Fly Line Density
Well, we are almost done in our exploration of fly lines. Just a few
more things to go over. On this page will cover the exciting topics of
Fly Line Density, Fly Line Color and How to Decipher a Fly Line Box.
So let's begin!
Understanding Fly Line Density
Fly line density is a very simple term to grasp, actually. All fly line
density means is whether the fly line float, sinks, or just partially
A floating fly line is by far and away the most popular and versatile fly
line. A floating fly line, as the name suggests, floats completely. It
does not sink unless you weigh it down. If you will only own one fly
line, make triply sure that it is a floating one. Through
the addition of weights
make a floating line a "sink-tip" line, too.
By contrast, a sinking fly line sinks - completely. How fast it sinks (known
as it sink rate) is variable - depending on the sink rate of the line.
Some lines sink very fast, others very slow. The point, though, is the
the entire fly line will sink - and will sink at a uniform rate. As a
sidenote, the "sink rate" of a fly line will be noted somewhere on the
fly box, measured in "fps" - feet per second.
Sinking fly lines are great for big water fishing, particularly lakes and
saltwater. They have very limited utility in your average river, and
are rarely used here in Montana.
Since sinking fly lines have limited utility for trout fishing, but because
floating fly lines don't always do the job of pulling down nymphs into
the depths of the river quick enough, a hybrid was designed - the "Sink-Tip"
On a sink-tip fly line, only the first 10 to 30 feet of the fly line sinks.
The remainder of the line floats. The purpose of this line is to allow
for fishing of nymphs and streamers in the depths of rivers where the
current is moderately fast. The heavy line, especially if used with some
additional weights, can bring a nymph down to depth quickly and keep
For trout fishing, the angler will want to first get a floating
fly line. Later, money and desire found, a sink-tip fly line can also be purchased
for those "special situations" where the line really is needed.
Understanding Fly Line Color
Let's get this out of the way right now. During daylight hours, especially
on bright days, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a fly line to just "blend in". From
the bottom of a river where the fish live, all fly line looks the same
when they look upward - a long, black line snaking across the top of
the water. From the bottom of the river, the color of a fly line is immaterial
- it instead is just a solid, unnatural thing that is lying on top of
Because of this, the color of a fly line for general daylight use
does not matter. The fish will see them all. As such, when selecting a fly
line color - get a color that YOU, repeat YOU, can see easily. Take your
choice, green, yellow, orange, red, pink - whatever. Pick the line that
you can most easily see in the type of fishing conditions you find yourself
Now, during very low light conditions - particularly if you fly fish
at night for bass and such - fly line color can indeed be important.
Oddly, pure black isn't the best color - few things in life are ever
"pure black." Instead, the consensus is for varioius shades of dark brown/dary
grey - depending largely on the color and clarity of the water where
you'll be fishing.
Understanding Fly Line Codes
A person who is new to fly fishing can be completely forgiven for not
understanding a word on a fly box. The codes, to new anglers, make absolutely
no sense what-so-ever. Yet, once you understand how they work, the codes
on fly boxes are a life-saver. So....let's go over some examples.
1. WF-5-F : This code means that the fly line is a
weight-forward taper fly line, with a weight of 5, and floats.
2. DT-6-F : This code means that the fly line is a
double taper fly line, with a weight of 6, and floats
3. WF-7-S : This code means that the fly line is a weight-forward
taper fly line, with a weight of 7, and is a sinking line. How fast the
line sinks (it's
sink rate) will be listed on the box.
4. DT-3-F/S - This code means that the fly line is a double taper fly line,
with a weight of 3, and is a sink-tip fly line. The sink rate of the fly line,
as well as how much of the line actually sinks, will be listed on the box.
5. L-6-I : This code means that the fly line is a level taper fly line, with
a weight of 6, and is an intermediate sinking line. The sink rate of the fly
line will be listed on the box.
6. ST-5-F : This code means that the fly line is a shooting taper fly line,
with a weight of 5, and floats.
Just remember, on fly line boxes, the taper of the fly line is the first
code (DT, WF, L, ST), the weight of the fly line is the second code (1-14),
and the density of the fly line (S, F, F/S) is the third code.
Shop & Compare Fly Lines
Fly Lines - Orvis
boots are durable, functional and very high-quality.
Fly Lines - Compare
numerous brands of floating fly lines. Included are brands from
Cabela's, Cortland, Airflo, Scientific Anglers and many others.
Fly Lines - Browse
and compare a wide-selection of sinking and sink-tip fly lines.
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!
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