Is it Time to Switch How We Think About Fly Lines?
In a former life I spent many days working in a fly shop, part of my job there was to provide on the water instructional tutoring to clients of the shop. During these sessions I always had the clients bring their own equipment (rods, reels, and lines) to use during the time we spent together.
From my experience the biggest detractor from individuals being decent/adequate casters is an improperly lined fly rod. As fly rods have through the years gotten progressively faster and lean more towards “tip flex”, it takes exceptional casters to understand how this affects their casting stroke, and the process of properly loading the rod. Casters that are marginal or not as experienced tend to struggle with this.
The question becomes: if it takes a 6wt line to properly load a 5wt rod for an average caster – isn’t that rod really a 6wt with a 5wt label.
I would argue that to solve the whole mystery around selecting a line that properly pairs with a rod, manufactures of both lines and rods ought to explore changing the game and look more towards measuring each by grains – similar to the spey world. This would eliminate a lot of confusion and allow individuals to get the most out of their equipment.
Essentially each rod would have a target window of grain weight in respect to the line that allows it to achieve optimum performance. This puts the responsibility squarely on the rod manufacture to understand and communicate the appropriate line weight to the users of the product. As well, the line manufactures would replace the weight indication on the packaging with a measured grains – similar to what is being done in the spey world as well as with sink tip lines.