With regards to versatility, one of the best all-around pieces of fishing gear you can buy is a floating line.
You’ll have the ability to fish pretty much any style, and the best thing? It’s seriously exciting when you see a fish steaming in to attack your fly.
I will help you choose the best floating fly line so that you’ll get the best out of your sport.
I’ve had a look at a few great options and will run through some top tips to help you pick.
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Table of Contents
- Best Floating Fly-Fishing Lines – Need to Know
- Top 5 Best Floating Fly Lines in 2021
- Complete Guide to Floating Fly Lines
Best Floating Fly-Fishing Lines – Need to Know
Let me quickly run through a few pointers about some of the best floating fly lines.
Unlike with sinking fly lines, color isn’t too important. It boils down to personal preference. I like easy-to-see colors.
This all depends on where you fish and what you are fishing for. A #5wt line is a great middle-ground for most types of fly fishing.
Here’s a quick rule of thumb.
The bigger the water, the thicker the line.
Here’s one area that you don’t need to think about. Fly line is pretty thick and will easily handle most fish into double figures.
Time spent tying knots is missed fishing time. Look for fly lines with pre-attached leader loops. Aside from saving time, they make for a better fly presentation.
Taper is a biggie. Your best bet is to go for a weight-forward line in most cases (unless you are fishing tiny nymphs on small streams).
Here’s how you tell…
It will say “WF” on the fly line!
Top 5 Best Floating Fly Lines in 2021
Complete Guide to Floating Fly Lines
Ok, you’ve seen a fair range of fly fishing lines there.
(did I tell you I’ve got more? Specifically for Bass fishing?)
It can be hard to know which to choose, so I’m going to give you some pointers. Here’s everything you need to know about floating fly fishing lines.
What Does Weight Forward Fly Line Mean?
This refers to the taper of the line.
You know what a taper is, right?
Unlike conventional fishing lines, fly line is slightly different. This is because aside from the fly, there is no weight whatsoever to propel the fly on the cast. The answer is to use a line that has weight placed in strategic points…
Otherwise known as… A taper.
You’ll find with the vast majority of lines that the weight will be focussed towards the top or ‘front’ of the line. This is the end that is nearest the fly. The head of the line is thicker. The body thinner. It gradually tapers down, and with good fly lines, you’ll actually struggle to see it.
The name for this kind of tape is called weight forward. Here are some of the advantages:
- It’s easier to cast.
- It is easier to pick up off the water.
- It is good for a wider range of flies.
A weight forward line is the perfect choice for beginners for all of the above reasons.
What Color Fly Line is Best?
Colour boils down to a few things.
This does include personal preference. No pink lines in my fishing man-bag, thanks! (Alright, there might be one… it’s sooo pretty).
If you fish in low-light conditions or are a fan of fishing sub surface nymphs, you will want to see the line. It is one of the first indications that you have got a bite. If this sounds like you, pick something bold and bright.
And don’t worry about putting the fish off. They really don’t seem to mind (I’ve had trout ‘pecking’ at my line on the surface).
While talking about color, you’ll find that several of the lines above feature a two-tone color. This is a great feature. Once the line changes color in your hand, it’s time to start a new cast, and you should get optimum distance with minimum false casts.
What’s a false cast?
What Size Fly Line Do I Need?
Ok, I need to make something clear. There is only one thing that dictates which size fly line you need.
The number printed on the side of your fly fishing rod is the weight of the fly line you’ll need to cast successfully.
If you are choosing an entire setup, then this is where the decisions have to be made. Here’s a really quick and easy rundown of what each weight of the line is suited to:
- #1-3wt fly line: This fly line is best suited to small streams and still waters. You’ll be casting small flies and catching fish smaller than a few pounds.
- #4-7wt fly line: This is your best choice for a range of fishing, the optimum being #5wt. This will allow you to fish in small ponds and streams but also allow you to ‘punch above your weight’ on bigger waters and with bigger fish.
- #8-12wt fly line: This is heavy-duty stuff, designed for big, hard-fighting fish, such as salmon. It also makes the ideal weight of line to be used in saltwater. The rods that these lines are paired with tend to be quite large.
Floating Line Price
I’ll be honest.
You will get a better fly line if you spend a few more dollars.
But, and it’s a big but…
How much better is a matter of hot debate. You will see diminishing returns the higher you go up in price.
A good fly line can cost anywhere between $20 to $80 and beyond… While I’m not a massive advocate of blowing hundreds on fishing line, I think if you get one good one at the outset, you won’t need to think about it ever again.
Here are a few things I am commonly asked when discussing fly lines.
When should I replace floating fly line?
It pays to regularly inspect your fishing line. Cold water and ground contact makes for a bad mix, and it is easy to put a crack or nick in your line by accident.
At best, it will lessen your presentation and casting distance. At worst, it might cause you to lose the fish of a lifetime!
If your line shows any signs of damage, it might be worth considering an upgrade.
Are expensive fly lines worth it?
As I said above, expensive fly lines are better… But the relationship between cost and performance isn’t linear.
Here’s what I mean.
The difference between a $10 line and a $60 line will be huge. They aren’t even the same thing! But the difference between the $60 and $100 line is less obvious.
Your best bet, in reality, is to get the best you can afford. You’ll get nicer casts, less memory, and hopefully catch more fish.
How do I know if my fly line is floating or sinking?
Look in the water! Is it on top or below?
Nah, I’m just kidding.
Check the box. Any line with an “F” at the end is a floating line. Anything with an “S” on the end is a sinker.
There’s certainly more to fly line than meets the eye. It’s all a little technical. Hopefully, my guide has given you a much better picture of identifying the best floating fly lines.
Get the best you can afford and look for one or two key features, and you’ll be fine!
What’s the most outrageous line color you’ve fished with?
Let me know in the comments. I might even tell you where I bought the pink one!
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