Rembering Amnesia

by Karl Klavon
(Fresno, California)

Running Lines:

Undoubtedly, I purchased my first spool of Amnesia running line to use it as a shooting line behind a 30 to 40 foot shooting head, which was made out of as many feet of the front portion of a double taper or a weight-forward fly line for long distance casting. Amnesia running line, made by Sunset Line and Twine Co., is a nylon mono line that has a unique ability to forget its coil-set when stretched and held for 60 seconds, and then slowly released, which is the reason for calling it Amnesia in the first place.

World Distance Casting Records:

Amnesia was responsible for breaking and setting a string of Fly Rod world distance casting records, at the Golden Gate Casting Club in San Francisco, California. And West Coast salmon and steelhead fly fishermen were very quick to implement its use with outstanding results in their fishing, as well.

But Black Was All There Was:

At the time I made my first purchase of Amnesia the only color available was Black. The lack of memory also made Amnesia a most friendly material to use in leader butt construction, and I still have spools of original black Amnesia in 40, 30, 25 and 15 Lb. test. With 200 feet of line coming on each spool, it takes quite a while to use up that much line in leader construction. I must have used up all of the 20 Lb., which explains its absence. When I went to get a new spool of 20 Lb., the black had been replaced by the green and red verities, so now I also have the green in 20 and 15 Lb. test. At a going out of business sale, I happened to find a spool of 12 Lb. test green Amnesia, which is the only spool of 12 Lb test that I have ever seen, and I have never seen that weight listed in any catalog.

Light Weight LB. Test Amnesia?

On this board and in many other places anglers have referred to the use of red Amnesia in weights far below the bottom 15 Lb. test line that Sunset offers. There are a number of line companies out there making red mono lines, but they are not Amnesia and do not have its unique qualities. Low-Memory fluorocarbon level T-lines are also fairly memory free, but not nearly as memory free as Amnesia is.

Hal Janssen Co.

The Hal Janssen Company markets Leader Control, which is Amnesia in a crystal clear, colorless, format. And I have two spools of it – one is 25 Lb. @ .021” diameter, and the other is 20 Lb. test @ .019” in diameter, and I believe that other weights are also available. In constructing leaders for fly lines, to properly transmit the fly line’s energy to the leader, the leader butt should be about .010” smaller in diameter than the fly line is thick.

Amnesia For Tenkara:

For fixed line fly-fishing (I bet you thought I would never get to it), Amnesia lacks the line mass of fluorocarbon to work well as a primary casting line, unless you are fishing with a very soft rod. But as a strike indicator at the end of the casting line (but before the tippet), these FL-red and/or green lines are more Hi-Vis than the highest Hi-Vis FC T-lines there are out there.

Color Shifts:

Line makers have promoted FL-lines for their added visibility to the angler in the air for a very long time now, but also claimed that the added visibility disappears when the line is under water, which is not true at all. My first leader butts were tied using the black Amnesia. When I had to switch to the red or green, if I knew what I know now, I would have chosen the red over the green. While the green leader butts were far easier for me to see in fishing than the black ones were (and that was very helpful), I definitely felt that the black leader butts were more effective in catching fish than the green ones are.

If I had chosen the red Amnesia (both colors are fluorescent, meaning that they will maintain a brightness that non-fluorescent colors cannot match) I would have been able to take advantage of the red Color Shift phenomenon, red fades to into black in the shortest distance of all the available colors. Green, on the other hand, will be one of the longest visible colors to the fish. And this color shift of red to black can take place in as little as a few inches in the worst visibility conditions, with as little as 6.5% of red light remaining at a distance or depth of 10 feet in the clearest of water conditions. Whereas 69% of green will still be visible at 30 feet in the same clear water conditions. So, perhaps, you may wish to choose a red Amnesia spotter over a green one for your T-fishing.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


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