How to Choose Fly Fishing Line

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How to Choose Fly Fishing Line

When fly fishing, every piece of gear is important, but when offered a choice, expert anglers agree that a very good fly line on an average rod offers a better result than an average line on an excellent rod and reel. The line is the piece that drives a lot of other choices. The right line can be the deciding factor between a good day’s catch and coming up empty. The line carries the fly to the target, so if it isn’t up to the job, fishermen can spend a lot of time and energy making cast after cast. The trick is finding the right fly fishing line for each situation.

Four basic elements affect the decision: the size of the fly being used; type and size of the fish targeted; water, weather and general fishing conditions; and skill level of the caster.


Choosing a Fly Fishing Line Based on Fly Size

The fly size a fisherman intends to use should typically be the first consideration when looking at fishing line. It should also be a big part of choosing a rod, but that is not always practical for those using a single rod in a variety of situations. The mass of the line carries the fly, so for big, heavy, or less aerodynamic flies, a powerful line is a must. A line that is too light for the fly will make casting difficult in ideal conditions and next to impossible in challenging conditions, and could lead to rod repairs.

When buying lines, they are rated by weight. Higher numbers means a heavier line. Light lines, rated between 0 and 4, are best used for small trout or panfish flies up to a size 12 hook. Lines in the 5-6 range work for up to a size 8, approximately. Lines in the 7-9 range are used with mid-range fish such as bonefish, bass, steelhead, etc. Weights 10 and above work well for large fish and big flies. These heavier weight lines often require a stiffer and more powerful rod to get the needed distance on a cast.


Buying a Fly Fishing Line for a Specific Fish

The type of fish targeted also plays an important role in line selection. For example, a tarpon can usually be landed with a 7 or 8 weight, but pulling in a 100-pound tarpon would be asking a little much for that weight, so a much stiffer rod and a slightly heavier line might be a good idea. When going after pike or largemouth bass, a 6 weight line works well, but using a slightly heavier weight can make landing the fish a lot easier without making the line too heavy for the fish.

Extreme distance casting becomes easier when a rod is loaded with a line that is one or two weights lighter than recommended. The caster must leave extra line outside the rod tip, which then allows the caster to throw a tighter loop, gaining more speed on a cast.


Adjust Fly Fishing Line for the Weather

In a good fishing kit, there will be several line weights to offer adjustments based on weather conditions. When casting into a stiff wind, a fisherman needs a heavier weight line, unless they are very skilled. Wind will also affect the distance on a cast, making them shorter, which means casters may want lines specially designed for shorter and faster casting. This type of line has a short head, pushing the line weight to the front of the fly. They may also have a front taper to help with fly turnover and delivery.

Another thing to watch is the temperature. Hot temps may not work well with plastic-coated (PVC) lines. They can become soft and limp, causing more frequent tangles and affecting distance and speed. Lines that work well in hot weather rarely perform as well in cold weather, so the best anglers include a fair weather and foul line in their kits.


Skill Makes All the Difference

Casting distance has a lot to do with the basic skill level of the person throwing the line; however, there are a variety of products designed to maximise casting ability. Some lines have larger heads to help achieve some extra distance, while others offer a shorter head for those who use shorter, more frequent casts.

For casting in the mid-distance, Weight Forward (WF) lines with longer heads offer a good compromise. They allow caster to carry to a good distance and the shoot to the target. This can help minimise the number of false casts. Double Taper (DT) lines also offer a reasonable cast, though they require more line control and better shooting.


How to buy Fishing Line on eBay

Before buying a line, anglers should check out eBay to find a wide variety of options. A quick search using ‘fly fishing’ or ‘fly fishing line’ will bring up a selection of options that is often hard to beat in brick and mortar stores. Novice and expert anglers should both look into several different styles and weights of line. There are more than 2,000 unique fly lines for sale, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

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