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Beginner's Introduction to Fly Lines
Introduction to fly fishing by: Judy Lehmberg

The fly line is a relatively thick (as compared to monofilament) line composed of an inner core of Dacron coated with a smooth vinyl plastic. Lighter weight lines are used for casting smaller flies and heavier weight lines are used for larger, heavier flies.

For example, a five weight floating line could be used for trout fishing with dry flies on a spring creek where a delicate presentation is important, whereas a fourteen weight lead core sinking line might be used for large tarpon feeding under the waters surface.

The 'weight' of the line is actually an indication of the weight (in grains) of the first 30 feet of line. If you plan to fish for trout in streams, rivers or lakes, your first line should probably be a six weight, floating line.The following will give you an idea of some of the line types available

A floating line is used to present a fly on or near the waters surface. It is the most commonly used line for trout.

An intermediate line can be used either as a floating or a sinking line depending on how it is prepared.

A sinking line is used when you want to present the fly right on the bottom. It is heavy, and therefore more difficult to use.

A sinking tip line is designed so that only the first part of the line is heavy enough to sink. The depth to which the line sinks is determined by how much of the line is weighted. This line is easier to cast than a full sinking line Fly lines also vary in their overall shape or taper. To understand why fly lines are tapered it is necessary to understand how a line is cast, keeping in mind that it is the weight of the line itself, and not the fly, that is cast. When a fly line is cast it takes the shape of a rolling loop.

As the line is cast, energy from your arm is transferred through the rod to the line, to roll the loop forward. Sufficient energy is needed to sustain the loop until the line is unrolled. One way of maintaining enough energy is to decrease the weight of the line as it approaches the line tip. Basically, as a tapered fly line decreases in diameter and weight you get a smooth transfer of the rod's energy through the entire length of the line. This energy transfer can be controlled by the way the line is tapered.

A double tapered line is about 90 feet long and tapered at both ends. The 70 or so feet in the center are the same diameter, but the last few feet on either end taper down to a smaller diameter. This line can be used twice as long as other lines; once you have worn out the first half, the line can be reversed and used again. It also makes both roll casting and delicate presentations easier.

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