A few decades ago wet flies were a quirk of regional game fishing: now a whole range of purpose-made lines has festooned the market and the wet fly fisher must buy intelligently In the days when the only fly lines available to the game fisherman were of dressed silk, considerable time and trouble had to be expended to maintain or renew the oils and soft substances used in the dressing to ensure that the line remained waterproof and would continue to float on every outing.
This was particularly important for the correct presentation of the floating fly—the order of the day on very many fisheries, particularly the Southern chalk streams. In other parts of the country, fishing a sunken fly was perfectly acceptable, and many anglers discovered that they could work their sunken flies more effectively if the line dressing wore off, resulting in a waterlogging of the line and so, slow sinking.
Plastic-coated fly lines In recent years the development of plastic-coated fly lines has proceeded. Apace, offering the angler a very wide choice of line profiles at varying densities. These have enabled him to fish efficiently in any water. No matter at what depth the trout (or salmon) might be feeding.
I CI Fluon coated lines have very little friction, and as a result they shoot through the rod rings positively, enabling long, effortless casts to be made. Such a line handles ex-tremely well, and its flexibility is unaffected by cold conditions—a most important plus during winter fishing. Coated lines are available in a variety of colours. A light coloured one, particularly white when viewed from below, is less visible to the fish as it blends well against the light of the sky. From the fisherman’s point of view a light floater makes it easier to see all takes, which is essential for consistent success.
Fly lines are given an AFTM number. This makes it possible to match a lin’e perfectly with a fly rod carrying a similar number itself. The AFTM number is based on the weight in grains of the first 30 feet of line.
Lines are also coded: F—floating; S—sinking; I—intermediate; WF — weight forward; DT—double taper; SH—shooting head; L—level. The selection of the correct line profile is dictated by necessity. Where casting range is short, and delicacy and accuracy essential, the correct choice will be the double taper pro-file or the single taper lines offered by some manufacturers. After all, if one is talking about casting a max-imum distance of some 15 yards, there seems little point in loading with a line twice that length.
The use of half a double taper line, attached to a backing of nylon monofilament or braided Terylene, reduces the size of reel needed, which, in turn, reduces the weight at the butt end of the rod, leading to more efficient and comfortable casting. It should not be overlooked that half a fly line costs proportionately less than a full one, whether one purchases from a cooperative dealer, or simply buys a full line and shares it with a friend.