UNDERSTANDING FLY LINE TAPERS

In Guideline we take great pride in designing fly lines. Some lines are made for a more specific type of fishing and others are aimed more towards an all-round usage. It's not possible to make one line that fits every need or type of fishing. Understanding the basics/physics and the terms used to explain the different parts in a line makes it easier for you to select the line you are looking for. The shape (profile) of a fly line determines how it will cast and look in the air, it' also determines how energy is transmitted through the line and out to the fly. Fly lines consist of different parts and the length/weight of those gives us control over how energy and speed is transmitted.

Head

The head, the way we describe and measure it, is the tip, the front taper, belly and rear taper. We do not include handling line even if it’s a thicker part of the line than the running line.
 

- Short heads have fast turnover and great speed but may sacrifice distance. In general very well suited for places with limited back cast possibilities and for fishing at short to medium distance.
- Normal head lengths are found in the 10-11m range for a WF line and they are the ultimate compromise for fishing and presenting at most distances.
- Long heads offer more long-range control, but can require more false casting to clear the head from the rod and they are generally more complicated to use when fishing in tight spots.
 

Tip

The level front end section of line is typically 4-6 inches long and has a welded loop for easy connection of the leader. The tip allows you to change leaders without shortening the front taper or altering the way a line casts.
 

Front Taper

Tip diameter and length of the front taper affect how a fly is delivered to the fish. The leader plays a role as well, but the line has much greater energy so it must be considered first.

- Longer front tapers are typical for lines meant for delicate presentations, as the energy is dispatched over a longer distance vs. shorter ones.
- Shorter front tapers mean more powerful turnovers because more energy is transferred from the belly to the tip and are typical for lines that are made for heavier or bulkier flies.

 

Belly


The belly is the section with the largest diameter and weight concentration. It is the part of the line with the most energy.

- Longer bellies increase casting distance and accuracy.
- Shorter bellies shoot better and have faster turnover but sacrifice accuracy.
- When we talk about belly lengths, a short one would be less than 3 meters and a long one is generally more than 3,5 meters (Long Belly). In our WF lines, a belly length of around 2,5 to 3,0 meters is to be considered as standard/normal.
 

Rear Taper

Rear taper length determines how smoothly the energy is transferred to the belly.

- Longer rear tapers transmit energy smoothly and add stability to the belly for increased distance and control. It also gives a slower turnover of the line, making it stay in the loop longer. Important on the longest casts.
- Shorter Rear Tapers generate higher speed into the belly and generally create a faster line. Lines that are good for Spey Casting typically have shorter rear taper to put the weight closer to the rod tip which is needed for these casts.

 

Handling line

The handling line is a slightly thicker part of the running line which makes your loops a bit more rigid and also adds stability plus flexibility to how much line you can manage in the air when your whole head length is outside the rod tip. It also adds strength to the most vulnerable part of the line that takes a lot of strain when you are double hauling/false casting.

 

Running Line

This section of line helps make distance casting easier when shooting line.

- Running lines are lightweight, which permits the energy and weight stored in the line’s head to pull the running line through the guides during casting. The thinner, the less friction, however too thin can be troublesome when mending line fishing in rivers.
- A smaller diameter in the running line also creates less friction in the guides, which promotes longer casts.

      

DENSITIES & SINK RATES OF SINKING FLY LINES & LEADERS

The world of sinking fly lines and leaders can be a bit daunting at first with many different densities, sink speeds and ratings that sometimes do not line up depending on where you seek information. Below we have made a table for our fly lines and their sink rates in inch per second and cm per second. 

   

Please note that the numbers below only act as guidelines and that sink rates are depending on several other factors. For example - a full sinking S3 fly line with a fluorocarbon leader and a heavy fly will sink faster and deeper than a S3 PolyLeader connected to a floating line and a small unweighted fly. 

   

   

Density

Sink rate - inch/sec

Sink rate - cm/sec

Hover & Slow Int. > 0,5 > 1,25
Intermediate 1 2
Fast Intermediate 1,5 3,75
Sink 1 1,75 4,3
Sink 2 2 5
Sink 3 3 7,5
Sink 4 4 10
Sink 5 5 12,5
Sink 6 6 15
Sink 7 7 17,5

     

     

T-TIPS OR TUNGSTEN TIPS

 

We also want to mention some details on T-tips or tungsten tips used for heavy sinking lines and tips on Skagit heads. They can be purchased both as ready-made tips in different lengths with pre-made loops, but also as bulk spools where you cut the desired length yourself.  To make things a little bit confusing compared to the table above, the number on the T-tips (T-10, T-14 etc) do not refer to the sink-rate per inch. Instead it indicates the actual weight in grains per foot. Some short examples - a T-14 tip cut to 10" weight 140 grains / 8,7 grams, a T-18 tip cut to 15" weight 270 grains / 16,7 grams. The sink rate of a tungsten tip is depending in its length - a long tip sink faster than a short of the same type. But as a general hint you can use sink rates displayed below as a guideline. 

   

T6 Sink Rate - 7”/sec. = 18 cm/sec.
T10 Sink Rate - 8”/sec. = 20 cm/sec.
T14 Sink Rate - 9”/sec. = 23 cm/sec.
T18 Sink Rate - 10”/sec = 25 cm/sec. 

   

   

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