When you write about gear long enough, you learn to take with a grain of salt the "excitement" that comes with each new product release. Being exuberant, elated, or otherwise stoked about a new piece of gear is, after all, a marketer's job. And so, despite the regular churn of truly innovative products and technological advancements that the fly fishing industry produces, you develop a habit of reading past the ad speak and relying on your own impressions. In the process, however, you also develop a knack for detecting when the folks that design, develop and/or take on the job of selling a new product are genuinely excited about their shiny new thing. With SlickCast, a brand new fly line coating that Idaho Falls-based fly line maker RIO developed and recently introduced, we've got our genuine excitement receptors being triggered.
And RIO certainly isn't hiding that excitement, or being bashful when in comes to making impressive claims. In fact, they're doing the opposite. In addition to proudly labeling its new SlickCast coating as the "most significant technology" ever introduced to the world of fly lines, RIO has boasted that SlickCast-coated lines have the lowest amount of friction ever measured on a fly line and that they'll last longer than any other fly line, thanks to the durability of the coating.
As fly lines go, them's fightin' words.
Lest those words be taken as hyperbolic, RIO headed to the lab wearing super legit-looking safety glasses and emerged with numbers to quantify their claims. In terms of slickness, RIO reports that, in a test designed to measure the force required to pull a fly line through a series of chrome bars (which introduce friction), SlickCast lines required 49% less pulling force than their closest competitor. As far as durability goes, RIO says their tests showed SlickCast lines to be 33% more resistant to cracking and over 140% more resistant to abrasion than the next "toughest" fly line on the market.
RIO is debuting SlickCast in eight of its lines. Four of these are RIO's new "Elite" tier of lines which, at $119, are the brand's first lines to crack the $100 barrier—though other manufacturers have been selling $100+ fly lines for years. All of the lines in the "Elite" tier include the new SlickCast coating, plus a brand new core RIO also recently developed and dubbed ConnectCore Plus, as well as all of the expected, hallmark tech/features found in RIO's other lines. Comprising this new lineup are "Elite" versions of some of RIO's most popular tapers: the RIO Gold, RIO Grand, RIO Technical Trout and RIO Perception.
You can also pick up these same four tapers with the new SlickCast coating and all of the expected other RIO technology, but minus the new ConnectCore Plus, in RIO's "Premiere" lineup. MSRP on the Premiere SlickCast lineup is $89, a price tag most anglers are more accustomed to.
Whether RIO's impressive claims and lab results translate into real world advantages no doubt remains to be seen, but expect plenty of feedback from your fellow fly anglers as more and more of these new SlickCast lines hit the water. One thing, however, seems certain given RIO's excitement: anglers can expect to see SlickCast introduced to a variety of RIO's other popular lines—such as its saltwater, two-handed and other speciality lines—over the next year or so.