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Choosing the correct fly line

To ensure you get the most from your fly rod it is important to ensure that the fly line matches the rod. Each rod is designed to cast a certain weight of line. If the line is too light or too heavy the rod will not be able to cope and casting will be, at best, very difficult. There is also a real danger of damaging your equipment.

AFTM

The basic measure for both rods and lines is a scale that measures the weight of the first 10 metres of the flyline. The rod is essentially the lever that casts the line.

AFTM number Weight in grams Weight in ounces
3
6.48
0.228
4
7.78
0.274
5
9.07
0.32
6
10.42
0.366
7
11.99
0.422
8
13.61
0.48
9
15.55
0.55
10
18.14
0.64
11
21.38
0.75
12
24.62
0.86

The suitable AFTM rating is usually written on the rod with a # to show the rating or weight of the line the rod is designed for.

A rod showing that it is 8 feet long and designed for a weight 5 line.

Buying a line

Presuming you have purchased your rod first, you will then need to purchase a fly line that matches it. On the rod you will see a # followed by a number. So #8 refers to a rod designed for an 8 weight line and #4 is a rod designed for a 4 weight line.

Note: it does not matter whether the line is a sinking or floating line, double taper or forward weight, it is the AFTM rating that must be matched to the rod.

Purchasing a line

On each fly box there is a usually a code indicating what type of line it is. This may look like DT4F which is read as a double taper line, weight 4, floating. WF8S is a weight forward, weight 8 sinking line.

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