Fly Fishing Lines

Fly Fishing lines -Beginners Tips

Another key component as this is not just your delivery system to the trout but also your means of making contact and keeping the trout on. Fly Fishing lines are very important, they can make a huge difference to your overall casting and fishing experience. 

The good and positive note once again is that with new technology and competition, there is a huge choice of quantity but also quality. Both have improved and with the growth of manufacturing, along with changes in technology, competition angling, we now have fly lines that are well made, perform well and have longevity in terms of their life.

As I have developed into competition angling, I have gone from some 5 lines to almost 27 lines, these are all different in terms of sink rates and how they sink. 

When it comes to new entrants and beginners, I would say, start with a floating line, an intermediate sinking line and maybe a Di3. These three lines should help you to fish the depths that you want when on still water off the bank. And also to reduce that expenditure and confusion as to which line to put on. In my case too much choice (some 27 Fly lines)

You could go for a fourth a midge tip line that will help you fish straight-line nymphing or the washing line. My own advice is to stay with the above three. Also, most Fly Reels now come with 3 or four spare cassette spools that make changing easy. It’s basically slip one-off and slip the other one, very quick and convenient.

I carry a mixed bag of liquorice all sorts, my Fly Fishing lines cover the breadth of all from Rio to John Norris.

You have some lines that are expensive but many that use them would say, they are value for money and worth the payment as they help the angler in casting and also maintaining contact with the fish.

So I’m just going to outline some five or six main Fly Fishing Lines , there are plenty others that are equally as good and some would say better, but i am just going to mention them below. The list could be endless and confusing to the new or beginner.

1-Rio lines are probably at the top End of the market, made well, they perform well but sometimes have a tendency to crack, especially the floater lines. I would say their nymphing lines are worth a look.

2-Cortland Fly Line’s is another make that is equally reliable and competitive in price and performance. Their peach 444 floating line still takes a bit of beating. Also, look at their ghost tip lines that have a clear front to the fly line that can come handy during those difficult times when fish are easily spooked.

3-Airflo Fly Lines also does an excellent range and becomes very much the competition anglers choice when it comes to the sinking and intermediate lines. Their fast glass line is one of the best as are the I3, DI5, DI7 and the infamous booby basher( around 8 inches per second). Basically, the rating di3 refers to the sink rate by inch and second, in this case, the line sinks ate 3 inches per second.

4-Snowbee Fly Lines, another very good manufacturer with a good selection covering all the main requirements. I have a couple of these lines, they are very good. I like their midge tip lines as they are supple and give me a bit of leeway when it comes to fishing the midge tip with nymphs. The smashing takes on buzzers and nymphs can be savage and the Snowbee Lines have a bit of give to absorb that initial smash, others line a stiffer line that has no stretch so that immediate contact. I prefer that slight give, just for nymphing or buzzer fishing.

5-Wychwood has also joined in and more at the value end of the market, but don’t let that put you off or be fooled, they are excellent lines that perform well and have a long life. I have several in my box of 27 lines and they have been there for a few good years, no problem. They also do the full range from floater, intermediate, di3, di5 equivalent and also sink tip lines.

6-Shakespeare is also at the budget end of the market but has been in the market for many years, I started with Shakespeare lines when the others were a rarity. They have now improved their fly fishing equipment immensely by a reset, the rods, reels and lines are excellent value for the beginner. I would not rule them of potential lines for a beginner, they will do a job for you.

7-John Norris the retailer, surprisingly have their own range that are well-made lines from the same factory as some of their more expensive brothers and sisters. Again I use their Floating line, as I carry about 3 or 4 floating lines, one is a John Norris. I have no complaints with this line, it costs a fraction of the others and is just as good. I also carry one of their midge tip lines, that’s value for money but does not compromise in terms of performance.

My main recommendation for the three key Fly Fishing lines you should invest in are:

1-Floating Fly Line-Choice of either

Cortland peach 444 Line.

Snowbee XS Floating Line.

John Norris Floating Line.

2-Intermediate Fly Lines

Cortland Blue.

Airflo Fast Glass.

John Norris P3 intermediate Fly Line.

3-Sinking Fly Line

Airflo DI3.

Wychwood Intermediate Ghost (clear line)

John Norris P3 sink lines.

These Fly Fishing lines cover the budget to the beginner end market but are good enough in quality for what you will need for your first 3 or 4 seasons fishing as long as you maintain them.

Why do I recommend these for both value and performance, along with the fact that they are manufactured by well established companies. However there is no guarantee that there won’t be any faults no matter which line or costs this can happen. I have seen or had the odd line that was faulty and each time they have been replaced by the seller but im talking 2 or 3 max in about almost e decades of fly fishing.

Spooling the lines

You will need some backing, normally braided fly line that is bought separately but cheap enough. I normally put just enough to judge that the fly line will not spill over the reel. You could get away with a 30ft or 25 foot of backing as you aren’t going to fish for 200lb tarpon. You can research youtube on how to attach the backing line onto the reel and how to connect to the line. Video on how to attach backing to fly line when braided loop added, use the same simple principle to attach the braided loop end as per this .

Connecting Fly Line to Backing and Leader

You will need the following, Fly Line, Backing Line, 2 x Braided Loops, Gloves, Super Glue tube, Snippers.

The lines come marked with the reel end that has a label. I would attach a  braided loop that is easily bought from eBay to the fly line at reel end. Also, I normally super glue the braided bit with a few drops and then pull the sleeve onto the braid, use a glove and take care using super glue. Video of attaching a braided loop.

Once that is done allow time to dry about 15 or 20 mins, ensure its dry, reel the line on. This can be tricky and mat needs help from your partner to ensure no tangles. I usually manually open or roll out about 10 yds on the lawn, reel it on and repeat the process. 

You will need to reap the braid connecting process as before with the same precautions.

Maintaining Fly Line

You can get line cleansing kit from Scientific angler fly cleansing kit or Snowbee line slick, usually done at the end or beginning of the season.

Others use a bit of washing up liquid in the bathtub, soak it for a few hours. Replace the soapy water with lukewarm water using a towel or cloth dry out the line and feed onto the reel, a bit laborious but will help the fly line life especially when fishing on the bank. Take care not to stand on the line or trudge on it , I would invest in a line tray as you can leave the line in this.

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