Floating lines

Floating lines are ideal for the presentation of sunken flies which require little ‘working’ through the water, or require to be worked very close to the surface, either in Stillwater or gently flowing rivers. The depth at which a sunken fly can be fished in Stillwater is restricted by the length of the leader—on average some 3-4 yards. It takes quite a long time for an unweighted nymph to sink to that depth, and when trout are feeding close to the bed of a lake, it is common practice to use a dressing containing lead to speed the sink.

On the other hand, where the fish are feeding off the bottom, application of floatant to the leader will en-sure that the nymph does not sink too deep. Sometimes, when the fish are feeding and sporting at the sur-face—and this is particularly common in reservoirs—a lure is fished on a floating line, stripped back so quickly that it skips across the sur-face, creating a definite wake.

Neutral density lines

Neutral density lines are the modern equivalent of the old silk line, requiring the application of a floatant if they are to be used as a floating line, or used untreated as a slow sinking line. The main advantage of this line was that a suitable length of the tip could be left ungreased, allowing it to sink, and enabling a sunk fly to be fished at greater depth than would be possible with a standard floater. This has now been superseded by the sink tip line.

This is carefully manufactured so that the tip, which sinks at medium rate, is adequately supported by the floating body of the line. When fishing a nymph in deepish water, the ‘take’ is readily signalled by a movement of the floating section. It is equally efficient at indicating a take ‘on the drop’ , and with its use a faster retrieve of the nymph, fly or lure is possible than with the full floating line, because the pattern in use will not rise to the surface as readily as with the floater. This type of line can be very effective in deeper, or medium-flowing rivers, where it is important that depth is achieved quickly and maintained, or in stillwaters where the margins are full of snags which would tend to foul a full sinker. Some anglers claim to find difficulty in casting a sink tip line because of the imbalance between the dense tip and the less dense body, but this can usually be overcome by practice.