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Best Fly Lines for Fly Fishing

A Look at the Types of Fly Lines Most Anglers use on the Water


There are a number of fly lines fly fishermen should consider when they’re out on the water. Here’s a look at some of the most popular fly lines, the amount of taper, and when and where they should be used on the water.

Level Lines

As the name implies, level lines have pretty much the same diameter throughout the line, which makes the line a consistent option for anglers who aren’t looking to do anything drastic.

This is also an inexpensive line in most cases, and is popular with beginner fly fishers because they’re used for short casts.

Double-Taper Lines

Gradually tapered smaller at the ends, the double-taper has a uniform diameter through the midsection and usually run in the 10-foot range with tips that run another 2 feet or so.

Tapered lines are great because they’re available in the floating and sinking models.

Floating is obviously better for dry flies, keeping them up and out of the depths. Sinking is better for nymphing and getting down deep where big ol’ trout hide out in the big pools.

Weight-Forward Lines

If you want to go long, rather than deep, with your casts, pick up a weight-forward line. A weight-forward line is made for larger, heavier flies such as bulky streamers or muddler minnows. This makes the weight-forward line ideal for steelhead and salmon fishing on larger waters where anglers must cover a lot more water with their casts.

The line typically consists of more than 20 feet of fat, shooting line with some 10 feet of tapered line at the forward end and a couple feet of thinner line at the tip. The rear end of the line is the thickest, backing up another 50 feet to give the angler some 90 feet of line. Talk about great coverage with every cast.

Float-Sinking Lines

Giving anglers the best of both worlds, float-sinking lines have both a forward sinking section and a rear floating section.

Why the floating section in the rear you ask?

Well, the floating section allows anglers to pick up and mend their line easier, and, more importantly, keep any eye on their fly as it swings through the strike zone.

The lines are also extremely versatile, coming in a number of sizes and sinking speeds (slow sinking through fastest sinking).

Shooting-Taper Lines

Shooting tapers (essentially the forward portion of the weight-forward line) have a loop attached to the rear section that can be attached to monofilament or another light line for extremely long casting.

Shooter taper lines, however, are made for expert fly fishers who know how to handle a reel and aren’t worried about the rats nest that often accompanies these lines. Bass-Bug Taper Lines

A popular line for bass fishing in warm-weather states such as California, Texas and Florida, the bass-bug taper line is great for casting larger bass baits such as bucktails, poppers or bugs. The bass-bug taper can also be used in saltwater because of its durability and ability to handle larger flies and cut through harsh wind.

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