Of Rods and Reels

The Basics for BuyingDependable Fly-fishing Tackle
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Fly Reel

No discussion of fly rods and reels can be made without first exploring their reason for being: the fly line. The fly line is absolutely the most important tool the fly-fisher uses, for from it all else comes. Given that, let's take a look at fly lines: how they differ, how they are made, their history, which ones are used for which situations, and so on.

In centuries past, fly lines were constructed of braided horsehair. Fly-fishing historians tell us that early in the 19th century, someone came up with the idea to add silk to the horsehair, and later, about 1870, fly lines began to be constructed of silk without the horsehair.

Things didn't change all that much until 1949, when some crafty anglers at Scientific Anglers found that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) could be applied with heat to a nylon line. This was a huge step forward in the evolution of fly lines. Later, cotton Dacron cores would replace nylon, and additional coatings and cores would appear, such as urethane and Kevlar, the latter of which"body armor" and military combat helmets are made.

In 1961 the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association (AFTMA) and the American Casting Association (ACA) got together to get a handle on all the changes that had occurred in fly lines. Looking for a way to demystify these lines, they came up with a simple code system using numbers and letters to tell the buyer what they were looking at. This code first reflects the line's taper, then the weight, and finally the buoyancy rating. The code is placed on the outside of the line's package.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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