Over the last few years I have grown increasingly frustrated about the number of different types of fly lines available. It seems to me that this is confusing and frustrating to many anglers...including me. Some might say that this is an example of how fly line producers are striving to serve the diverse needs of many different types of anglers. Others would say that this is an example of marketing gone wild. I fall into the latter camp.

How bad is the problem? Well just for fun I spent 5 minutes looking online for RIO floating fly lines that are available online from fly shops.. (No offense to RIO. I suspect that my findings would apply to many of the other fly line companies, as well.) Here are the RIO floating fly lines that I could buy:

1. Grand
2. Gold
3. Selective Trout II
4. Trout LT
5. Avid Trout
6. Mainstream Trout
7. Bass
8. Smallmouth bass
9. Windcutter
10. Steelhead/salmon
11. Pike
12. Tropical Clouser
13. Tarpon
14. Windcutter spey
15. Outbound
16. Carp
17. Reedfish
18. Skagit Light MOW
19. Switch

Really? Do we need almost 20 different floating fly lines from a single company? How will we know which one to buy?

One of my pet peeves is that the boxes don't provide enough information to make an intelligent choice. For example, is the Selective Trout II appropriate for general purpose trout fishing in the West? I couldn't tell, and RIO customer service didn't know either. I made a mistake and bought one, and found out ($65 later) that it is not. Maybe I'm just not very clever, but RIO could have provided enough information so that even a fool like me would get it right.

If RIO (or any other company) feels the need to produce this many different lines, then I think it should be incumbent on them to provide clear information about the suitable uses for their products. For example, is fly line X appropriate for use with fast action graphite rods? medium action rods? bamboo?

There. I feel better now.