RIO Flats Pro Stealth Fly Line Review

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By Louis Cahill

The new Flats Pro Stealth fly line looks to be RIO’s best offering in years.

Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. This fly line answers some very big questions for me and my first outing with it was a success. The Flats Pro delivered everything I need from a fly line, and a little more.

I have had a love-hate relationship with almost every saltwater line I ever owned. I have often thought of slicing together the sections I like from several lines but I’ve never trusted the technique for large saltwater species. I have only fished the Flats Pro Stealth 4 days but, from what I’ve seen, it’s the chimera I’ve been looking for. Each section of the line gives me the performance I’m looking for and the line as a whole functions as an efficient and precise fishing tool. Notice I say “fishing,” not casting. The Flats Pro cast great but there is so much more to this line than the cast.

The basics by section

Front Body

Lot’s to talk about here. The front body of the Flats Pro Stealth is made up of a 6 foot clear, intermediate tip and a 6 foot front body. The entire 12 feet of the front body is designed to make delicate presentations. Thats key with spooky saltwater species but often comes at a cost. Not so much with the Flats Pro. More on that when we talk about the body of the line.

Screen-Shot-2017-09-09-at-10.02.37-PMThe 6 foot clear, intermediate tip offers the ultimate in stealthy presentation. I’ve fished clear, and clear tip lines for years and can attest to their effectiveness at not spooking fish on tough presentations. I definitely made use of that with the Flats Pro.

So why not make the entire 12 foot front body clear? Two reasons. Experienced saltwater anglers always watch their fly line as the retrieve the fly to see how current and boat movement effect their presentation. Guides watch it too and give their clients direction based on the movement of the line. The 6 foot clear tip leaves enough line visible for the angler to use, and enough to be effective for fishing. It also keeps your fly at an effective depth for species like tarpon.

The anglers who this is going to pay off for in spades are the folks who struggle turning over a leader thats 12 feet or better in length. With the Flats Pro Stealth you can shorten that leader to a manageable 9 feet and still have 15 feet of clear line to your fly. As I’ve said many times, there are few things as important in the salt as turning over your leader. If you struggle doing it, this line is going to help you immeasurably.


As I said, a delicate front taper makes soft presentations, but often at a cost. Many anglers struggle to turn over their leader, and sometimes even the tip of the line, when the wind gets up. The Flats Pro backs up its front body with a healthy 14 foot main body, which delivers plenty of power to turn your leader and fly over cleanly.

Rear Taper

The rear taper of the Flats Pro is another 12 feet. This gives you plenty of control over the 38 feet of combined head. There is a color change in the middle of the combined head, and another where the rear taper ends. this helps the angler judge distance, load the rod and shoot line more effectively.

Handling Section

There is a beefed up 12 foot handling section behind the rear taper. This gives the angler carrying control over a solid 50 feet of fly line! Thats a big asset when trying to make a long, accurate cast.

Running Line

Running line is too often taken for granted. That is, until it knots up and sticks in your guides with a fish on. The running line on the Flats Pro behaves beautiful on the boat and makes line management easy. It also actually floats when wading which saves all kind of headaches.

Core and Coating

RIO’s Directcore is very low stretch which is great for solid hook sets and powerful double hauls. It lays out beautifully straight on the water, which keeps you in touch with your fly and improves accuracy. A simple stretch, and the line relaxes immediately. The coatings are smooth and slick and float well, even in the running line.


The performance of the Flats Pro Stealth was outstanding at every turn.

I matched an 8 weight Flats Pro Stealth with my 8 weight Scott Meridian, which was a very happy pairing. It loaded up quickly and made accurate short casts with nice presentations. It managed the wind well, although it didn’t blow more than about 10 MPH so we’ll see what happens when it blows 30, but I have a good feeling about it. It excelled on long accurate casts, getting a few cheers from my fishing buddies.

DSCF8917-EditOn one specific shot I feel like the clear tip really helped me out. We were poling a flat with a cloud passing over and when the cloud cleared, the sun revealed a school of bonefish quartering away from the boat, toward the sun.

That’s a tough shot. In order to put the fly in front of the fish you have to cast past then on the sun side. Even with a low side-arm cast, the odds of spooking the fish are good. Even if you don’t spook the school, you’re in the position of retrieving the fly at an angle toward the fish. You have to make small strips and hope the fish don’t see your line. Well, that shot landed me a nice bonefish and I feel like the Flats Pro helped.

The Flats pro Stealth retails for $119. No doubt, that’s a lot of dollars for a fly line. In the big picture though, when you think about what a saltwater trip costs and how important a fly line that performs is to success, I think it’s a no-brainer. The Flats Pro Stealth will definitely help put you on fish and that’s what it’s all about.

Get yours here!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “RIO Flats Pro Stealth Fly Line Review

  1. With regard to the cost of this fly line…. During the recent U S Open tennis tournament, I became curious about which ball was being used, so I took a quick look on the Internet to find out. Not only did I learn which ball, I also learned that the “average joe” can buy the balls at a cost of $90.00 PER CAN (3 measly balls!!). 30 damn dollars for a tennis ball – unbelievable. My point is: It doesn’t matter what our forms of recreation may be, there will be some cost to play. So, keep calm and fish on.

    • I apoogize, I am obliged to correct myself. Not being a tennis player, after posting my initial comment, I felt I should confirm the price of the tennis balls I mentioned. As a result, it is now clear to me that $90.00 is the cost of a CASE of balls (72 balls). Sorry all….

  2. Pingback: New Fly Lines From RIO | Fly Fishing | Gink and Gasoline | How to Fly Fish | Trout Fishing | Fly Tying | Fly Fishing Blog

  3. Louis thinking of getting this for Andros and Belize next year. You have a view on color scheme? Looks like the have a two tone and three tone color combo.

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