Choosing the proper equipment is crucial in many sports, especially fly fishing. When you’re a new angler, it’s normal to feel daunted and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available gear. If you’re just getting started with fly fishing, we’ve put up a handy list of everything you’ll need.
Once you have selected your rod and reel (see here for beginner fly rod instruction and advice on picking a fly reel), you’ll need a fly line. The purpose of this article is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision on the fly line that is right for you.
A wide variety of fly fishing lines are available on the market today, each created by a unique company. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of lines if you perform a Google search. For a beginner, this is an overflow of information and might lead to an improper purchase. To help you out, we’ll go through the many possibilities and walk you through how to pick the best fly line for your situation.
If you have not previously purchased a single-handed trout fly fishing rod, you should do so first since the line must be compatible with the rod and reel. In such a situation, you can acquire a ready-constructed kit from a trustworthy merchant, including all the things necessary to start.
THE BASICS: How to Choose the Best Fly Line
- Select a fly line compatible with your fly rod. Choose a 5wt line if you’re using a 5wt fly rod. If you are using an 8-weight fly rod, use an 8-weight line.
- Your fly line should be appropriate for the environment in which you are fishing. Choose a line developed for fishing in freshwater (trout, bass, etc.) if you are fishing for these species. Choose a saltwater fly line if you’re fishing for Bonefish in saltwater.
- Ensure that your fly line’s temperature rating corresponds to the fishing conditions. Select a tropical line if you are fishing in tropical saltwater. If you’re fishing in freshwater, you’ll want to use a cold water line. This section clarifies which lines are designed for hot water and which are designed for cold water.
- Choose a fly line tailored to cast the flies you are fishing. Pick a streamer line if you’re fishing streamers and a nymphing line if you’re targeting fish with a double nymph setup.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FLY ROD AND LINE
Next, think about the fly rod you currently own. A fly line’s performance on a given rod depends on the rod’s motion. If you’re unsure how a fly rod works, look at this instructional YouTube video.
- A quick action rod will load better and be simpler to cast with a line that has an aggressive front taper and is made somewhat heavy.
- A moderate action fly rod works best when teamed with a lightweight fly line with a long, progressive taper.
‘The Basics’ bullet point #1 applies here as well, of course.
These are all created to complement and balance the arrangement and are great for someone on a limited budget. However, if you can spend a bit more, I recommend buying the pieces individually as you can still get deals but goods with more power and alternatives than a basic kit.
First, ensure your line grade is compatible with the rod you currently own or are contemplating purchasing. Each rod has a line rating imprinted on the butt section generally above the cork handle on the first few inches of the rod itself.
This value is put there by the rod maker and hints at which line the rod has been manufactured to make it a balanced configuration.
Now we can move up or down a size without sacrificing the quality of our fishing, but it will require a minor adjustment to the line’s head in order for it to function properly, which is a task for more experienced castors. I would recommend using the same line grade as indicated on the rod if you are a beginner.
A few additional details about fly line ratings
Each fly line’s rating was calculated by the AFTM, or Association of Fishing Tackle Manufacturers, using a scale that measured the first ten yards or thirty feet of fly line, representing the typical length of fly line a caster could serialize. Each line rating for floating, sinking, or intermediate lines has the same weight as measured in grains. This made it simpler to align lines with rods.
What is the difference between weight forward and double taper fly lines?
To add to the complexity, fly rod manufacturers have manufactured various single-handed fly rods with differing line ratings throughout the years. For example, a 6-7 or 7-8 may cover two sizes, a 6-8 could cover three, and a 4-9 could cover four sizes. Beginners may become perplexed over whether a 6- or 7-line rod should be used for this type of fishing.
The solution to this is that you may use either rod to cast both lines very effectively. On the other line, these ratings were included to make it easier for fly fishermen to choose the right rod for their needs. The 6 indicates a Double Taper (DT) line, and the 7 indicates a Weight Forward (WF) line in the 6-7 line rating.
The butt line rating reflects that a double taper is an older form of the line that is no longer produced by the majority of manufacturers, although some still do. A DT line is the same on both ends. For example, it tapers from the tip to the middle, gets thicker, and then tapers back down to the other end, which is why it’s called “double tapered.”
This line is ideal for presenting dry flies in tiny rivers and is suitable for roll casting in addition to the standard overhead cast. If the forward taper begins to show signs of wear after a few fishing seasons, you simply switch the line around and have a nearly new line to fish with again.
One of the primary goals of a weight-forward fly line is for its line to be as short as possible while yet maintaining its ability to travel smoothly through the line as the line tapers in. Because the caster’s weight is now located further front, they do not require as much aerialization and can thus cast further and with less effort. For huge still waters, the weight forward line is ideal when distance is critical, but it’s not ideal for delicate close-casts. So, to sum up, a 6-7 will cast a 6 double taper (DT) and a 7 weight forward (WF) equally effectively.
Fly line thickness or sink rate!
Now that the rating has been determined, we must examine the density of the fly line. The fly line’s sink rate is determined by its density. There are several alternatives here, ranging from completely afloat to rapidly sinking. What’s the use of having varied densities if they’re all the same? The answer to that is that every site you fish will have a distinct set of circumstances.
These might be depth, flow rate, feeding fish depth or flat calm, to mention a few. You can use a full floater in any of these situations, but what are the possibilities of capturing fish that are lying deep in the pool? I’d say the odds are really minimal since they’re not going to want to chase your flies if they’re already deep in the water, which is just alongside them.
For the beginner, however, I would suggest using a complete floating line since it is easy to raise off the water’s surface to make another cast, making it easier to master and covering many circumstances. You may add an intermediate line and a medium sinker as you advance.
Fast sinking lines are reserved for fast-moving, deep water or really deep pools when you need to get your flies to the bottom quickly, and they are something to strive for as you acquire casting skills.
If you want to convert a floating line into a sinking line by adding 5 feet, 8 feet, or 12 feet of heavier density to a floating line, you may add a poly leader to your fly line. These can be purchased reasonably and come in handy if you find yourself in a tight spot. As a result, as a beginner, I recommend starting with a complete floater.
Fly lines come in a variety of colors.
The final component of the jigsaw is line color. Fly lines come in many colors, and complete floaters will normally be highly visible color, so you can see any movement or twitch of the line if a trout grabs your fly. Especially helpful when buzzer fishing right beneath the surface.
The more neutral hues of intermediate lines, such as greens, blues, and even transparent, are ideal for fishing trout prone to being startled. Darker shades of black, dark brown, blues, and greens are common among sinking lines.
Fly lines are now available in two-toned or two-toned patterns. The caster can see the difference in taper by switching between a bright head section and a running line, and with little trial and error, they can discover the sweet spot for producing accurate casts. A really useful handbook is making life a lot easier. As it’s not always simple to have the correct quantity of line aerialized when casting rapidly, I used to mark my line with a black marker.
In addition to pure white, camouflage lines are currently available on the market as manufacturers experiment with new technologies. Personally, I believe that the color serves more to entice the fisherman than the fish since the clear butt and leader are more vital for presenting flies without spooking fish.
Special fly lines and firing heads!
Other types of fly lines, such as those designed specifically for tarpon, trout, river, lake, salmon, pike, and other species, are becoming increasingly popular. If you have the finances and are species-specific, then these lines are a terrific addition to your armory.
Shooting heads are increasingly expanding on the market and may be a terrific tool for distance casting. These are useful when shore fishing against an onshore wind as the added weight provides you with the punch to get the cast out. Shooting heads are more intermediate to an advanced line and demand more work to cast properly as well as handle the running line, which may become tangled very rapidly if not managed appropriately. These are something to aspire towards when you have your casting talents increased.