and a dark olive head.