Product Reviews

Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Streamer Express

by Benjamin A. Hart (benjo)

I was excited to get to try out the new Streamer Express from Scientific Anglers, like any specialty line, it's designed with one goal in mind, and this one is pretty cool - fishing nasty flies to big fish well below the surface. The line I tested was 400 grains and I ended up fishing it on a Sage XP for 8 and a Sage Xi for 9. Right out of the box I didn't like the line, I generally stay away from monocore monofilament fly lines and this line is just that. Visions of birdsnests as a result of memory danced in my head but nonetheless, I had it rigged it up on an Abel Super 8 and had to let it sit until I had the opportunity to need such a serious line.

I finally got the chance to try it out while steelheading. I fished it in the salt and in a bunch of rivers in Oregon and on the Clearwater River in Idaho. I was immediately impressed with it's ease of casting right to where the line shifts from front taper to running line, at about 50 feet. I didn't read the package when I got it and I was expecting the whole line to be designed for casting, I found that to be incorrect, but I also saw the beauty in this system. The first 50 feet is reasonably supple for a mono fly line which made casting pleasurable and accurate. The remainder of the line is a thinner stiff mono that is meant to be shot. At first, shooting the running line was a little more problematic than with a coated line, it tangled a little more, but after stretching it out on some snags it became more supple and fished better than mono fly line is supposed to. The running line, or the back 50 feet, performed pretty well for me at distances greater than most situations. I found that the properties of the running line prevented me from getting the whole line up in the air, but I tested this in the 400 grain weight and honestly, I don't get to cast big rods as often as I'd like. The whole line isn't made to be cast anyway and I found that greater distance could be achieved by shooting the running line than trying to cast the whole thing.

The Streamer Express mends okay as long as it's executed pretty quickly, before the sinking section pulls the rest down. I think that can be attributed to the slickness and smaller diameter of the mono line. It was actually pleasant to mend in order to get a better swing. Like any sinker, getting that line back in the air required a roll cast or two.

The Streamer Express got me to the bottom of some of my favorite tailouts that are unreachable with a floater and weight. I scoured the bottom of a little estuary with it, and it worked great. I mostly fished the MOAL, or the nastiest chunk of rabbit fur ever, with lead eyes, and two hooks! Turning a fly like that over properly was critical to my safety, and this line came through for me, punching streamer-type flies right to the end of the leader and right where I aimed them.

One thing I thought was really cool about this line. You know when you're fishing weighted lines from a boat or even on shore, and you're stipping and stripping and you really don't know how much line you've got out there? I do it all the time. Number one there's a color change that's more prominent on the lines that aren't light blue (The one I tested was light blue and I'm not even sure that they're producing it in this color). I rarely look down at my line when I'm stripping and the back taper of this line has a very well defined feel to it that on another line would likely go unnoticed. This feature was nice because during my strip I could tell how much I had left, and for most of my fishing the back taper was just where I needed to be to pick up the rest of the line from the water.

All in all I'd definitely buy this line to fill a lot of niche needs in my fly-fishing. I think it would be awesome on a 6 weight for fishing streamers to trout. There's a picture of a striper on the box, but don't assume that there aren't endless possibilities for this line, deeper tarpon, bluewater and reef fish, pike that are holding along deep weed beds...I imagine that this line would perform even better in a tropical climate that would soften it up a bit.

Here are the specs given on SA's web page:


    100' Total Length
    All Saltwater Express Wet Tips have the same profile, diameters vary.
    32' Total Tip Length (Including front taper)
    2' Taper
    6' Rear Taper 52' Running Line
    8' Handling Line
    4' Front Taper

~ Benjamin A. Hart (benjo)

Scientific Anglers
3M Scientific Anglers
3M Center, Building 223-4NE
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000
Call 1-800-430-5000 for the location of your nearest dealer.

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