So, we have all been there standing in front of the wall of fly lines not knowing what is good or what you should get. The choices sometimes seem endless DT (dual Taper), WF (Weight Forward), Single Hand Spey, Bonefish, Warmwater, Saltwater, Steelhead/Salmon, Indicator; the list can go on and on.
What I want to cover in this Blog is how to choose your first fly line and not be frustrated and try to demystify some of the lingo.
To start let’s get the ideal weight for a fly rod out of the way, the ideal weight when you are buying your first rod “should” be a 5-6 weight. This rod weight will be the most universal rod weight when it comes to chasing trout you can cast small to medium streamers dry fly’s and multiple fly rigs.
With that out of the way let’s talk about what you should be looking for in your first fly line to learn to cast and improve over time.
But first Let’s delve a little deeper here and go over the construction of a fly line and its corresponding parts. It is important to understand that the ‘recipe’ that manufactures use to create their fly lines varies from type to type and based on different applications. Below you can see the formula for two lines and see the differences in their makeup.
Line Tip – Front part of the line thin over its length this is where the leader attaches (usually fairly short, sometimes has a welded loop to make attachment of leader easier)
Front Taper – Transition section between tip and Body
Body – The larger diameter part of the line
Rear Taper – Transition from body to the running line
Running Line – Long thin part of the line that connects to the backing
Head – Tapers and Body as a whole
Ok so now that’s out of the way and you have a better understanding of the parts of a fly line.
I posed the question “What is the best fly line for a beginner caster and why?” to some leaders in the industry and the common consensus is find a fly line with a short head and WF.
Simon Gawesworth Brand Manager from Rio Fly lines states “The most important thing is to choose a line with a short head 32-36 feet in length, a line that is lightly heavier than the industry standard and front loaded rather than rear loaded” This is the type of line that he steers beginner casters to.
Brooks Robinson from Cortland Fly line says that “We like to set beginners with a shorter taper design. These are much easier for beginners to shoot line as they will be able to get the “head” portion out quicker. We prefer a true size or 1 size over weighted line to feel the rod load but depends on the rod being used.”
Andrew Lewis from Monic Fly Lines states “I have seen many advanced individuals cast certain 5wts 90 plus ft so someone learning would not be limited as they improve. As far as line design goes, I think many trout style head designs are a good place to start. Generally, they have even mass distribution throughout the length of the belly/body portion which will help a novice caster as they develop the proper form and casting motion. Many lines today are designed with aggressive front loaded designs or step-up/step-down features in the head to change the aggressiveness/delicacy of the line’s presentation. I think this could alter their expectations or make it more difficult on getting the feel of how the line should move through the air while casting. Another feature many trout style lines incorporate are longer rear tapers on the head. This is used to give you more control over the line as the head is turning over when the line transitions from the back-cast to the front-cast. This is often described as “loop stability”. With a more gradual transition from the body/belly portion of the line, to the running line portion (ie a long rear taper) the caster can have more consistently tighter loops and more accuracy as your front cast unfurls.
Ultimately, when starting out, you want to find a fly line matched line weight to your fly rod with a short head. The experts say this so you can load the road faster and “feel” the rod loading. This will help you to improve your cast and will help with projecting line so that you have a bit more reach.
Another great way to better understand how a line pairs with your rod is to make a trip to your local fly shop and pick their brain and the best thing that you can do is go and test a few find a demo day in your area and test out a few brands and styles.
We have all been through this journey I hope this helps out in answering a few of the questions you may have.