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Fly Fishing Lines – Tips and Advice

Updated on March 12, 2011

Many would say that the reel for the fly fisherman is only a storage mechanism. To some degree this is quite true, unless you hook a very big fish that begins to take off lots of line and then you've got to think about gearing drags and all things technical! However, to get started, simply choose a cheap reliable reel that will hold your line and plenty of backing. Above all, ensure that the reel seems to fit snugly with the rod. If the outfit doesn't feel in balance, then try some other combination. Try to find a product that offers one or two spare spools with your reel — this will allow you to change fly lines if you feel the need.

Fly lines can appear to be a minefield for the beginner, and indeed there are many companies offering countless different designs. Don't panic. To start with, you'll probably just need a floating line and a medium sinking line in case you want to get your fly a little bit deeper. There are many other types — some that sink like stones, for example – but these are really designed for specialist work.

Lines also come in various different profiles, and the most common are double taper or those with weight-forward designs. In fact, the weight-forward line is now dominating the market, and I'd probably advise you to go for one in the first instance. Weight-forward simply means that there is a heavier 'head' to the line, which helps shoot it out when you're casting. Don't go for one of the extreme examples -this again is for specialized work. Color is also a consideration; something visible but not too glaring is my tip - you could do worse, perhaps, than a light green.

I've been emphasizing that price is not a major consideration with rods and reels, but when it comes to line I would push the boat out as far as you can. It's often a false economy to go for the cheapest - cheap line tends to break up quickly and never makes casting particularly easy.

You'll be attaching a nylon leader onto your fly line. As you get more experienced, you can make these up yourself. However, when you first start, it's useful to buy a few tapered ones straight from a reliable manufacturer. This will help your casting no end in the beginning, and help avoid all manner of frustrations.


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