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Fly Line Care & Information

Fly Line Care & Information

Fishing Fly Line Care & Information - Choosing new Fly lines on the face of it could look complicated. However if we break down each component, all hopefully will become clear. This page will help you understand the differences between, floating fly line, intermediate fly line and finally sinking line. Then we'll explain the different types of 'Profile' and 'Size' or 'Weight' of the line and why this is important to help you catch fish. Also we'll help with matching your rod, to your line, along with some practical help for choosing a reel - then if we haven't bored you enough, we'll explain about the AFTMA code (huh?) and how to care for your fly line to make it last a long time.

Floating Fly Line

Floating Fly Lines

Floating lines are the most common fly line used, as the angler is able present a dry fly on the surface or a wet fly below the surface.

If you are new to Fly Fishing we recommend you purchase a floating fly line to start off with, increasing your collection as you become more experienced in fly fishing

Intermediate Fly Line

Intermediate Fly Lines

For reaching fish in deeper water you will require an Intermediate or Sinking line. Intermediate lines will sink very slowly whilst a sinking line will sink at speed enabling the angler to present the fly on the bottom quickly, ideal for deep water fly fishing or in extreme heat where the fish will be hard on the bottom in cooler water.

Sinking Fly Line

Sinking Fly Lines

Some sinking fly lines are available in different sink rates, this is usually measured in IPS (Inches Per Second).

Fly Line Profile

Fly Line Profile is your next consideration. The illustration shows the different profiles of fly fishing line available. Starting from top to bottom: - 'Level' fly fishing line. This fly fishing line has no 'Taper' or 'Belly' and is used for delicate presentation of the trout fly at short range such as small streams & brooks however it's seldom used in fly fishing today.

- 'Double Taper' fly fishing line; this is perfect for delicate presentation at short to medium range and can be reversed if one end is damaged.

- 'Weight Forward' fly fishing line. The most commonly used fly line. This fly fishing line is designed for medium to long-range casting, as all the weight is at the forward end of the fly line allowing the long running line behind the head (or belly) to shoot through the rod rings.

- 'Pike Taper' & 'Saltwater Taper' fly fishing line. These fly lines have a heavy weight forward head so it can easily cast big pike or saltwater fishing flies

- 'Wind Taper' fly fishing line. This has weight forward compound taper making casting small trout flies easier in windy conditions.

- 'Shooting Head' fly fishing line is a short length of fly line where the running line behind the head or belly is replaced by braided mono filament, this results in less friction when the line travels through the rod rings. This is the line required if you are casting a very long distance and is fast becoming a very popular line.

Fly Line Weight

Fly Line Weight?this all depends on what type of species of fish you are targeting, and the type of water you intend to fish - This could be from small brown trout in Lochs and steams in the Highlands of Scotland, to tackling those large Rainbows in a stocked reservoir, through to getting stuck in to a Marlin on the other side of the world! Pulling together many forms of information from various sources, and using our own experiences, the chart will give a very rough idea on how to choose. Hopefully you will know your intended target fish, and location(s), this will then give an average 'fly size' and then it will give a guide to the 'line weight' - hopefully this matches with your rod recommended line size! It will also help you understand what other species and locations your equipment could be used for. You can tell from this chart the most obvious choice would be a fly line between #4 & #8 would get you tackling, trout & grayling on small to medium rivers, through to tackling trout on larger waters, and then on to pike & salmon - Therefore a line size of about #6 would be a great start for the new Fly Fisher.

Matching fly line to fly rod

Matching the line to your Fly Rod & Reel

To match up the ideal line to your rod fly is very easy. Your fishing rod will display the recommended size of line normally just above the handle and will show 1 or 2 numbers, for example: #7 or #6 - #7. Also when you purchase a rod, you will be given a selection of different models that can handle different sizes of fly line. For further information about Rod choice click here.

Reels, when you choose your outfit, reels will be marked for the line weight for which they are designed - So perfectly matching up your set up.

You've got your line, rod & reel, need help setting it up? Yes! then click here.


What do the different weight numbers stand for?....

And What's AFTMA?....

How can this help me with my choice of Fly Line?.....

AFTMA stands for the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association. It helps us to easily identify a fly lines weight in grains. Only the first 30ft is weighed and is shown by a number code chart below.

AFTMA No Weight in Grains

#1 -  54-66 grains

#2 - 74-86

#3 - 94-106

#4 - 114-126

#5 -134-146

# 6 - 152-168

#7 - 177-193

#8 - 212-218

#9 - 230-250

#10 - 270-290

The code will also help to identify the fly lines profile, weight & density, for example, a weight forward weight 7 floating line would read like this: Profile = WF (Weight Forward), then the weight of the line = 7 and density = F (Floating), this gives us the AFTMA code of WF7F.

The grid below shows some of the more common abbreviations of the different line profiles & densities:

Line Profile abbreviations

WF = Weight Forward

DT = Double Taper

SH = Shooting Head

Line Density abbreviations

F = Floating

I = Intermediate

N = Neutral

S = Sinking

F = Fast Sinking

So now you know how to match your fly line to your fly rod to make the perfect fly cast!

Fly Line Care

Fly Line Care - Fly lines always benefit from a few moments of care that will not only improve the life of the line but increase performance too. Here are a few pointers to keep your line in optimum condition, failing to maintain your line may invalidate any warranty claim:

  • Always clean the fly line with a conditioner after every fishing trip
  • Always stretch your fly line before you use it
  • Always examine your fly rod rings for cracks
  • Always match your rods AFTMA to the correct line AFTMA
  • Always store your fly lines in loose coils
  • Always store your fly lines away from strong heat & light (including leaving in cars)

Modern lines for fly fishing have evolved exponentially over decades. But even with the space age materials used in its construction, a fly line is not indestructible. By taking a few reasonable precautions you will extend the life of your line.

The appearance of small radial cracks in the finish coating are first visual clue that a line is nearing the end of its useful life. Such cracks occur because the plasticizers in the finish formulation have moved. Put simply, plasticizers are the liquids that hold solids together and provide the suppleness that is so important in fly line performance. Once cracks appear and water gets in, further deterioration can be rapid. The chemical process of movement (or migration) can be accelerated if the surface of the line is exposed to some chemical substances (found in most brands of insect repellent, suntan lotion and petrol, for example). Excessive heat, or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can also have a detrimental effect. If you need to use liquid insect repellents, be especially careful about handling your line with repellent residue on the palms of your hands. Use the back of your hands to spread repellent to the neck and face.

Keep your floating fly line clean as microscopic particles of dirt and debris will adhere to its surface, adding weight that may eventually overcome the line’s natural buoyancy. Since it has a thinner coating of the buoyant finishing material than the larger diameter body, the tip of a tapered line will begin sinking first. This tells you it should be cleaned. In terms of the best cleaning method, some manufacturers include in their line package cleaner saturated felt pads or small bottles of cleaning / degreasing fluids, it is recommend that the working part of the line be wiped with the cleaner pad each time before starting to fish. This pad will leave a film of lubricant on the surface to assist the line in moving efficiently through the rod guides. Other manufacturers recommend washing the line with a mild soap and water solution and wiping dry with a soft, clean cloth. Never ever leave a line-filled fly reel on the dashboard or rear ledge of a car parked in the hot sun. Heat buildup can literally cook the line and start internal plasticizer migration. Visible cracks may not occur right away, but the damage will have been done.

Regularly check you rod guides for wear induced sharp areas that will scuff or cut the surface of a fly line. The line guard area of the reel actually gets more wear from stripping off line than do the guides. A sharp projection on the reel line guard can slice and ruin a line. Some fishermen use the "hand twist" retrieve. But this can place an unusual amount of stress on that portion of the line that is handled. Gradually, the part of the line continually squeezed and stretched will break down.

If you look after your fly fishing line you can expect hundreds of hours of use from it.

Fly Line Care Products Here