Fly Fishing Line

So now that we have done the rod and reel and some about flies we need to touch on line. There are a bunch of factors to look at when deciding which line to get. If you are just starting you will need to decide were you will fish the most (large river, small river, lake ?). The best way for a new fly fisherman to get the right line is buy the rod, reel and line at the same store and they will outfit you with the right set up so you can enjoy fish and not fight to make a cast.


1620 was the first mention in print of casting a fly (a line twice your rod’s length of three hairs’ thickness, in open water free from trees on a dark windy afternoon, and if you have learned the cast of the fly . . .)

1700’s braided horse hair is used as fly line

Early 1800’s silk is used with the horse hair. 1870’s oil finished silk lines, tapered lines introduced also through the late1800’s wieght forward and double taper were in production. Hollow line was introduced in the 1890’s.

The 1900’s brought about the use of finely plaited dressed silk lines, next silk gut line come out. By 1938 Nylon is invented and used for line but the finish has problems so it is not popular, 1949 pvc becomes coating for nylon line and it finally finds some success. 1958 Dacron is the standard in sinking fly line.

It took until 1961 for line to be classified by wieght instead of diameterthis was done by the AFTMA ( American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association)

Sense then they have been a lot of changes in materials and manufacturing that have lead to the lines we now have at our disposal.



there are three type of line used in fly fishing they are Floating fly line, Sinking fly line and sinking tip fly line  

Floating Fly Line
is the most common type of fly line, and it does exactly what you would expect, it floats, all the way from the backing to the leader.  If you’re learning how to fly fish, this is the type of fly line you should be using.
The rate at which Sinking Fly Line sinks is indicated by a type number which is how fast the line sinks in inches per second.Sinking line lets you get a a fly primarily nymphs and chrominids down to the fish in deep water
Sinking Tip Line
is a compilation of floating and sinking line, most of the line floats except for the last ten feet or so which sinks. this makes for easyer recasting of the line.


Weight of the line is decided by the type of fish you fish regularally and the weight of the rod and reel you own. meaning if you are targeting trout any where from a 3 to a 8 weight will work depending on the size of the fish( smaller fish smaller weight)

Line weight ranges from 1 to 14 heavier line larger number. you will want to make sure to get a line weight that is the same weight as your rod and reel



Along with weight there are also different tapers. Tapers define how the line is weighted, and can significantly effect your cast.  There are three basic types of fly fishing line tapers:

  1. Weight Forward (the most common type)
  2. Double Taper
  3. Level Tape

The most common line taper is the Weight Forward. The placement of the Weight in the line dictates the performance of the line. This is done by thickening the line close to the end were the leader attaches giving it extra weight in that section. This allows for longer casts but makes delicate placement difficult. So you need to decide what is more usefull to you longer casts or delicate placement.
Double Taper
has the advantage of a delicate presentation, But you loose the ability to make long casts. best if you fish small rivers with spooky fish.

Level Taper is the same size all the way from beginning to end and is not very popular, will be found in cheap line. 




There is one more thing to think about and that is how the leader will tie to the line most line you have spooled on at a fly shop will have a welded loop on the end they are not always the best and ware out faster but that is something to think about after you get some experience fishing and tying knots. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions of sales people in fly shops as experienced fishermen still have trouble making since of all the factors involved




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