Fly-lines can be very expensive and the beginner should buy one of the cheaper varieties to use when learning to cast. An expensive fly-line can crack and split easily with clumsy casting so it is wise to learn to cast with a cheap line. The size of line-should be chosen to suit the A.F.T.M. Rating of the rod. Several types of fly-line are available and the novice should make sure he is buying the right one. For delicate presentation of fly and for most general use there is the double taper fly-line. As the name suggests these lines are thickest in the centre and taper gradually to each end. These are denoted by the letters D.T. Before the size number. Weight-forward lines are self explanatory and are used where distance casting is more important than delicate presentation. Although they can be cast delicately with practice. These are denoted by the letters w.F. Before the size number. Floating fly-lines are denoted by the letter F. after the size number, and sinking lines by the letters. The most versatile line for the beginner to choose for an A.F.T.M.6 rod would be a D.T.GF. Fly line.
Fly-lines look thick and clumsy but it must be remembered that it is the weight of the fly-line which carries the artificial fly to the fish. One of the advantages of using a double taper fly-line for river or small lake fishing is that, since it is rare to cast more than half the fly-line when fishing, if one half begins to show signs of wear and tear, the line can simply be reversed and so two fly-lines are bought for the price of one. Fly-lines are usually only 30 yards (27 metres) long and need some backing wound on to the reel beneath the fly-line. It is unlikely that you will ever hook a fish large enough to strip all the fly-line off the reel, especially in a river, but it is always wise to be prepared. Braided backing line can be purchased from a tackle shop and should be securely fastened on to the end of the fly-line. A length of tapered nylon called a leader is attached to the hook end of the fly-line. It is this nylon leader which actually presents the fly to the fish, and leaders are sold in three yard lengths (2-7 metres) size coded from o x to 6 x.
This code denotes the diameter at the tip of the leader and the corresponding breaking strain. As an example, o x leaders have a breaking strain of 10 lb (4-5 kg) and size 6x leaders have a breaking strain of 2 lb (0.9 kg). The higher the number, the finer the leader point. The leader tapers gradually from the loop which joins on to the fly-line down to the fine point. A short length of nylon line of the same breaking strain as the leader tip should be tied to the end of the leader with a blood knot. This length of nylon should be about 18 inches (0.46 metres) long and is known as the point. The idea of having a nylon point on the end of the leader is that every time you change a fly you are reducing the length of nylon line. If you tied the flies direct to the nylon leader you would be working back along the tapered length. After having used several flics you would have worked back along the tapered line so far that the point breaking strain would increase considerably, causing clumsy fly presentation. !