Rio’s Elite Predator Line — Gear Review

Over the past year, I was looking for a fly line for fishing our local rivers in southeastern Texas. I wanted something that covered most of the water column in the wadable, medium-sized rivers where spotted bass, largemouth, and white bass (along with the occasional catfish, gar, or freshwater drum thrown into the mix) are the main quarry. I wanted a streamer line that had the feel of an easy-casting floater, but still had the characteristics of higher density lines. That is, a line that maintains a straight-line connection from the fly to the angler and prevents any belly forming in the line. I found that Rio’s Elite Predator Line series really fit the bill.

rio predator line
Rio’s Elite Predator Line series originally hit the market in 2021. The line comes in four different densities ranging from a floating line (lightest) to an extra-fast sinking tip (heaviest)

Rio’s Elite Predator Line series comes in four different densities. The lightest line is a weight-forward floating line, and the heaviest is an extra-fast sinking tip (seven inches per second). For wade fishing in medium-sized rivers, I decided to go with the Hover/Intermediate line, which was the next densest line after the floater. The sink rate on this line (two inches per second at the tip) was perfect for my style of fishing and could easily be tweaked if I wanted to get deeper, faster.

On their website, Rio Products claims the Elite Predator Line, in the Hover/Intermediate density, is designed to be fished in the first two to three feet of the water column. For the most part, this is true with unweighted flies like craft fur baitfish or hollow flies. When fished with a leader around six-feet-long, this combo is great for working flies over structure, like logs and weeds.

As advertised, I found this line to be quite powerful. I paired the line with a 6-weight rod, and it is capable of turning over bigger flies with relative ease, even water-logged Game Changers.

Personally, I enjoyed fishing this line with weighted flies like Clouser Minnows, Slump Busters, or a Lunch Money. Some of the deeper holes on the local rivers require a deeper retrieve, and I liked how the weighted flies sunk faster than the unweighted. The slower sink rate of the Hover/Intermediate line allowed the weighted fly to sink a tad faster than the line, which kept everything straight and prevented the line from bellying.

The Elite Predator Line in the Hover/Intermediate density works well when paired with a weighted fly like a Clouser Minnow.

I also found that I could fish large foam poppers with the Hover/Intermediate line. Deer hair poppers would eventually become waterlogged from the line trying to pull them under, but this usually happened after many casts. Foam poppers and balsa wood poppers on the other hand, remained on the surface and maintained their proper action, although they did lose some of their “pop.”

I’ll admit, when I first bought the Predator Line, I was apprehensive about whether it would last through the Texas summer. I couldn’t find any reviews on how the line performed in warmwater scenarios. The Texas heat and higher water temperatures can do serious damage to fly lines that aren’t specifically designed for tropic-like waters. However, after fishing this line throughout the summer, I’m happy to say it still appears to be holding up quite well. I see no signs of cracking or any sticky residue coming off the surface of the line.

So far, I’m impressed with the Elite Predator Line. I’m looking forward to fishing it more this year and next.

Robert McConnell

Robert McConnell

Robert H. McConnell was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. It was in the shadow of the Allegheny Mountains where he developed an affinity for fishing and the outdoors. At college, Robert pursued a degree in geology, which was one of the only classes that offered frequent field trips to the great outdoors. After graduating, Robert began a career in the oil and gas industry, which brought him to the wilds of northern Pennsylvania. He began fly fishing in earnest after discovering the joys of hiking into remote freestone streams in pursuit of native brook trout. Spring and summer weekends were spent exploring the vast network of streams and rivers along the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. In 2014, Robert and his wife, Ellen, moved from their home in rural Pennsylvania to the bustling city of Houston, Texas, the “Energy Capital of the World,” where they reside today. Robert continues his passion for fly fishing, but instead of chasing native brook trout, he now pursues the multitude of warmwater fish species that live in the surrounding waterways of Houston, Texas. Robert especially enjoys exploring the more remote waterways, including those found in the Pineywoods of East Texas. "Fly Fishing Houston & Southeastern Texas" will be in fly shops and wherever fine books are sold on February 7, 2023.

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