THE SCIENCE BEHIND YOUR ART
Fly fishing humbles us. It leads anglers to believe we are equal parts super hero and insignificant organism. It allows us to value the progression of cutting-edge technologies while taking joy in worn wading boots, entry-level pickup trucks, river-temperature beers, and afternoons trying to chase skunk off the boat. We at Scientific Anglers believe in a facilitation of the two, an ability to provide consumers with the best products available while enabling them to enjoy the simple, and often best, aspects of our sport.
Scientific Anglers began with three men (Leon P. Martuch, Clare Harris, and Paul Rottiers) and a single vision, transposed into a company spanning across the globe, influencing the way modern fly fishermen interpret and practice our sport. The cast, the rods, the reels, and the flies all connect through the cotter pin of fly fishing: fly line. Scientific Anglers became the unequivocal champion of fly-line production through leading market innovation and development during fly fishing’s early widespread industrialization.
Numerous editorials have been penned regarding the physics of fly fishing and the impact of polymeric coatings, evolutionary taper structure, core construction, complex density, and fluid dynamics. At the base of these arguments is a single common denominator: Scientific Anglers. We have implicitly initiated a majority of these arguments by facilitating the development of industry-leading technologies, a practice that inevitably leads to scrutiny amidst competitors. As we continue to walk one step ahead, our focus dwells on forward progress—a vision and mission which consistently and constantly pushes the technological limits of fly fishing.
At Scientific Anglers, we accept responsibility for Spey geek grain-weight battles, trout bum standard-weight struggles, and saltwater suppleness bar brawls.
We enjoy the dynamic struggle between old school, new school, and the evolution of customer and industry demands. What lies between the fish slime and truth is where we flourish. Scientific Anglers rejects the happy medians, the good enoughs, the that’ll do’s, and the status quo.
WHAT MAKES UP A SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS FLY LINE: THE CORE
In the world of fly lines, you’re only as good as the core you build upon. Without the right core materials, lines wouldn’t stand a chance against the harsh environments Mother Nature has up her sleeve. Over the years, we’ve dedicated hours upon hours to constructing
optimized cores for every fish, every environment, and every angling situation imaginable.
For each line, we select the proper core, which is then run through several specialized machines that coat the cores with various levels of PVC, which is then cured to create the basis of the lines you see in shops across the world.
The core selection is based solely on the application for that specific line. If it’s a trout-based coldwater line, we use a multifilament core. These are hollow, which aids in flotation. For clear lines, or lines that may encounter warmer temperatures, we use a singlestrand
monofilament core. These remain stiffer in warmer temperatures and naturally sink. Lines that are designed for targeting species in tropical environments rely on our Tropi-Core technology, which is a braided monofilament, built to withstand the harshest environments known to mankind. These cores remain stiff, no matter the temperature.
WHAT MAKES UP A SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS FLY LINE: THE COATING
A fly line without a solid coating is just like a car tire built without any tread. It might get the job done for a while, but it won’t be pretty in the end. As with our cores, we’ve spent countless hours developing and maximizing the performance of our fly-line coatings. We’ve created
lines that last longer, float higher, and shoot farther—all thanks to the breakthroughs we’ve made with our coating technologies.
Our coatings are based on a proprietary formulation of PVC, which is adhered to one of our cores, depending on the specific application for that line. Floating lines have several things mixed into that PVC coating: specifically, one of our slickness additives, AST Plus or AST, for
slickness and increased durability, and a measured amount of glass micro balloons for increased flotation. The AST Plus and AST slickness additives are incorporated throughout the entire coating, from the core to the surface, resulting in slickness that lasts the entire life of the
lines. Our major competitors simply overcoat lines, meaning their slickness will wear off extremely
Conversely, our sinking lines receive a highly specific amount of tungsten powder to create a highly accurate and reliable sinking rate for that particular line. These sinking lines also receive slickness additives, which are built into the coatings all the way down to the core.
The final coating technology we impart on some of our lines is our texturing technology. We emboss two different patterns into the surface of lines to reduce the surface areas, decrease friction, and increase flotation, which results in lines that float higher, last longer, and shoot
further than any lines on the market.
Scientific Anglers is credited with being the first fly line manufacturer to break from the tradition of braided silk lines by introducing something truly revolutionary: polymer coated fly lines. No longer did anglers have to treat lines to make them float, or dry them after a day on the water. Scientific Angler’s lines float higher, last longer, and require very little maintenance. Our proprietary manufacturing method allowed us to infinitely adjust tapers, to create lines tailor made for different environments and a variety applications. Scientific Anglers chose to use flexible PVC because of it’s incredible wear and bending strength and weather-ability. That’s how we make the most durable fly lines in the world.
What is flex PVC? Flex PVC is made by combining PVC with a suitable liquid known as a plasticizer. Plasticizers are added to make the PVC more supple, so that it can withstand the stress of being bent back and forth (casting for example). The type and loading of plasticizer determines how soft or rigid the end product is. Plasticizer science has evolved over the years and has adapted as needed. Older plasticizer technology used substances called phthalates which came under scrutiny and are now regulated by organizations and legislation like Proposition 65 (US-California) and REACH (EU).
Flexible (plasticized) PVC is still widely used in many different markets like medical tubing, blood bags, flooring, rainwear and boots, automotive interiors, plumbing, imitation leather, inflatable watercraft, and cable insulation to name a few.
SCIENTIFIC ANGLER’S CURRENT COATING FORMULATION
Like other industries, Scientific Angler’s coating formulation has adapted over the years to better suit the market and to protect our resources. Scientific Angler’s current fly line coating formulation DOES NOT contain phthalate-based plasticizers present on California’s Proposition 65 chemical list or regulated by REACH. We are committed to providing the highest quality, most durable and environmentally friendly products that we can.
A final thought, and different perspective on environmentally conscious products: testing shows that our fly lines are 2-4 times more durable than competitive PVC lines, and 7-8 times more durable than competitive non-PVC lines. We keep more fly lines out of landfills simply by providing a more durable product.