Wulff Ambush

Blog Forums Fly Fishing Wulff Ambush

This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Tim Pommer Jan 1, 2014 at 9:44 pm.

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  • #75860

    Curious if anyone else has tried this line? http://royalwulff.com/products/ambush-fly-line/ . I am hearing some enthusiastic reports about the line’s qualities for distance and roll casting. If you have tried it, what did you think?

    #75863

    Jon Conner
    Member

    I havent used one but it was designed for single handed Spey techniques and has a very short heavy head that would not be at all friendly for overhead casting, both from the short head, but also because of the weight, which is two or three lines sizes over the labeled weight.
    JC

    #75880

    Tim Pommer
    Member

    I helped design this line with Wulff. It is a great shooting line for overhead casting but you only need minimal false casts and it’s best for streamers or big flies – comparable to the SA Titan or Rio Outbound Short but better at single hand spey stuff. It is good for big water and really has no place with anything less than an 8wt in my opinion.

    It’s trying to be both a short spey line and an overhead shooting line so the weight designation is goofy – a little light for spey stuff and too heavy for overhead. For instance – I use a 7wt Ambush on my 8wt smallmouth setup but use a 9wt Ambush on my 8wt switch rod and a 12wt Ambush on my 8wt two-hander. Confused? Yeah, it’s a bit of a head spin. Their website does a decent job at laying it out.

    #75881
    Bob Riggins
    Bob Riggins
    Member

    A little off subject, but I’ve always wondered about line weights and switch and spey rods. Line weights are standard (at least in theory) based on the weight of the first 30 feet of line. Rod weights are a subjective opinion of the designer as to what weight line a given rod should optimally cast (ignoring for the moment attempts to objectively measure rod weights such as CCS). The stated “rod weight” of spey rods seems to underestimate the line that the rod should actually be used with. So why not just rate them correctly to start with?

    #75882

    Tim Pommer
    Member

    A little off subject, but I’ve always wondered about line weights and switch and spey rods. Line weights are standard (at least in theory) based on the weight of the first 30 feet of line. Rod weights are a subjective opinion of the designer as to what weight line a given rod should optimally cast (ignoring for the moment attempts to objectively measure rod weights such as CCS). The stated “rod weight” of spey rods seems to underestimate the line that the rod should actually be used with. So why not just rate them correctly to start with?

    Good question Bob – it is confusing. There actually is a spey line standard just as there is a single hand standard. Aside from shooting heads (skagit/scandi), spey lines are usually indicated by their weight or range of weight – 9wt, 9/10wt… Shooting heads do have a standard as well (or rather a recommendation) but they are usually never followed and this makes things confusing. Hence why most shooting lines are designated in grains – which is NOT a better method and actually leads to more questions in the end. Unfortunately, skagit and scandi heads account for most of the spey lines sold, especially in the US, so most people group the problems of spey designations with these lines.

    I wrote this a few years ago to help clear things up (http://www.scientificanglers.com/insider/2011/12/scientific-anglers-spey-guidelines). Not sure if it ever helped. Simon at Rio has done several pieces like this as well. Like all things fishing, time on the water will answer the questions. Digging around on the interwebs will only make your head spin.

    The problem is multifaceted – rod manufacturers and line manufacturers are not in sink, rod manufacturers are making several rods to cover similar situations, line manufacturers are making several lines to cover similar situations, there are too many ‘experts’ out there claiming that even the slightest differences in grain windows makes or breaks the cast (which is total BS), line companies are providing a larger grain ranges with smaller increments to address all the said experts…the list goes on.

    The good news is that rod manufacturers are starting to recommend lines on their websites. They are really the ones with the power to lessen the confusion and I think things are starting to shift in the right direction.

    #75883

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    Tim in real world terms which of these statements is more accurate:

    (A) Fly lines are designed to hit a designated grain window and rod manufacturers design their rods to cast a designated weight of line; OR

    (B) Fly line and rod manufacturers both design mainly by feel with grain window designations largely being a relic of a simpler time in terms of both rod and line design.

    Thanks,
    Zach

    #75885

    Tim Pommer
    Member

    The answer is probably both, although A tends to be the norm.

    Fly lines are made to a weight spec since it’s the mass/distribution of mass of the line that drives all the performance characteristics. The reference point for weight is the AFTMA standard but lines obviously sway from the standard quite a bit depending on the application – like the Ambush line where the 8wt Ambush is heavier than the AFTMA 10wt. This works for big flies and single hand spey techniques but this line would be the absolute worst option for throwing midges.

    I really have no experience with what the rod manufacturers are doing aside from some conversations with a few friends in the industry. I believe they generally do the same thing – use the AFTMA standard as a reference and tweak things from there. Obviously, we all know of rods that are labeled as one size but really perform like another.

    There are two ways of looking at this problem – one way is to keep everything to the standard and assume the user/angler is savvy enough to know to go up or down in size depending on the application. The other way is assume the angler/user does not know and as the manufacturer, purposely over/under size the item per the application. After helping out the SA customer service group for about 5 years, I tend to lean more toward the fact that the angler is not savvy enough and masking the product is the better approach. Unfortunately, neither of the options are good in the end for the consumer.

    #75887
    Tom Hazelton
    Tom Hazelton
    Member

    Good stuff Tim. For what it’s worth I agree with your last assessment, as much I don’t like it.

    The irony is that it forces the line junkies to experiment until they find the perfect setup, which is really what they should be doing anyway. These are guys out there who think you should be able to make a perfect rod and line match with nothing but the internet and a calculator.

    #75889
    Bob Riggins
    Bob Riggins
    Member

    I have a little different perspective on this since I build custom rods. Production rods and lines are built for the mass market, so there are necessarily compromises being made. On the consumer side, each person has a certain “feel” that is right for them, i.e., the right combination of rod and line. All but the most dedicated fly angler, do not have the time, money or experience to correctly match the two. In the past, a good fly shop could get a feel for what the customer wanted, let him try some setups and eventually match the right rod and fly line to his needs. With a few exceptions, I don’t think this works anymore. Big box retailers and the internet pretty much leave it to the consumer to figure out what he wants and the average consumer has no idea how to do it.

    #75890

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    This problem also leads to the seemingly infinite number of SKUs (models) of lines being offered. The fishing public could probably get away with grain designations, sink rates, and a handful of performance tapers if we were all as knowledgeable as Tim and Tom. Unfortunately we aren’t, which leads to lines being marketed as “Redfish” for one application and “Carp” for another, where the only difference is a color change.

    Searching for the perfect fly line is a lot like searching for the perfect boat. You can wind up with a yard full of not-quite-right examples and never find the thing you’re looking for.

    Zach

    #75893

    R Black
    Member

    As it now stands, the solution would be for fly shops and line makers having every line available to test when buying lines or rods. I almost always test cast saltwater rods with the flies that I expect to fish most often (with the hook cut off mid bend). As far as I know every shop has one reel rigged with the corresponding line weight to cast and it is often a cheaper “test line”.
    To make matters worse, many shops have only a paved surface to cast on.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that all shops would ideally have a casting pond, a test line for every line that they carry and enough shop help to spend a half day with everyone who comes in door that wants to kick the tires on some rods or lines. HA, YEAH !

    No wonder that my flyline inventory is getting way out of hand.

    And Zach, I’m just beginning to try to figure out what kind of boat I need ???

    #75894

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    I am sure from the retailers’ perspective they would much rather not have to buy $20k worth of line inventory just to meet our needs. Tim, you guys should invent a 3D fly line printer. That’s probably not totally out of the realm of possibility…

    #75899

    Tim Pommer
    Member

    All but the most dedicated fly angler, do not have the time, money or experience to correctly match the two.

    I was fortunate enough to try virtually every and any line I wanted for any rod and fishing scenario imaginable. The funny thing was, after playing with different combinations, the best lines for the job were the obvious ones. Trout line for trout. Tarpon for tarpon. Nymph for nymphing. I think it is the exception that a line doesn’t match today’s rods. Keeping it simple is the key. Only very specific situations require some extra playing.

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