Whats more important

The Forum is Closed. Forums The Tackle Whats more important

This topic contains 11 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Creek 1 year, 4 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    If there is an area that I really have a hard time with, it’s understanding fly line. I just don’t seem to get it….at all. I understand grain weight, so that’s not the issue.

    I’m having a hard time trying to put this in words because I don’t know how to ask this, but I’ll try.

    I guess in short, what tapers work best for what situations? What is more important, the front taper, belly, or the rear taper? Or should I just be concerned about the total head length? I have been looking at charts on tapers on different lines, and I am confused and intimidated.

    On my soft rods, a 5wt rod, full flexing rods, I like a 5wt Airflo Elite. Front taper is 7.5, the belly is 24.5, and the rear taper is 6.5. Head length is 39′ with a level tip of 0.5.

    SA Ultra Heritage has a front taper of 7.5, belly is 21, and rear taper is 10, so with a 0.5 level tip, total head is also 39′. The belly of each is a little different, but the rear tapers is completely different. I like the Airflo better on it’s performance. As for the SA line, I want to overline it by one weight to get it to do what I want, or become similar to the Airflo line. The head length is the same, but the act and feel different. So this tells me not to worry about the head length as a whole, but look at the front and rear tapers. I hear a line with a long belly will cast farther than a short belly. True?

    I read on a post on a different forum where someone like the Airflo River & Stream on their fiberglass rod. That line in a five wt is 160 grains at 30ft. That’s a 6wt line. But maybe they really like to slow the action down that much for themselves, and that’s fine. But on faster rods, the River & Stream is perfect and that’s what it is designed for, faster rods.

    On my bamboo rod I have the Classic Peach in a 4wt, and it’s great, I really like it, but I used a 4wt Rio line on it, I forgot which one, and did not like it. It was hard to cast. But I put on a 5wt SA Heritage and it was wonderful. Feels like the 4wt Classic Peach. I don’t get it. It’s too much for me to understand it all and figure what lines work best for what.

    I’m not made of money, and I hate spending money on lines that don’t perform the way I need them to.



    First things first –

    I hear a line with a long belly will cast farther than a short belly. True?

    IMO, no. You can mend a longer length of an LB line because of its longer mid section. Take a hypothetical standard WF line with a 6′ front taper, a 35′ belly and a 6′ rear taper. Cast 65′ (not counting the leader) with that line and you’ll have the head and about 18′ of thin running line past the rod tip. That running line doesn’t have the mass to move much of the heavier head section. Now take a hypothetical LB line with the same front and rear taper but a 50′ mid. The same 65′ cast now has only a few feet of light running line past the tip top and can be mended with ease. Not a critical advantage for 95% of trout fishing situations but steelheaders who routinely make long casts appreciate LB lines. I find no disadvantage using an LB for shorter casts – it behaves pretty much like a DT until you get into the running line.

    As to your main question, I get why you’re confused – the mfr’s have gone overboard with “a line for every situation” to the extent that it’s not easy to find a good all-around line. For me, I have settled on either a Wulff TT or Wulff LB for most of my trout lines. IMO TT’s don’t mate well to fast, stiff graphite rods (of which I have none anyway)

    Overlining makes sense when you’re fishing very short casts where there just isn’t enough line out to load the rod. Otherwise, using a size heavier than normal to slow down the cast wouldn’t be my advice.

    I get that it’s expensive to buy a line only to have it cast poorly with a particular rod. Some fly shops have demo lines they’ll let you try, borrow from friends, or buy second-hand for a while – you’ll find your favorites.


    Scotty MacFly

    Some people say a DT line is just like a WF line but on both ends, so you can cut a DT line in half and have two WF lines. O.k., that’s a nice thing to have if it’s true. But if it is true, why is a DT line better for short & more delicate presentations when a WF line is more for distance?

    Ok, here’s the only way I know how to ask this question, and it took me all day to figure out how to say it.

    There are different types of tapers; here are just four of them.
    1. Traditional
    2. Long rear taper
    3. Rear loaded compound
    4. Front loaded compound

    This is what’s killing me, for example: Royal Wulff TT is a rear loaded compound tapered line. It has a front taper of 4.5′, a belly that’s 29′ and a rear taper of 6′. Total head is 39.5′.

    Airflo River & Stream is also a rear loaded compound taper, but it’s really different. It has a front taper of 17′, a belly of 18′, and a rear taper of 11′. Total head is 46′.

    SEE WHY I’M CONFUSED???? I can see why Airflo R&S is good for fast rods. It has a longer head, a longer front and rear taper. It’s also a whole one size heavy line with a 5wt line having 160 grains at 30′ of line. That’s a 5wt line that weighs as much as a 6wt line.

    The Royal Wulff TT is 144 grains for a 5wt line. That’s close to being nominal. A true 5wt line.

    I can see using the RWTT line for slow, medium, and med/fast rods, but to use Airflo R&S on a slow rod, nope, I don’t buy it. But that’s just my opinion.

    Now lets compare the Wulff TT against Airflo Elite. The Airflo Elite is considered a traditional line. It has a front taper of 7.5, belly is 24.5, and the rear taper is 6.5 with a total head of 39′. It’s VERY similar to the Wulff TT line, so why is it a traditional line and not the TT line? Even the grain weight is only one grain different with the Elite being 145 grains at 30′. AUGH!!!

    The only thing I see as a significant difference between the two is the shape of the heads. The TT line has a long sloping taper.

    So, what is a traditional line used for?
    What is a long rear taper line used for?
    What is a rear loaded compound line used for, and so on and so on blah blah blah?

    That’s the big question.

    Please tell me I am over analyzing all this. It’ll make me feel better.

    Grs., is the Wulff LB as good as I hear it is for bamboo?

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  Scotty MacFly.


    It is surprising to most younger guys that we actually fished with level lines years ago and caught fish with them. MacFly, if you have bamboo in your mix you have found out that the right line can make all the difference in how a rod performs. This is true in all materials and lengths and actions of rods. So much is dependent on the particular line and taper as to how it matches up with the rods action. At one time not so long ago most lines on the market used similar tapers for WF and DT except the WF just dropped to a running line after the rear taper.

    Fly lines are rated by weight in the first 30′ of line. All this is changing as mfg’ers strive to present some new idea to get us to reach for our wallets each spring instead of just cleaning and dressing the perfectly good lines we all own. Half weight lines? Lines a full line weight heavier to complement modern graphite, which is too stiff for the rating most times. Why not list them as a six instead of a one line weight heavier five? It’s all a game but what isn’t is how critical finding the line for your rod and your style of fishing. Your choice and mine might well be different with the identical rod since few of us have identical strokes in delivery.

    As for delicate DT and long casting WF, there is something to this second part but if front tapers are identical they are then equally “delicate”. The WF will give you more distance once you’re into the rear taper simply because the running line is thinner, goes through guides easier, and after the first 30′ does not keep adding excess weight to handle in the air like a DT with it’s heavier center section. It is far easier to shoot a full line with WF than DT, but makes no difference if you’re fishing a dry fly at 25-30′. Same “delicate” presentation since it’s the same weight of line and taper.




    You know I like to keep everything simple Scotty. I use the Peach DT lines and don’t bother even thinking about any other lines. I got trapped where you are no years ago. I studied all the tapers and wasted money buying lines.

    Now, I just load up a Peach and go fish. It has the taper I like for med action rods. It’s true to weight, so I know if I buy a 5wt it’s a 5wt. The best part is it cost less than $50.

    It’s all I can ask of a line.



    Grs., is the Wulff LB as good as I hear it is for bamboo?

    I think so. They make a “bamboo special” that is identical to the regular LB except for the color (tan not the glaring white of their regular LB. I prefer muted colors on trout lines – maybe it makes no difference to the fish but what the heck)

    The only thing I see as a significant difference between the two is the shape of the heads. The TT line has a long sloping taper.

    And it is a significant difference. The first 30′ of a TT should weigh the same as the first 30′ of a standard WF. But at, say 15′, because of the TT’s continuous taper it’s lighter than a standard WF which is why it many people don’t care for them – they feel like the rod’s not loading well, especially a stiff graphite rod. If you do a lot of roll casting a TT will make you happy. The heavier part of the line turns over the lighter part (tip) easily.

    Delicacy of presentation? That’s up to the caster more than the type of line. If you’re spooking fish with a 5 wt WF, the answer isn’t a 3 wt DT it’s some casting lessons. 😉

    Overanalyzing the subject? Only you can answer that question. Unless you’re into fishing in snowshoes (I’m not) the mind does tend to wander in winter.


    Scotty MacFly

    Hello Nick, it’s nice to meet you. You have mentioned things that are right on and I’m learning those things quickly like the line manufacturers changing everything. It seems once I have the answers, they change the questions. These new lines from Rio and SA I believe, and this is just my own opinion, are mostly just hype. There wasn’t anything wrong with the old lines these new ones just replaced. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

    And I never saw it that way about if DT & WF tapers being identical, they would be equally delicate. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    GRS, to answer my own question, yeah, I think I am over analyzing everything by looking at too much at one time. I just want to learn more about different fly lines, and understand how each one performs, not every line, but enough lines to get an understanding that line X works great for this type of rod and line Y works best for these types of rods. That’s all I want.

    Creek, hey buddy, I’m really do like your approach on things. I do already have some favorite lines for different rods, and I ask myself why am I doing this? Fly fishing is to be enjoyed at the level I’m at. That’s what my grandfather would say. He did tell me over & over to keep it simple, have fun, and don’t get too caught up in the science of it, because it will drive you nuts. Well, it is. I think I’ll stick to the Peach for my boo, and Airflo for my Scotts. At least Airflo hasn’t raised their prices…..yet.

    Creek, you once mention the 406 lines and how you liked them. I take it the Peach is just a better line for what you want out of a line?

    I think a lot of my problem is I read so many reviews by so many people on certain things, like fly lines, and on some things I really think some people giving the reviews just like to talk. Somethings I have read in articles are hard for me to believe. I think they’re just trying to help sell a product, and they’ll say anything. And what may work for them may not work for me.



    I did try the 406 and it was a good line. Not enough for me to stop using the Peach though.

    Not all lines have the same taper for a DT and WF. You need to look at the tapers and compare.

    One advantage for DT lines is after you beat up the line on the rocks. You can turn it around. I would never cut the line in half. I like to see the reel filled with line. It’s traditional.


    Scotty MacFly

    The different tapers is what got me into this mess in the first place, lol.
    I’m going to give up on it. I don’t need to be wasting my time looking for the perfect line, wasting time and money when I have lines already that feel good to me and do what I want & need them to do. I’d rather spend my time fishing. Too many other things to worry about than fly line.



    I do things backwards from most. I know i’m going to use a Peach DT line no matter what. So, I find rods the line works on. :)


    Scotty MacFly




    I wish.

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