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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.