One of the great mysteries of fly fishing is one you don't
often see discussed. Yet every once in a while, a friend
will ask a question about it.
This past week a list-server I read had a series of questions
having to do with why a particular rod cast the way it did,
and was a particular 'wave' in his fly line the fault of
the design of the taper of the rod tip.
I don't respond to the list, but it certainly brought the
problem to light again.
What's the problem?
First, there are far too many fly lines on the market. Oh
sure, I understand the concept. Introduce a new 'speciality'
line for certain uses and the fly shops have to buy/stock
another line. If a manufacturer brings out several new lines
every year, (and some do) they get stacked upon stacks at the
fly shop - and frankly the shop owner or employee doesn't know
a heck of a lot more about each of those lines than we do.
And I'm sure no expert on them either.
But I've learned a few things.
How a specific rod casts can be influenced tremendously by
the weight of the line you put on it, or even the configuration
of the line. The line can make or break the performance of
any rod - from the cheapest to the most expensive. Some
rods are designed specifically to cast one specific line
and just don't cast or feel right with any other line.
I wrote a while back about casting a new rod, which we
tried six different lines on before we found one which
worked. As it turned out the rod indeed had a specific
line designed for it. Of course, the rod cast like a
dream with it. It should have, the match was made for
So what if you have a rod, maybe not the best rod in the
world, but one which should be casting nicely - but it
isn't. Is it the fault of the rod?
Where do we start? You may not want to hear this, but
how is your casting? Do you understand the basics? Can
you make a 20 foot cast, accurately? 30 foot? 40? More?
What makes the line go out? Stopping the rod. That's it.
No secret. Stopping the rod makes the line go.
Any reasonably competent caster should be able to make a
40 foot cast with one or two false casts, accurately.
With any rod, from the cheapest import up to and including
Shocked? Don't be. It isn't the rod.
OK, how do you tell if you need a new line? The line should
be marked (when you buy it) the same weight as your rod.
If the line feels 'light' and does have waves in it as it
goes out on the forward cast (and your casting isn't whimpy)
the line may be too light for your rod. Try a line one
weight heavier. Borrow one from a friend or local fly
shop if they have 'demo' lines. By the way, all fly shops
receive 'demo' lines from the manufacturers. They are
supposed to be used for 'trying' on rods, not sold.
If the rod feels noodley, slow, try a line one weight
lighter. The result should be a rod which feel quicker
and more responsive.
If neither of those 'fixes' work, you may indeed have a problem
with either your casting itself or the rod. We do not recommend
over-lining a rod more than one line weight, and some
rod manufacturers will tell you your warranty isn't valid if
you purposefully overstress the limits of a rod. (So
don't say you didn't ever hear that.)
Do buy the best line you can afford. We have all three of the
best line companies as Sponsors here on FAOL and they all
produce quality products. Buy a line which will suit the
type of fishing you do - and match your rod. If you must
skimp, skimp on the reel.
Now back to the original problem. Picking the right fly line.
We currently have a two good articles on FAOL about the
difference fly lines. One on
Trout Lines and Double
Taper vs Weight Forward Fly Lines, Which Is Really Better?
We don't have enough good information on the rest of the
lines. We are working on it - don't give up, more to come.
In the meantime, if you have specific questions feel free to
ask us or post on the Bulletin Board and we will try to help.
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!