Rio GripShooter Running Line Review

I wanted to write up a quick review on the Rio GripShooter running line that I am currently using on my Mystic Switch Rod with OPST Commando Skagit Head. First, here is the description from Rio’s website:

A hard nylon shooting line with a unique handling section – the best choice for distance

      RIO’s new GripShooter is based on the very popular SlickShooter, but has a thick, coated handling section that makes it very easy to grip in cold conditions. The thin nylon shooting line gives casters maximum distance, is light enough to hold off the water at range and allows anglers great control of their head and fly far out in the swing. A neat 8” welded loop at the front end allows for fast and efficient head changes.
  • Thick, highly visible handling section for grip, durability and visibility

I am very familiar with the core of this line, the Rio SlickShooter. We use it for all of our chuck-n-duck setups as our main line. This is super slick stuff, and it kind of feels like a thick mono. It is also the cheapest running line I’ve found at about $15 for 100 feet. However, i wasn’t planning on using the SlickShooter as the base for my switch rod because it is a little thinner than I like for handling, and if you don’t keep the twist and coil out of the line it can bunch up a bit on you.

My options were a little thin at the fly shop before I hit the water however and had to make the choice between SlickShooter, GripShooter, and Rio’s premium running line, ConnectCore.

I chose the Grip Shooter because, like I said, I was familiar with SlickShooter, and wanted something more. And the ConnectCore, which costs around $60, was more than I wanted to spend on a shooting line. I may try it at some point as I get further into spey casting, but for now I am happy with my choice.

The main up-sell over plain SlickShooter running line is that the Rio GripShooter line has a coated handling section at the head of the line which adds a little thickness and texture to the part of the line your hands are on the most. On the surface this seems a little gimmicky, and I’m still not sure if it justifies the price difference between $15 and $40, but it does give the line a more substantial feel that helps dull the pain of spending more money.

Rio GripShooter Pros:

I’ve talked already about most of them, but I will try to explain my actual experience with the features

  • Extra thickness and texture of the handling section – So the intended bonus of a more substantial feel definitely helps. The extra thickness makes stripping the line a more accurate affair, especially in cold weather. But I also noticed that this handling section didn’t coil and tangle like the plain SlickShooter line. I didn’t take my time stretching the line while spooling (which is a huge recommendation for SlickShooter) and I wasn’t getting any binding through this section.
  • Bright color transition on handling section – I purchased the 35lb line, which is orange/orange in color. The handling section is a higher visibility orange, and the back end is a deeper almost red color. Now my OPST head is light blue, so I don’t really need the brighter color to see where my head starts, but I could see how with different colored heads and lines this would be an advantage.
  • Welded loop at the front of the line – Is this a $25 feature? Probably not. But it is really nice to have a smooth welded loop connecting your shooting head. Several times I pulled this loop to loop connection into my rod and tried casting. I didn’t notice any stops or snags as the loops were pulled back through the eyes of the rod. With standard SlickShooter you have to tie your own loop, and in my experience those knots like to hang up in the guides should you accidentally strip too much line in before you cast.

Rio GripShooter Cons:

  • Price – This shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent. It’s $20 cheaper than their premium shooting line, so there are definitely more expensive options out there. But it does hurt a little to pay $25 more for just a coated head and welded loop at the front.
  • Coiling and Tangling – Don’t be like me and rush this line onto the spool. Take the extra time to stretch this line out as you spool it up. The SlickShooter core is low stretch, and low memory, but it requires a good firm stretch to take out the initial coils out of the line coming off the spool. Also, make sure to get this line on your spool without getting twist. This is hard to do when you are stretching the line as you go, but take your time and you will be happy with the results.

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