PLEASE NOTE: In order to post on the Board you need to have registered. To register please email paul@sexyloops.com including your real name and username. Registration takes less than 24hrs, unless Paul is fishing deep in the jungle!

Fly Line for beginners?

Bendix
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:23 pm
Location: Denmark

Fly Line for beginners?

#1

Post by Bendix » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:30 am

Hello All

I don’t know if this subject has been discussed before, so please let me know if it has…

But the thing is, that I work in a tackle shop, that sometimes has complete beginners in fly casting and fly fishing coming in, who want to purchase a new fly line to use to learn fly casting (they usually already have a rod). And then the issue for me is, what type of fly line do I recommend?

The last customer I had, I recommended that he purchase a 7wt SA MPX for his 7wt rod, as I think that the longer belly on this line would be easier to learn with, rather than a short belly line (like the SBT from SA).

But what line would you, as many of you are certified casting casting instructors, recommend for a complete beginner? Would it be a short belly line, or a long belly line?

I would really like to know, so I can become better at my job, and also perhaps help beginners get a good start at fly casting and fly fishing.

Cheers

Bendix

User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 15173
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Answers: 1
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#2

Post by Paul Arden » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:14 pm

Hi Bendix,

This is a really good question. But I wouldn’t call the MPX a long belly. The head is 35’. (The line is 1/2 weight heavy).

So for me the answer has to do with the type of fishing they are doing. I’m not a fan of massively overweight lines for beginners (or anyone in fact) because I think they inhibit learning good casting skills. Some of these lines are terrible.

I think that the MPX is actually a good recommendation. It’s a lot easier to learn the double haul and acquire some reasonable fishing distance with a relatively short head (for me 30-40’ is short, possibly bordering on medium. Long would be 60’ plus).

I am a huge fan of the DT. I personally think if someone wants to learn flycasting then this is a great tool. But if they need distance it is a lot easier to learn with a WF line.

So for beginners in general I would recommend true to weight (or close) WF, with a head length around 40’. If they are fishing rivers then a DT is adequate. If they are fishing the salt where you are, then probably a SH/ST.

Let’s say that they have a Shooting Taper and want to learn good flycasting technique that is not just casting a head… then I would recommend they start with a 40’ WF line. Progress to a DT. And then lastly learn with a long belly WF.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

Bendix
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:23 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#3

Post by Bendix » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:23 pm

Hi Paul

Thanks for your feedback! It is really interesting!

I am of course aware of the fact that it depends on the type of fishing the customer wants to do.

But in the case with the customer and his 7wt rod that I mentioned, he told me that he wanted a line, that he could use for dry fly and nymph fishing in small rivers, Trout in Put & Take lakes, Seatrout on the coast, Salmon in the local rivers, and finally Pike fishing!!! And I honestly don’t know what line can do all of that…

So I sold him the 7wt MPX, and told him to first take it out on a lawn, and try to learn some basic overhead casting, and after that he could use the line for Trout in both Put & Take lakes, and on the coast. And then I told him, that once he felt comfortable with this, he could come back, and then I could sell him a line for Pike fishing, and a sinking shooting head for Salmon (in the local rivers here, you need a fast sinking shooting head in order to connect with the Salmon and Seatrouts). And finally I told him, that if he was serious about dries and nymphs, then he would be better off by getting an extra rod, that’s rated for a 4 or 5wt line.

In my opinion, this was the correct advice to give to the customer… But it would perhaps be interesting to hear the opinion of a certified instructor.

Please keep the answers coming! I would really like to learn to give my customers the best advice!

/Bendix

User avatar
Lasse Karlsson
Posts: 4513
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:40 pm
Location: There, and back again
Contact:

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#4

Post by Lasse Karlsson » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:11 pm

What are those rivers that you need a sinking shootinghead to connect with the salmon?

Contrary to Paul, I don't mind recommending a short heaeed line, thats overweight, but it of course depends on the fishing they are going to do. A DT line true to weight is about the poorest choice to fish coastal seatrout on places like Stevns and Møn under the cliffs, conversly, a overweight short belly line isn't the best to present a size 18 blue dun on a long leader in Grindsted au for grayling. Then again, some people prefer that. Luckily theres no flyfishing police around. Best thing anyone can do, is to take some lessons, and learn. The more you know, the more the fun 😎

Cheers
Lasse
Your friendly neighbourhood flyslinger


It makes no difference at all whether you are in a fishing environment or on a casting court. Technique transcends all casting environments, irrespective of what, and where, those environments exist.

John Waters

Bendix
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:23 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#5

Post by Bendix » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:02 pm

Hi Lasse

The Salmon rivers in my local area, where you need a sinking shooting head, include the Varde river, Sneum river, Kongeaa, and the Ribe river. I know that it can be possible to catch them on floating lines (I have done so myself in Varde river once), but the general consensus is to use sinking shooting heads, which is also done by probably 99% of the fly fishermen over here.
As an alternative, you can go for a floating Skagit head, with an appropriate sink tip, which is also done by some local guys (including myself sometimes).

But about the subject, I guess you are saying that the line I should recommend, depends on what kind of fishing the customer wants to do, which is also what I try to do. That makes sense, thanks!

And yes, I have the possibility to recommend at least 2 CCI’s through the shop, but the problem with this, is usually that people don’t want to pay for that… Even though it would help them a lot.

Thanks again for your advice, Lasse.

/Bendix

User avatar
Graeme H
Posts: 2050
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:54 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#6

Post by Graeme H » Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:00 am

I'd recommend selling them two lines:
  • A WF line for fishing with (for now), and
  • A DT practice line
Tell them to practice with the DT to become the best caster they can be and fish with the other line until they can confidently fish with any line they like (after all that practice.)

They get better service from you and you get another sale.

Cheers,
Graeme
FFi CCI

carlz
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:39 pm

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#7

Post by carlz » Wed Jun 30, 2021 2:27 am

I would say an inexpensive WF line. While I like the idea of DT, until someone can reach past the head, why would they want a DT line. Or maybe just the DT line with the comment that they can flip it when one side wears out.

User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 15173
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Answers: 1
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#8

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Jun 30, 2021 7:34 am

Well I suppose it depends if we are teaching them or if they are going to wait 15 years for a lesson :) If I’m teaching them then very quickly the very short heavy heads that appear common nowadays will inhibit their learning/technique advancement. Normally I teach the double haul in the first lesson (maybe 80% of the time). Somewhere between lesson 2 and 3 a short heavy head is going to limit what we can do. If that’s happening very early on for a student then I can only imagine how challenging/restrictive it becomes for someone long term trying to learn on their own.

Where I might be a bit different in my views is I think that line quality is most important. If we are on a budget buy a cheap reel. Still on a budget buy a cheap rod. The last thing to save money on for me is the line. There is nothing worse than trying to practise with a rough line that doesn’t shoot!

I’m not one of these guys who says “get a lesson, get a lesson” and sounds like a stopped clock :p It took me 15 years to get a lesson and I think that’s pretty common. But when I looked back I wish I had found a way to do it sooner.

And I think there is a reason for the DT recommendation by the way. I find one of the best ways to improve overall casting skills is by working on extending line carry. Line carry involves arc adjustments, power adjustments, improved haul and timing, trajectories, making good use of the body and with excellent tracking being at the core. All the good stuff.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

User avatar
Lasse Karlsson
Posts: 4513
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:40 pm
Location: There, and back again
Contact:

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#9

Post by Lasse Karlsson » Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:35 pm

I find it a bit odd that instructors can get so removed from the goal, getting the beginner to fish as hassle free as possible, so fast :) You know, the best stuff ;)

I agree, a DT is a great practice tool, with a bunch of benefits, but hardly for someone, a beginner, who in all likelyhood will have trouble arialising 30 feet of flyline, let alone 40 feet or more. And most likely will do a Paul Arden and not seek out an instructor for the next 15 years, or do the opposite and seek a beginners course for half a day, and then go fishing for the next 15 years before seeking out another lesson.

Someone willing to pay several hundred dollars for continued lessons from someone like Paul, will have no problem adding a DT to the arsenal on top of the best compromise of a line for their current fishing.
The majority however, and they are the majority, otherwise Paul would be a millionaere, will need a line that fits their current level, which most likely will be their current level for the next 15 years. Do we want them to struggle and have a bad experience? Or do we want to offer advice that fits their need?

Every beginners set I have come across, have got a short headed line that is slightly to heavily overweight, why is that? Its because it helps with getting to grips with this tossing a piece of string around using a bendy stick. Vast majority will never look at carrying a DT to the backing knot, they rather want to get a fly to a fish, and have a slight chance of catching said fish...

And I agree with Paul, a good line helps greatly, but that has got very little to do with the price tag on it. If there's one business rampant with low quality lines sold at top price, its flyfishing, sorry, not sorry!

Cheers
Lasse
Your friendly neighbourhood flyslinger


It makes no difference at all whether you are in a fishing environment or on a casting court. Technique transcends all casting environments, irrespective of what, and where, those environments exist.

John Waters

User avatar
Paul Arden
Site Admin
Posts: 15173
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:20 am
Answers: 1
Location: Belum Rainforest
Contact:

Re: Fly Line for beginners?

#10

Post by Paul Arden » Thu Jul 01, 2021 4:49 am

Blimey I would have to work a lot of hours to be a millionaire at my current rate! Definitely far too much work for me :p
Every beginners set I have come across, have got a short headed line that is slightly to heavily overweight, why is that?
Why are they overweight? Compared to AFFTA? Then it could be because the rods are too stiff. Of maybe the manufacturers expect beginners to be fishing bigger flies and stronger tippets than everyone else?

I realise that our views tend to be skewed by where we fish and you fish the Danish imaginary salt, Lasse, where covering large amounts of water is required. That’s quite a niche problem and it’s no surprise that most use shooting heads.

In my opinion the biggest single fault in fly fishing, both rivers and Stillwaters, is attempting to fish at too great a distance. There are exceptions of course - reservoir banks and when you need significant depth off a boat - but, for most of the time, anglers are lining the water they should be fishing and frequently pickup to recast before the flies have even reached the water that they should have been fishing in the first place.

Many of the WF lines on the market nowadays are really integrated shooting heads. 1-2 weighs up (sometimes more), short head, thin running line (as opposed to shooting line). Well that’s fine and dandy if all you need is distance. But it’s a bit daft to use a shooting head for fishing short to medium range, say while nymphing a stream or fishing loch style in front of a drifting boat.

So as I wrote in my first reply I believe the right recommendation has to do with the type of fishing that is to be done. Fortunately there is much more to fly fishing than monotonous lure bashing!

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

Flycasting Definitions

Post Reply

Return to “Beginners”