SA Sonar Titan Triple Density Sinking Fly Line

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Streamers catch big fish. Photo by Louis Cahill

Streamers catch big fish. Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

The Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Triple Density, Intermediate/Sink 3/Sink 5, Sinking Fly Line is a true game changer.

I’ve been fishing this fly line for a couple of months now. I’m generally pretty skeptical of fly lines which claim to be totally new. In many cases I feel like fly line choices have gotten way too complicated and innovation is often marketing in disguise. While I certainly appreciate what a sinking line can do for me, I’ve never enjoyed fishing one and I’ve written them off as being all the same. I’m pretty pleased to have changed my mind.

The new triple density Sonar is a real solution to a real fishing problem and has changed my mind about sinking lines. It casts like a floating line, turns over big flies, gets my fly deeper, faster than other sinking lines, gives me positive hook-ups and doesn’t turn into a bird’s nest on the floor of the boat. Its performance is amazing. So why do I not see more anglers using it? Because it’s confusing as hell, I imagine. I’m going to try to simplify what makes this line work.

Let’s start with the name.

Seriously, they should have just given this line a new name. Although it’s descriptive if you understand it, it’s a mouthful and doesn’t mean much to the average angler. I know the first time I heard it, it didn’t register. That’s my only negative comment on this line and it’s pretty minor.

The taper makes the difference.

Screen-Shot-2016-08-22-at-5.14.04-PMMost sinking lines are level tapers. The tip sections of sink-tip lines (which are what most of us use) are level as well. With no taper to ease the transfer of energy, they are difficult to cast. They like to pile up and they struggle to turn over heavy flies. This means you work harder to cast then and you make less accurate presentations. Not awesome.

The Sonar Titan is a fully tapered line. It is built on the Titan taper, designed to turn over heavy flies, and coated with tungsten like any sinking line. Because it has a powerful taper, it behaves like a normal fly line, delivering weighted flies on target with a nice energized loop. That’s a huge improvement. That explains half of the name. Sonar is the family of sinking lines, Titan is the taper.

Why does triple density matter?

Int/Sink 3/Sink 5, There’s the other half a mouthful. That tells you the sink rate of each section of the line. The tip is Sink 5, meaning it sinks at 4 1/2 – 5 inches per second. The middle of the line is Sink 3, sinking at 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 inches per second. The rest of the line is intermediate, with a 1 1/4 inch per second sink rate.

Sink-tipThis buys you two things. First, as the tip rockets down the water column it’s not having to drag a floating line down with it, which is the case with normal sink tip lines. Although all sink tip lines boast rapid sink rates, they very seldom perform to those standards. Those sink rates are determined with short sections of line in still tanks. They never reach those rates in real fishing situations. The Sonar Titan is able to maximize it’s sink rate in any conditions. That means your fly gets down deeper and faster.

Because of the sinking rear sections, the Sonar Titan also gives you a more direct connection to your fly, and to the fish when it eats. Think about that normal sink tip line, and how the sinking tip pulls down the floating part of the line. The floating rear line lays flat on the water, while the sinking tip gets down to fishing depth. In between is a lazy section of line making an angle between the floating and sinking sections. That lazy line is creating slack, which you have to take up on the hook set. The Sonar Titan has no lazy line. It creates an nice straight line from angler to fly. No slack to take up when the fish eats. Given the choice, I’ll always choose no slack.

Better running line.

When fishing from the boat, tangled running line is a constant problem. I’m not going to tell you that the SA running line never tangles, but it’s the best I’ve used. Even in cold weather this line stays pretty tame. Less time untangling running line means more time fishing and less adult language.

That’s a lot of performance in a fly line. The Sonar Titan Triple Density casts like a dream, turns over big flies, makes accurate presentations and better hook sets. It’s made my streamer fishing more enjoyable and more productive. I don’t see myself using anything else.

Get yours HERE.


Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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18 thoughts on “SA Sonar Titan Triple Density Sinking Fly Line

  1. I’ve been fishing this line the last few weeks and I love it for big flies. It’s almost effortless to cast once you get a rhythm, one false cast to shed water from the fly and shoot to the target. Like any tungsten coated full sinker, you might want to cover your stripping fingers if you’re going to be at it all day. I like it so much I’m getting the intermediate version for low flows and slack water applications.

    • I’m glad you asked Kyle. We do not accept paid content of any kind. I see Mike has shared the review policy so I will not. I will say this, the only way we are compensated is if you choose to use the link provided. It is an affiliate link and we make about 3%. We work with Trout’s Fly Shop in Denver because we know and trust them. They provide the best price for our readers and excellent customer service. I appreciate the use of the link. It’s not much money but it helps us do what we do. It at least buys some beer.

      • That’s correct. It is an affiliate link and we make about 3%. We work with Trout’s Fly Shop in Denver because we know and trust them. They provide the best price for our readers and excellent customer service. I appreciate the use of the link. It’s not much money but it helps us do what we do. It at least buys some beer.

        • Good to know, thanks for clarifying. Just really hard to tell these days and quite frankly, I don’t trust anyone who stands to gain from a review. Maybe it’s not about trust, but cartainly need to take them with a large grain of salt.

          I specifically asked because you mention SA running line NOT tangling, and I have had exactly the opposite experience.

          • Unfortunately we live in a world where you have to be skeptical. I think you can judge our reviews on what we don’t review. As I’ve said in the review policy, I don’t write negative reviews. I don’t like negativity and I don’t see the point. Our reviews are so popular with manufacturers that I could write reviews 5 days a week and a lot of folks would pat for them. I’ve refused to review products from the biggest companies in the business because I didn’t believe in the product. This line review is a great example. The line has been out for a year, which means I’ve been using it for a while. Do you see a lot of line reviews on G&G? No, and I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a sinking line before. All I can say is I promise to be honest with you. I say all the time, I work for my readers. Thats what keeps them coming back and that’s what keeps me going.

          • Well, I’ll kiss the guy who invents a fly line that never tangles. This line is one of the best I’ve used. I love and fish the RIO Outbound but the running line is a nightmare. In comparison the Sonar Titan is a dream. This is not an accusation, but you may be doing some things to cause the line to tangle. The most common problem I see is that guys will kick the line around on the floor of the boat. When you do that the line rolled under your feet and it puts a wicked twist in the line. That will make it tangle immediately. Even just doing it once. Check this out, it will help.

  2. Louis
    I’m looking to replace my old sink tip and have a few questions.
    I live on the upper Delaware tailwaters and do a fair amount of wading.
    I understand how a full sink behaves when stripped on to the floor of a drift boat but when wading, it goes right down to the rocks and can be a real P.I.A. Thats the main reason I use a sink tip.
    Does the decreasing sink rate through the middle and running sections make the triple Sonar a better choice?

    Also when wading, when you shoot your line, the floating section of a sink tip comes off the water like a normal floater. The full sink has to travel back up through the water column greatly reducing the length of the cast. How does the Sonar handle in a situation like this?

    Any comments or thoughts?

    • Rick,

      I wouldn’t use the full sink titan if I were wade fishing, unless you had a stripping basket, due to the reasons you mentioned. I only use full sinkers from a boat and prefer sink tips while wading. I believe SA makes a titan taper in a clear intermediate sink tip which should turn over the big stuff but may not get deep enough for your application. For my wade fishing, I usually go with an Orvis type 5 sink tip that originally had a 15′ tip that I cut down to 8″ and rewhipped a loop onto. Makes it easier to pull from the water while wading yet still gets the fly down a few feet and is easier to mend.
      Hope that helps.

    • Honestly, I never fish a full sinking line when wading. It’s a giant pain. I seldom use a sink tip either. When I’m wading I have the opportunity to control the depth of my fly more than from a boat. I usually fish a floating line and long leader with a weighted fly. That’s my preference. I don’t think the triple density line would be a good choice just for wade fishing. I am a little jealous by the way. Thats some pretty nice home water you have.

  3. “Most sinking lines are level tapers. The tip sections of sink-tip lines (which are what most of us use) are level as well.”

    I still cannot get my head wrapped around the wording of ‘level taper”. A fly line has either a level section or a tapered section, it cannot be level and tapered at the same time.

    “The Sonar Titan is a fully tapered line.”
    So it’s entire length is tapered like the Double Taper lines of old?

    Hmmmm….I’ve read this review 4 times and all I can come up with regarding the triple taper, et al, is that it’s new fangled wording of density compensation. How this new line is so different from what is already out there is not evident to me. Totally confused and underwhelmed.

    • No fly line is tapered over the leith of the entire line. Not even a double taper. The Sonar Titan has the same taper as the normal Titan line. You can find a diagram on the SA site. In a density compensated line, the sinking tip is all thats compensated. This line sinks at some rate over the entire line. I hope this is helpful.

  4. Would this be a decent line for surf fishing for striped bass or will the tip section sink too fast? Was looking at this line and the outbound short intermediate. The outbound short grain weights are confusing as well.

  5. I have essentially the same question as Mr. Storniolo above, except I fish for striped bass in the CA Delta. We have tide and currents. I have the I/3/5 Sonar Titan now in a 6 wt. which I love, but I’ve only used it in stillwater. I need to replace my Rio OBS for the Delta and wonder if this in the 3/5/7 would work with heavy clousers in those conditions?

  6. Did you try using this line from a boat? I’m looking to purchase the line, however I cant tell in the Intermediate portion of the line will be hard to mend with . Especially from fishing from a boat.

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