grain weight

The Forum is Closed. Forums The Tackle grain weight

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 2 years, 2 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    Hey friends, here’s something I have been trying to learn more about, but I am at a wall. I have seen charts that have grain weight for fly line and I understand it, but the problem is, how do you tell what line has how much grain weight? For example, Rio Grande is 1.5 times heavier than Rio Gold. Ok, I got that. But where on the box does it say how much grain weight it has? Also Rio trout LT, how much does it have? I’m just using Rio for an example, I really don’t care what line it is, I’m just trying to learn this fly line grain weight thing to match my rods better. Catalogs are no help.

    One thing I have learned is there are way too many lines out there for each fly line company. The only lines that note grain weight are spey lines.

    Is there a web site that can help me?


    Dark Waters

    Hi Scotty, you might want to try their website, or you could weigh the first 30 feet yourself to know for sure. I have done that but found other things line diameter/wind resistance also have an effect on casting performance and feel.

    Personally I dislike Rio lines because they tend to be overweight, and over sized.

    I like wulff triangle tapers in standard and now, also the long belly bamboo lines. To me these are consistent, properly weighted lines that I know and trust and will use them to evaluate a rod for what line it likes. There are exceptions as always.

    I have the triangle taper lines in 3-7 weight and the long belly/bamboo (its a DT with a running line) in 3-5 weight. The TT is a little lighter because of the taper, and the 3 TT is way too light for my liking, but everything else to me is spot on.

    I also have an old WF3F SA XPS line I really like, and used to have their Trout lines in all the same sizes but I sold them. Those are regarded as true weight lines (they were changed recently, how much I have no idea) but loaded deeper. I really like the gentle presentation and turnover of the Wulff lines so they are my favorites.

    Rio may float better, they are thicker, but tend to take up more room on a reel. Most importantly, use what you like but don’t be afraid to experiment. The results can be interesting.


    Scotty MacFly

    DW, in all reality, I prefer Airflo. But Airflo isn’t as popular as Rio, so I used Rio as just an example because everyone is familiar with it. I don’t much care for Rio either. Airflo is more true to weight as well.

    The Wulff lines are difficult for me to find, but looking through one of my catalogs, they offer it.

    Have you or anyone here tried SA’s new Ultra line? It’s made for fiberglass and bamboo rods. They call it their Heritage line because they went way back and got some old tapers and made this new line from what I understand.

    The reason I’m asking this question is because I was fishing and when the wind kicked in I had to double haul. On the back cast I couldn’t get any line out. I’d pull on the line, but it wouldn’t feed through the guides. Only on the forward haul would it shoot out. It’s a 4wt rod, with 4wt line. I don’t remember what line it is, except that it is….wait for it…..Rio. It was a gift, what could I say?

    So I came home, threw my other reel on the rod with 5wt Airflo Elite, and what a completely different feel. I could feel the rod load much easier, due to the over lining of course. So it got me wondering, because I knew the Rio line was 4wt, but was it Gold, or Rio Trout LT? I know it wasn’t Grand. I have heard the Rio LT is actually heavier than the Gold. To me that should be false advertising.

    So for a 4wt rod with 4wt line, the line should be from 114gr. to 126gr. with 120 being optimal. Is that the right word, optimal? Nowhere on any boxes that I have seen shows you what grain the line is. You think that would be helpful? Then we would know if the line you want is either on the lighter or heavier side. Is that too much to ask? I submit that it is not.

    I do know the 5wt line on that 4wt rod felt sweet. But I would like to keep it true to weight. I don’t have any Airflo in a 4wt.

    Studying these different lines with little info is getting me all confused. I am understanding that if you want to turn over large flies or cast short distance, you want a front loaded line because of more mass near the front.
    And a more gradual taper helps with a more gentle presentation, and casting smaller flies.
    Occasionally casting long, I want a long bellied line.

    Is this correct?

    I’m about ready to get some kite string and be done with it.



    You’re making it more complicated than it is Scotty. They don’t list it on the box, because most fly fisherman don’t worry about it and frankly…don’t care.

    I keep my fishing as simple as I can. I know you’re aware of that. I only use two lines on glass and bamboo. Silk, or the Cortland peach DT lines. Silk is stupid expensive and I don’t use them much. I’d have to get a swinging deal to buy one and it wouldn’t be brand new. That leaves the peach line, and it’s what I use 90% of the time. I buy them for $50 and I have one that’s 5 years old and still working fine. No way in hell will I pay $90 -$100 for a plastic line. The last silk line I bought was a Phoenix that had only been lawn cast and it cost me $110.

    Try a Peach DT on your new rod and stop analysing it so much. The Peach will be true weights to the line size.



    A couple of things – I guessing you know that a Rio Grand isn’t 1.5 times heavier than Rio Gold – it’s a half size heavier. So if the first 30′ of a 4 wt should be 120 grains and a 5 is 140 grains, a 4 wt Gold ought to be 130. Some think a little heavier line loads a tippy, stiff graphite rod better. Some think it’s just a way to sell more lines. (Guess which theory I believe)

    With the exception of the few lines that claim to be a half size heavier for marketing purposes all flylines are supposed to measure their designated weight. The plus or minus 6 grains is just to account for manufacturing tolerances. To pay someone to weigh each individual line and put the exact figure on the box would mean the cost would be passed on to the customer and flylines are already expensive enough. And really, six grains is barely a third of a gram – I’d wager you’ll add nearly as much weight switching from a 7 1/2′ leader to a 12 footer. Far more important IMO is the particular design of the taper – all WF’s are not created equal. Which is why a good flyshop is your best resource – having a few different demo lines available so you can make an informed choice before dropping $$$ on a line that may or may not suit your rod or individual casting style. I was fortunate to have a couple of good shops nearby in my younger days when I was trying to figure out all this stuff. Of course, casting isn’t fishing but at least it’s a start.

    Line choice can make a dog of a rod come alive, or vice versa. What I like – Wulff TT’s on fuller-flexing rods like bamboo, long-belly WF’s on quicker graphites. YMMV.


    Scotty MacFly

    I know it shouldn’t be as hard as I’m making it. I’m just trying to understand it better because my Scott A4’s to me feel underlined. I fished with my 4wt last weekend, and had 4wt line on, and I had to struggle to get a good cast. Just now I was outside with my A4 5wt, with 5wt line, and it had the same results. I believe, and this is just my theory, these rods need to be overlined by one.

    Grsdlnr, I’m glad you corrected me on the line wt for the Grand. It is half size heavier.

    All I know is when I try a double haul, the back cast won’t take the line like the forward cast. My timing is good, and the a4 shoots line like crazy on the forward cast. But it won’t feed on the back cast unless I go up a weight. All my other rods work great with the weight they are rated for. I’m just trying to figure out the A4’s.

    What I should do is cast with my eyes closed and go by feel. If it feels better up one weight, then that’s what I’ll stick it with. I just can’t feel these rods load with the rated line.



    It sounds like for you and the way you cast the A4 rods do require a heavier line. Use the line the rod works with. I have a Diamondback Backwater that simply won’t load with the 8wt for which its rated, but overlined by one or even two sizes throws even the bulkiest bass or pike fly like a champ.

    Back in the days when bamboo ruled many mfr’s would just list the actual weight of the rod itself but didn’t rate their rods for a particular line size at all. They left it up to the fisherman to figure out which line to use.



    I always hated that. I don’t want to buy a 7wt rod when i’m looking for a 5wt.


    Scotty MacFly

    OK, I got the A4 figured out thanks to a wonderful lady from Scott. There are things about the A4 I have forgotten about that she reminded me of, and they were reasons why I bought the rod for in the first place.

    The A4 in the trout series of rods are considered a fast rod. From the reviews I read, they said med/fast. The 9’6″ & 10ft rods are med/fast. These rods were built for close to medium distance casting, anywhere from 25 to 45 ft. They were not built for parking lot casting, which I don’t do anyway. I can load it one line heavier and get it to load easier, but they recommend to keep it in the line weight they built it for, but I can use a heavier grain like the Rio Grand for example if I choose. That may give me the feel I am looking for.

    I now remember why I bought the rod for in the first place, up close pocket water. It’s a perfect rod for that. I just use it all the time on the Poudre I started using it in the pools and flats. It’s the flats I want distance, and the line I have on it, plus the way it’s built don’t match for that.

    In short, I was pushing the rod too hard, and I knew from day one this rod didn’t like to be pushed.
    I’m having one of those moments.


    Dark Waters

    It’s OK Scotty. I have not even fished for trout yet this year, I might make it out next Sunday, or… maybe harass some stockers nearby this weekend. On call for work so I have to stick close.


    Dry Fly Guy

    This old post may be of some use to you…

    ~ DFG


    Scotty MacFly

    Thanks DFG! I have a chart like that, but the information that yours gives explains a lot.

    Thank you.

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