So you have a new rod and found a good deal on a reel, but something’s missing. In fly fishing there is one way to get your fly out on the water in a way that makes it look like a fat juicy meal, the fly line of course.
The fly line may be the most important item when considering fly gear. Fly lines come with different tapers, weights, and materials that are perfectly matched to your specific fishing gear, locations, and conditions. However, all the different types of lines on the market make it a very tough decision. Especially if you have never fly fished before. Let’s start at the beginning.
Examples of the different WF5F fly lines
First of all, think about the type of fishing you are planning. Hopefully that rod you found is already suited for these fishing conditions, as your line and rod need to be a solid match. (See How to match a fly rod, fly line, leader, and tippet article) Otherwise the task at hand is much more difficult. For most people this means a standard one handed trout stream rod. This type of situation primarily uses a weight forward floating line, which is abbreviated like this (WF#F). The # stands for the weight of the rod. Your classic trout rod is five weight (WF5F) but can range from one to six weights depending on location. Your line is going to be matched. Only in certain circumstances does your line vary slightly off weight.
Example of one of our favorite standard trout stream rods
So why a WF5F floating line and what does that mean?
The WF of the WF5F is the taper (meaning weight forward) of the fly line. Not only does this help control the presentation of your fly but its main purpose is to load your rod to cast your fly. In a trout stream this is typically sufficient for casting your dry flies; terrestrials, nymphs and emergers, and even your multi-fly rigs.
Next, the fly line weight is going to range from 1 weight to 15 weight. 1 is the lightest, and is going to be best suited for your smallest of fish whereas the 15 is the beefier side of the spectrum. Not only does this help manage the fish you catch but also determines the ease of casting vs. fly size. The heavier weight line you have the easier it is to cast those big bug flies in your box. As you develop your fly fishing techniques you may find that you want a slightly lighter weight rod as well as a slightly heavier rod for different waters and situations. The 5 weight however is going to fit most of your trout fishing needs.
Lastly, what is the final F for in WF5F? Floating of course. A floating fly line is a great way to start. Starting off with a more technical line is not only unnecessary as a beginner but may also make learning more difficult as they can be harder to cast. With a floating fly line you can fish right on the top of the water with dry flies and also still rig for nymphs / emergers and even streamers. This gives you great versatility to help wrangle those first fish.
Keep it simple and don’t get intimidated by all the options on the market. Go out and spool on a WF5F line and get it out on the water.
In the end, if you just don’t know what to do, give us a call or email and we’ll help you find the best fly line for your needs.
“Be good to the fish and the fish will be good to you”