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New Sunray clear floating fly line review (1 weight)

October 19, 2020 3 min read

by Dave Southall

This is a review of a 1 weight clear floating prototype line Sunray sent to me. These lines are available in #1 all the way to #9 from December 2020.

I subscribe to the Italian style of casting which uses a line many times lighter than the rod rating. The 1 weight Prototype Floating line casts easily even on a 4 weight rod!


 The widest part of the 1prototype weight line (mm scale), thinner than a conventional 1 weight line!

     This is a very unusual line, typical of Tom Bell’s unconventional, innovative approach to tackle design. It is made from a monocore with a transparent, highly hydrophobic material that appears to be very tough. The line is very supple with absolutely no memory. The cross-sectional profile is slightly flattened which in theory should do two things; firstly it should cut through the air better than the circular profile of conventional lines since aerodynamically it should fly with the thinner edge leading, thus reducing air-resistance. On landing it should lay on the water with its wider surface on the water surface increasing the repulsive forces due to its hydrophobicity. Furthermore its transparency should reduce the risk of scaring the fish.

    So how does it perform in real life? I tested the 1 weight prototype on rods ranging from a 7’ 6” Orvis 1 weight to a Sunray 10’ 4 weight Microlite SS in a range of conditions from dead calm to a brisk breeze & on rivers & my local small still water, fishing size 30 Buzzer Pupae & dry flies to Euronymphing with a couple of weighted nymphs. My leader setup was a 7’ tapered section tapering from 0.43mm to 0.2mm diameter with a small perfection loop at the end to which I attached 5’ of tippet or a tri-coloured semi-curly indicator & a suitable length of tippet.

  • Casting was amazing! Even on the 10’ 4 weight it cast effortlessly, even into a brisk breeze with a 12’ leader & size 30 CdC dry fly. It cuts through the air cleanly making long, very accurate casts simple & possibly because of its suppleness there is no problem generating very tight loops when required. Furthermore, there seems to be very little friction between it & the rod rings making shooting spare line simple.
  • It floats like a cork with not a hint of the tip-sink that some conventional lines suffer from. Also thanks to its lack of ‘memory’ it does not land straight then spring back in nasty coils that generate virtually instant drag on leader & fly. It lands, as cast, either dead straight or in planned curves when trying to avoid drag.
  • As for its transparency, only the fish could tell us if it is less spooky, but why not take advantage of the possibility.
  • As for durability see my comments below. It feels tough, very similar to the hydrophobic plastic non-stick baking trays that my wife uses in the oven that withstand cleaning with a mild scouring pad.
  • With no loop at the end of the prototype I found that the best way to attach a tapered leader was to use a five turn Albright Knot with 2 tucks at the end, coated with flexible UV resin. This made a neat join that passes easily through the tip rings of all of my rods


Tip of line on the left joined to a 0.43mm diameter leader butt on the right with a 5 turn Albright Knot (tucked twice) & coated with flexible UV resin (mm scale).

    After nearly a year of vigorous testing my impression is that this is a truly superb line that will nearly certainly prove to be a real game-changer. Despite some very harsh treatment, being used about 3 or 4 times a week, it is still going strong although the surface near the tip is a bit stained & requires treating with Lineslik a bit more frequently than when new. It has become my GO TO line when fishing with my 10’ 4 weight Microlite, my 10’ 2 weight Volition & my 7’ 6” 2 weight Microlite.

    Recently Tom sent me the 3 weight Long Head Clear line which I have been using with the 10’ 4 weight Microlite during the very windy weather we’ve had in September. It cast perfectly into the wind, even when it was gusting at over 40mph & on one day with winds gusting to over 50mph I caught 7 trout in 20 minutes from Driffield Beck by casting straight into the wind on a bend where the fish were feeding like mad on a mass hatch of Small Spurwings. The 3 weight line had built in loops at each end but not being keen on them I attached my tapered leader with a nail Knot.

This video is 1 of 94 casting tutorials explaining everything from basic set ups to master level casts

Fundamentals | Starting to Fly Cast

The basics of tackle
Language of casting
Sensory awareness


Fundamentals | Understanding Fly Tackle

Fly line weights, lengths & tapers
Rod lengths & weights
Leaders & tippet
Tackle to practise with


Fundamentals | Overhead Casting

How to hold a fly rod
Circles 8's & straights
Remove all slack
Plane of the Cast
Triangle Method
Overhead Cast
Stop & Drop
Retrieving the Line
High Back Cast
Breaking The Wrist
Shooting the line
Loop Shape
Slipping the Line
Stroke Length
The Forward Delivery
The Shelf
Drift Versus Breaking the Wrist
Backslash Forwardslash
Speed Ramp
Body Movement


Fundamentals | Double Haul

Intro to the Double Haul
Tackle for the Double Haul
Single Haul
Double Haul
Double Haul Fast Track
Cast Trajectory
Late Haul
Hauling Grip
Double Haul for Accuracy
Line Trays
Offset Alignment Guides


Fundamentals | Taking it to the Water

The Lift
Pick Up & Lay Down Cast
Roll cast
Energy of a Roll Cast


Advanced | Spey Casts

Intro to Spey Casting
Switch Cast
45 Degree Single Spey
Backhanded Cast
90 Degree Single Spey
90 Degree Snake Roll
45 Degree Snake Roll
90 Degree Double Spey
The Running Mouse
The Silent Spey
45 Degree Double Spey
45 Degree Snap T
90 Degree Snap T
45 Degree Circle Spey
90 Degree Circle Spey
Body Movement
Spey Cast Hauling
Beating Obstructions Spey


Advanced | Beating the Wind

Tail Wind
Head Wind
Side Wind


Master | Mends

Upstream Downstream Mends
Curve Mends
Reach Mends


Master | Pick Ups

Corkscrew Pick Up
Snap Pick Up
Roll Cast Pick Up
Double Spiral Pick Up
Snap Pick Up Variation
Aerial Spey
Cast Stringing


Master | Accessory Casts

Casting Big Flies
Feed Cast
Free Snag Cast
Snap Cast