Rio Elite Flats Pro 15-foot Clear Tip

Geoff Volter gives the new Elite 9 & 10-weight clear tip a run

The recent release of the Rio Elite Flats Pro was big news for dedicated flats fly fishos. The ‘Elite’ had a number of changes I consider improvements on the existing Flats Pro models which many regarded as damn fine lines. With a number of trips to tropical destinations coming up, I grabbed a 9 and 10-weight in the 15-foot clear tip versions.
For those unfamiliar with the range, RIO Products are always making user- focussed improvements based on feedback from the field. If they believe a product can be improved it will get an upgrade. The range features welded loops, low stretch cores, slick finishes, printed line ID, and colour coded distance gauges. Head lengths vary a little but are all just under 40 feet.

So, what made the new range ‘Elite’? RIO lengthened the head, and, most importantly, the back taper out to 50 feet and added a new SlickCast finish they claim is the slickest, most durable on the market. Slick coating claims are common among all the major line manufacturers these days, and durability takes literally years of use to truly verify, but after a couple of weeks of tropical use amongst rocks, fast strong fish and hot boat decks the lines are still like new.
The Elite Flats Pro range features four models from full floating to full intermediates in line weights 7–12, all sharing the same taper profile. There are 2 clear intermediate tips – one featuring a 6-foot clear section and the other a 15-foot. I am most familiar with the 15-foot clear tips. They are incredibly versatile on the flats and when chasing pelagics. A couple of quick strips and the fly is up near the surface ready for a water haul, quickly repositioning for another shot. These lines are also more than serviceable on barra in a number of situations.
When it comes to fly lines, my preference is for lines that don’t have short tapers at each end of the head, particularly in scenarios that require accuracy and control. The graduated tapers facilitate energy transfer and RIO has lengthened the head and the rear taper with the Elite
The 15-foot clear tip opens up a lot of options with leaders too. You can come down quite short or go out very long. I fish the RIO tapered 25 lb leaders with a tippet of 20 lb fluorocarbon. It worked well using Surf Candies to 4-gram crabs, although with that much clear section, it’s essential to focus on where your fly is.
If wading and fishing shallow waters, I would consider the full-floating model or even the Stealth Tip Flats Pro with 6-foot clear intermediate tip.
I have had some multi-density lines that are prone to hinging around the change in density. The Flats Pro is one of the best I’ve encountered in this regard.
Perhaps my favourite feature of the Flats Pro lines is the DirectCore low stretch core. Not only does the line really behave itself, the extra sensitivity on fly scrutineers like bastards and tuskies provides added feel. There were times when I thought the fish was just inspecting the fly, but the feedback through the line confirmed it was actually eating it. The hooksets are solid, and on some fish the sensation of being connected to a wild thing, and feeling every head shake, bump, and lunge really amplifies the experience.
I’m using the 9-weight line on my Sage X and Igniter and the 10-weight on my Sage X and Salt HD. If it sounds like I’m happy with my purchase, I am. The RIO Elite Flats Pros are great lines and definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a versatile clear tip.