Fly Fishing is a style of Fishing which makes use of artificial lures resembling flies, insects, or fish. It is considered as the most effective style to use a very lightweight Fishing Lure to fish over and over again. In other rod-and-reel Fishing, the angler casts the Fishing Lure when Spinning, Spincasting, or Baitcasting. In Fly Fishing, the angler casts the Fishing Line. This is what makes Fly Fishing different from the other styles. It is for this same reason that the features and functions of the equipment for Fly Fishing are very different from those of other Variations on Fishing. To help you determine the characteristics of some of the basic equipment needed for Fly Fishing, here are some pointers:
Features of Fly Lines
It is mentioned that one of the reasons why Fly Fishing is very different to other styles of Fishing is the fact that in Fly Fishing, the angler casts the Fly Line, not the Fishing Lure. To pick out the appropriate Fly Line, you must first be familiar with its features. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each feature can really help you in choosing the Fly Line suited to your need. Here are some guidelines:
1. Fly Line Weight
It is very relevant to determine the size and type of the Fly Line because this will also be the gauge on the type of Fly Rod and Fly Reel that you need to acquire.
Unlike other measuring disciplines where the strength is the determinant of the types of particular equipment, Fly Lines are classified according to the Fly Line’s weight. Low line weights and the equivalent rod weights are used for small fish. For large fish, Fly Lines with heavier weights are used. This is a standard classification so the Fly Line weights of one manufacturer are also the same as the Fly Line weights in all makers.
The general rule to follow is: if you are after a bigger fish, you need a heavier Fly Line. But it really depends on the species. Probably the best and practical Fly Line weight and rod is the one which is not too light and not too heavy. If you are fishing a panfish, use a Fly Line with a 5- weight. For trout, it is advisable to use a 6- weight. If you are after bass, a Fly Line with 7-weight is a good choice. Fly Lines on the 1-, 2-, and 3- weight ranges are flimsy and casting inaccuracy is a possibility. On the other extreme, it is difficult to cast accurately using a Fly Line with 8- and above weight. Besides, it will be cumbersome for you.
Buoyancy of Fly Lines
After determining the Fly Line weight it is time to look at its buoyancy. This is the ability of the Fly Line to float or sink in water. There are four standard kinds of Fly Line commercially available: floating, sinking, intermediate, and floating with sinking tip.
- Fly Lines categorized as floating are used with flies which are floating as well as sinking. They are suitable for beginners because of easy casting. It is also highly detectable, so you will be able to see the Fly Line and its location on the water.
- Obviously, sinking lines are used with sinking flies. Anglers use this type of Fly Lines when they want the fly to reach the bottom easily, or when they are fishing in deep waters. There are variations in sinking lines, depending on how deep you want to fish. For instance, you must get a sinking line with a faster sink-rate if you are planning to fish deeper.
- Intermediate lines are specialty ones which sink, but at a slower rate, compared to sinking lines. They are used by anglers who are fishing just underneath the water surface.
Tapers of Fly Lines
Knowing the taper of a Fly Line is likewise important. It refers to the shape and the diameter of the Fly Line. Tapers of Fly Lines come in five basic kinds: level, weight-forward, double-taper, shooting-taper, and triangle-taper lines.
The inexpensive ones are the level lines. They have the same thickness from end to end. However, they do not offer great casting accuracy.As the name implies, double-tapers are tapered at each end. Double-taper lines work well for beginners because they cast easily and lay down on the water in a gentle manner. The good thing about this feature is that you can take the Fly Line off the Fly Reel spool and put it back with the other side when the front part became worn out. But they are not advisable for long-distance casting.On the other hand, weight-forward lines can be described as having a taper on one end. At its rear is a thick section of the Fly Line, and behind this, the Fly Line is level. Casting with this type of Fly Line is easy. Since the Fly Line weight is concentrated in the first 30-35 feet, the angler can easily create impetus, thus, allowing for a long cast.A delicate Fly Line for long-distance casts is a triangle-taper line. This type of Fly Line has a short, quick taper found at the front and increasing in diameter up to about 40 feet, and then it tapers back down to a narrow, level line.
Based on these variations, the best Fly Line for you as a beginner, under normal conditions, is a 6-weight, floating, double-taper line.
As additional reminder: buy some backing together with your Fly Line. Backing is a line like a cord that goes before the Fly Line. Backing is used to fill up the reel based on its carrying capacity. This allows the Fly Line to reel in easily and serves as back up whenever you have a lot of line out of the reel and the larger fish you have caught still takes a long run.
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2. Features of Fly Rods
Knowing the weight of your Fly Line makes the process of choosing a Fly Rod trouble-free. But this is just one factor. You also need to consider the variations in length, modulus, and weight of Fly Rods.
Moreover, it is necessary to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type so you can narrow down your choices. Here are the Features of Fly Rods:
Fly rods must be long enough primarily for casting angles in Fly Fishing. Their lengths can range from 6 ˝ to 10 feet. Most are eight to nine feet long. A good thing about long Fly Rods is that they cast farther easily. On the other hand, you can cast and maneuver short Fly Rods easily and quickly. A Fly Rod which is around 8 feet long is good enough.
Modulus is the ability of the Fly Rod’s material to recover from bending. The essential thing to know about modulus is: when the modulus is higher, the rod is stiffer, and the Fly Rod will bend back from a curve at a faster rate. A Fly Rod with a higher modulus produces good distance and fast casting. On the opposite side, a Fly Rod with a lower modulus makes a smoother and more delicate casting.
As a beginner, you should know that when the Fly Rod’s weight increases, its actual weight also increases. You need adequate amount of practice in casting, because using a much heavier Fly Rod, a 13-weight for instance, without practicing can really make you tired. Start with a Fly Rod which you think you can easily handle.
Some tackle shops allow their customers to test the Fly Rods. This is a good way of getting the “feel” of them. Make sure that you have tested a couple of Fly Rods before paying for one. It will be able to tell you which kind of Fly Rod best suits you.
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3. Types of Fly Reels
In Fly Fishing alone, there are three types of Fly Reels: single-action, multiplier, and automatic. Each has its own application and the type of Fly Reel you will use must be dependent upon the situation and the kind of fish you are after. Sensibly enough, you should also take into account your skill level in using Fly Reels.
Single-action Fly Reels
Single-action Fly Reels are the most commonly-used Fly Reels nowadays. They are very simple and have less parts compared to other Fly Reels. You can actually see the spool from the outside, and you can take it off by pushing a release lever. This kind of Fly Reel is used primarily to keep the excess Fly Line. At a single turn of the reel handle, the single-action Fly Reel turns the spool at one complete time. The angler holds the Fly Line in one hand and the Fly Rod on the other one. An adequate amount of Fly Line is reeled out when casting. Flies are worked with the hand holding the Fly Line and not exactly off the Fly Reel. When a stream trout or panfish is caught, the angler will just take back or release the Fly Line with his hand.
Multiplier Fly Reels
A multiplier Fly Reel turns the spool a couple of times when you turn the reel handle. Sensibly enough, this is more useful than a single-action Fly Reel when you need speeding up. Imagine if you are using a single-action Fly Reel and you have caught a bigger fish. The fish may swim in different directions and take a lot of your Fly Line. The Fly Line may loosen up and before you can even reel it in using a single-action Fly Reel, the much-anticipated fish breaks away. In this kind of situation, a multiplier Fly Reel will do better. This is used usually for fishing bass, northern pike, and other large species.
Automatic Fly Reel
The best Fly Reel when it comes to fast retrieval of Fly Line is the automatic Fly Reel. This has no reel handle, like the other two Fly Reels. An Automatic Fly Reel makes use of a device with spring that can be used through a lever from the front of the Fly Reel. But even with this great feature, automatic Fly Reels are not commonly used because of their heavy weight.
Again, it is important that you get familiar with the features and types of each piece of equipment in Fly Fishing. Likewise, take note of the applications that each type of Fly Reel is made for.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.