Things That Suck… Sharkskin Lines

I’m sure there are some people out there that loves these lines… they may even have a fan club with a special handshake and membership cards.  However, everyone I’ve ever talked to that has fished them thinks they suck.  A good friend was telling the story of bonefish in a location that were so spooky they would scatter if they heard the fly line being stripped against guides and would run like hell if they heard someone casting a Sharkskin line.  Those are some spooky fish.

I found this bunch of reviews and thoughts on FishandFlies… after the first few good words it got bad for Sharkskin.  Avoid this product, I’d say.

Don’t do it.

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  1. bonefishbjorn

    These were the comments that would have been lost when I moved my site…


    Ok, excuse the lengthy rant that’s about to follow, but I have a picture somewhere of a brand new Sharkskin saltwater line LYING ON THE BOTTOM in a couple feet of water. Recap: Brand New. WFF8. On bottom. Sucking hard.

    I am an avid opponent of all things SA, pretty much until they can get their act together and make a floating line that actually floats. You want a top-notch slow-sinking intermediate line, buy an SA saltwater floater. No worries.

    I’ve tried their Bonefish lines for several years (probably like 8 times), each year hoping I’d get an actual floating line. Nope. Plain language: they freakin’ sink. I even emailed them and got a response from the head-honcho dude that “oh, we’re sorry about your experience, but (really) our lines do indeed float… of course, you have to properly clean them and whatnot, but they’ll float.” Corporate BS. Here’s a question, Mr. They-Float-I-Swear, how come I clean my Cortland lines the same way and they float, or my Wulff lines, or my Rio lines?

    I wholeheartedly echo your sentiments, Bjorn and offer this piece of advice to those who might be considering buying one, save your money and put it aside for your next colon exam: it’ll be a whole lot less painful and it’ll actually do you some good.

    There, I feel better.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm · Edit

    Preach it brother! That’s some good, front-lines stuff there. Have you ever tried the Teeny Bruce Chard line? That was the one I was throwing in January and I really liked it, but I don’t know how it stands up to time/abuse.

    March 2, 2010 at 10:21 am · Edit


    I’ve heard mixed reviews about this product. Everyone says it casts very well, but rubs your hands raw…and I’ve heard the sinking complaint too….

    I need to see my line though, so I’m staying away from the clear stuff.


  2. bonefishbjorn

    Another comment that would have been lost.

    Chris Goldmark
    March 4, 2010 at 1:33 am · Edit

    Roger that on the Shark Skin…have converted a lot of my clients to the Cortland Crystal PE clear floating. Line does have some memory issues but over all gives you an enormous advantage on the flats in the form of an opportunity for an extra presentation or two when it really counts

  3. That Crystal PE is a very, very sweet line. Tough as hell, shoots like crazy, cuts the wind, floats IN the water, not ON it, and is pretty much impossible to see. Those memory problems make it a difficult line to wade with (I’d not recommend it for beginning waders, for example), but from a skiff, hells yeah. As for being able to see your line: very true, very proper… but you get used to it. In fact, I find myself fishing better now that I’m using that clear line (N.B. Not catching more fish; fishing better). I’m fishing TO THE FISH now, watching their reaction to see if they’ve seen the fly instead of mindlessly stripping like a robot and hoping for the best. Like everything that makes us better, it’s hard at first, but rewarding in the end.

  4. Ok, I know I’ve beaten this to death, but here’s an update from a recent trip I took. I was running short on #8 lines (a freshwater buddy of mine needed bonefishing tackle on the trip) so I dug out the old Sharkskin. I remember even more clearly now why it sucks as a wading line. Aside from constantly tangling (the ridged surface grabs itself with little provocation), catching submerged grass and corals, there was one moment when I truly cursed myself for bringing it. I was following a HUGE permit that was drifting the deep edge of a flat with the tide. The only way I could track the fish was to stay uplight of it, which meant it was swimming away from me most of the time. Casting behind it would have been futile, but every so often it would turn and tail on something, feeding into the tide. When it did that I would cast at it. One of these times the fish was facing directly toward me at a perfect angle and I tried (in vain) to fire off a shot. In the few moments I had stopped wading to collect myself, the line had sunk and thoroughly fouled on the thick turtle grass! Aaaargh! I never did connect with that permit (but I did get a good follow a short while later), and I’m gonna call my buddy at the fly shop today and ask for another #8 bonefishing line… “anything but an SA product, please.”

    If I was in a skiff and it wasn’t too windy, I guess this would be a good line — it does cast pretty well, actually — but in a good breeze it would tangle like hell and wading, well, forget about it.

  5. UPDATE: I gave this line to a friend of mine who said the texture wouldn’t bother him and he always fished from a boat of some kind. When I asked how it was going with the line he said he thinks he tossed it in a campfire. That’s how good it worked for him.

  6. Well, glad to see the assessment held. I think their new textured lines are better… not the sharkskin, but the one mid-way there.

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