In this week's helpful Freestone fishing guide I'm going to talk about the plethora of picking the right lines for the right job. Now if you're a beginner this is probably one of the most confusing things out there. That and fly rod choices, but we'll tackle that in another post.
So let's get down to the nitty gritty and dive feet first into this topic. Weight forward, double tapers, level lines, shooting tapers, full sinks intermediates, full floats, type 6, type 11, type 3. Heck I've confused myself just writing this all down! Now for a beginner this can be overwhelming but once you get it, it's like riding a bike. It just becomes second nature. Once it's engrained into your lexicon you'll be able to walk into any fly shop and start flipping through all those perfectly stacked boxes with ease.
Now I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination and I'm not going to go into too much details here. But what I will do is give you a basic understanding, think of this like a "Tool Time" segment. First let's tackle the tapers of the fly line. The taper is just as it sounds, how the fly line is constructed and how the fly line tapers from one end to the other.
For most of us the common fly line taper we'll encounter is the weight forward (marked by the WF on your line). The weight forward fly line taper is constructed to have, just again as it sounds, more weight in the head of the fly line. The fly line is tapered to the front or head and the back of the line is of a uniform thickness. The purpose of this is to make it easier to cast! Plain and simple, it gives the fly line more of an "umph" on your casts. It's the most common for a reason as it works and for anyone starting out there's no need to stray from this taper at first. I suggest sticking with a WF line until you fully grasp casting and feel comfortable.
Since we'll be sticking with a WF line I'll just quickly go over the other common tapers that you might come across. A double taper is constructed so the head of the line is tapered towards the rear to a thicker diameter. Usually 15 feet and the middle of the line is uniform until 15 feet before the end. Where it starts to taper down again exactly the same as the head. This means both ends are exactly the same and you can reverse your line as you please. But, the downside is it's harder to cast especially when you're only casting short distances. There are others out there but these two are your most frequent and again stick with a WF line you won't regret it.
Now let's tackle your buoyancies of your lines. This is pretty straight forward but can be a little intimidating when you start adding numbers and letters all together. First let's stick with the most common full float, it does exactly what it says it does, it floats. Full sink again pretty self-explanatory, the whole line will sink at varying inches per second (IPS) depending on the type. If you're still stuck the box will have the IPS information on them. Choose which one would work best for your situations. Intermediate sinks again are going to sink but only the head of the line will. The rest is made of a floating line. Again these vary depending on the type and again all the info will be on the box, choose accordingly.
When it comes down to it, fly lines are really what separates us from gear guys. We all have rods, we all have reels and we all have tackle. It's the fly line that we cast. So make sure to buy what you can afford. Don't chince out and go cheap thinking you're saving yourself a few bucks for that shiny reel. You will regret it, eventually. A good fly line makes all the difference casting so please, spend the money on them. I won't give a brand or any recommendations because just like anything some people like certain things. Different strokes for different folks after all. So buy what you can afford and practice with it for what your chosen fisheries are.
That's the basics for your fly line choices. I'm not a technical guy, but I hope this helps some of you with the nuts and bolts of how this works and all comes together. I hope I've cleared some of the cobwebs away and the code is easy to decipher now.