Magnitude clear fly line
Scientific Anglers

Clear Fly Line: An Awesome Fishing Innovation

Scientific Anglers' R&D manager explains how new Magnitude clear fly lines make stealthier saltwater presentations possible.

Core fly-fishing brand Scientific Anglers just released their newest innovation, and it has (ahem) clear applications for saltwater fly anglers. For decades we've fished floating fly lines that are often colored blue, tan, beige, and even turquoise, under the guise that the colors are neutral in most saltwater environments and shouldn't cause an issue. And usually, really, it doesn't.

But sometimes it does. All it takes is casting to spooky, tailing bonefish on a windless day to realize that any increase in stealth is going to up your odds of actually hooking into a fish. And now, with Scientific Angler's new clear Magnitude Fly Lines, we've got one more asset in our favor. The floating fly lines are clear, eliminating the colorful tints we're used to seeing on saltwater lines.

The Tech

Josh Jenkins, the R&D Manager for Scientific Anglers, shared a bit of the inspiration behind the lines with Wide Open Spaces. "Floating, clear fly lines are nothing new, but they've always come with some drawbacks: significant coil memory, lack of slickness, and poor durability for example," he said. "Some anglers and guides had enough belief in the stealthy nature of clear lines that they were willing to work with the faults, but that prevented clear lines from reaching a broader market.  With Magnitude, our aim was to create the first clear floating fly line that behaved and performed just as well as our standard product range."

Scientific Anglers spent more than 2,500 hours of field testing the Magnitude Series, and development took three years. The lines use SA's Duracoat, a dual-polymer design that optimizes line stiffness, slickness, and abrasion resistance while significantly reducing line memory and tangles. The Clear Floating Technology uses naturally-buoyant polymers that are durable and maintain clear presentation.

The ability to shoot line long distances is critical for saltwater anglers, who are often casting to quick-moving targets on erratic courses. For smoother shooting, SA integrated EST+, an eco-friendly proprietary slickness additive. These two new technologies pair to bring a true high-performance floating saltwater fly line to market.

Why Clear Fly Lines?

Jenkins knows that fly anglers need surprise on their side, especially casting to spooky fish in clear water.

"The obvious advantage of clear lines is stealth. Any angler that fishes to weary targets, especially line-shy fish, will benefit from these lines," he added. "Within Magnitude, we have lines that are clear for their entire length and clear tips with 10-foot or 12-foot-long clear sections. Our clear tips will have the broadest appeal as they essentially give you the advantage of a very long leader while maintaining easy casting and positive delivery. Behind the clear tip, is an opaque head which allows for fly tracking. The fully-clear Magnitude lines excel when you may have to cast across schooling fish to hit your target or want the ultimate stealth."

The team relied on a long testing process with anglers around the world, which further showcased the market fit for clear, floating fly lines.

"Magnitude was the most involved development process that I've been a part of in my time at SA," Jenkins noted." "It employed the largest test staff that I've used as well, and interestingly, the test group grew organically through others hearing about samples and seeking us out.  Our test staff and their feedback are the reason that Magnitude is so great."

Line Offerings

Magnitude lines are offered in both textured and smooth surfaces. Some anglers prefer textured, saying it shoots better and moves a bit more smoothly through rod guides. However, textured lines can be hard on the hands and also make a bit of a "zipping" noise through the guides (some anglers find this annoying, while it does not bother others).

The four key fly lines in the series include the Grand Slam Clear Float, a three-quarters heavy fly line which is designed to turn over heavy flies, cut through the wind, and load rods with ease for quick shots at moving targets; the Tarpon Clear Float, which offers a short head for quick loading and a high-strength core to fight big fish; the Bonefish Plus Clear Float, which boasts an extended head length and lighter, half-size heavy weight, but maintains the short front taper to cast long leaders with ease for stealthy casts; and lastly, the Infinity Salt Clear Float, made a half-size heavy to turn over large saltwater flies in the wind, which offers an extended head length to help with accuracy over long distances.

READ MORE: Essential Fly Fishing Gear