Spey Line Review: Bridge Outfitting Torrent

Recently, a chain of emails between myself and a few of the other Swing The Fly editors got off the rails.

The topic: the unnecessary emphasis on skagit, scandi, underhand and spey casting. 

“It’s all spey casting, requiring key elements to be in place to make the cast successful. Certainly, a key theme in the anchor-centric casting approach. Rigging, cast selection and various adjustments are determined by fishing conditions and personal preference.”

Nevertheless, as a competent enough to be confident inland Columbia river swinger, it perturbs me to no end when come January, I’d shift not only gears, but feels, from my beloved long lines for surface work at distance, to often awkward and clunky feeling short skagit line setups in order to reach the depth colder water and cagey “winter” fishing required. 

This is what initially interested me in trying the Bridge Outfitting Torrent head by Tim Arsenault. 

“The (Torrent’s) taper design gives it extended flight time and a finesse feel while still delivering the punch needed for heavier payloads,” the marketing gods told us.

Arsenault was kind enough to send down a few prototypes of the new line just as they were hitting the shelves. 

First was outfitting my Burkheimer 9129. It’s become my favorite rod for the heaviest tips and flies I feel the need to put to work and out of the gate, the 8/9 600 grains at 28 feet long Torrent felt right on with a basic 10’ of T-14 MOW tip and a lightly weighted fly.

Waterborne anchors were a breeze. The real test came when I turned over to river right, and was able to smoothly lay out Snake Rolls at distance with that same heavy set up. 

Some of you familiar with Bridges lineup may be asking, how does this line differ from Bidge’s Wintertide line, advertised for shallower sink tip work. 

Truth is, it doesn’t feel too awfully different. Compared to the Wintertide, in the author’s opinion, the Torrent’s shorter taper does feel heftier on the load, but in the casting motion and timing, from lift to release, it feels natural, without any need to “choke up” my cast as super short skagit heads sometimes require.

Difference was, now, that familiar stroke was launching a 3″ fly and 10-12’ of heavy sink tip. 

To ensure consistent casting strokes, regardless of rod length, Arsenault offers the Torrent in a few lengths (and grain weight) per line weight rating. 

“Starting with shorter lengths in lighter designations to suit shorter rods most commonly seen in lighter line weights, and becoming longer as grains increase to provide ideal head lengths for the longer rods often used in higher line designations,” the Torrent’s description tells us. 

For instance, next,  I grabbed the workhorse, the big water rod, the 9145 Burkie, and tried the next grain weight window and length up.

That 9145 has power to spare and out of the box, the 625 grain at 29 feet Torrent felt like it was made for it. The extra line length, and adding a slightly longer tip (12 ½ ‘ of T-14) felt comfortable hitting casts necessary on big water, again, without having to completely overhaul my cast to avoid blowing anchors.  

“I wanted something that was going to be a little longer, to suit those lengths of rods,” Arsenault told Swing The Fly. “I wanted something that was just going to feel nicer. That had a finesse feel, but had the power to deliver these payloads. I wanted something that had a little more elegance, a little more flight time, but also handled the heavier payloads. I needed to be able to throw a big fly, but had a spey line feel and can really cover water.”

“If you love casting, you’re our people. If you find value in good casting in a day in the water, you’re part of our tribe,” Arsenault said. 

Even in the winter 🙂 

You can learn more about Bridge lines at BridgeOutfitting.com. Available at select fly shops in Canada, the United States and Japan. 

Author’s Personal Bridge Torrent Pairings: 

  • Burkheimer 7134-4: 525 Grain. 25 Feet. 
  • Burkheimer 9129-4: 600 Grain. 28 Feet.
  • Burkheimer 9145-4: 625 Grain. 29 Feet.