Fly Fishing Gear
All About Fly Lines

Fly Lines

What would fly fishing be like without fly lines? Indeed, fly lines are everything when it comes to fly fishing. Unlike in spin fishing, it is the weight of the fly line itself that allows the angler to cast the fly. Without the fly line, you can't cast. And having the wrong type of fly line is just about as bad as having no fly line at all.

As fly lines can be a confusing and tricky subject, in order to help new anglers who don't have a clue about fly lines, this guide has been prepared. This article is rather lengthy, so my apologies in advance. If you want to skip the reading and just get the basics, I've highlighted the basics below.

Shop & Compare Fly Lines

Orvis Fly Lines - Orvis fly lines are durable, functional and very high-quality.

Floating Fly Lines - Compare numerous brands of floating fly lines. Included are brands from Cabela's, Cortland, Airflo, Scientific Anglers and many others.

Sinking Fly Lines - Browse and compare a wide-selection of sinking and sink-tip fly lines.

Fly Line Backing - The time to ensure that your fly line backing isn't moldy and fraying is before you hook a large fish that strips out yards and yards of line!

The Basics of Fly Lines

  1. The Density of a Fly Line is whether the fly line floats, sinks, or partially sinks.
  2. Fly Line Taper refers to changes made to the fly line itself that allow for better casting. The most popular, and most versatile, is the Weight-Forward Taper.
  3. Fly Line Weight is the weight of the fly line, measured in grains, and helpfully given a number from 1-14 by the fly line manufacturers. To choose the right fly line weight, first figure out what you will be fishing for. Then, make sure that whatever fly line weight you choose matches - exactly - the fly rod weight and the fly reel weight.
  4. The Color of the Fly Line, if topwater fishing, is of no consequence. The fish can see the shadow of ANY fly line during daylight hours. Thus....get a fly line that is easy for you to see, with orange, yellow and red probably being the most popular colors. For submerged fishing, generally you want to choose a darker color, with various shades of brown/black being the most popular and effective.
  5. For trout fishing, a floating fly line is by far the most popular and versatile. If you are fishing submerged nymphs, just put tiny weights on the leader. By and large, most trout fishing can be done with a floating fly line.
  6. Understanding Fly Line Codes on the fly line box can be a bit daunting. Here's an example of a typical fly line code : WF-4-F. What this means is that the fly line has a Weight Forward Taper, a Fly Line Weight of 4, and Floats. Thus, to understand fly line codes, the first series of letters/numbers first is the taper, the second series of letters/numbers refers to the fly line weight, and the third series of letters/numbers refers to the density of the fly line (whether it sinks or floats).

Well, those are the basics. For anyone who wants to know more about fly lines, the next several pages cover this gory topic in detail.

So, we we delve into the mysterious world of Fly Line Weight.

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