Ah yes… the over-lining debate. It has caused many a quarrel and many a snarl. I have read and heard all sides of the story and all opinions… And the opinions certainly do vary. Now I respect anyone’s opinion and I’ll certainly not try to shove my beliefs down someone’s throat.
Now I agree with Salmo… It does seem like Big Cliff is against over-lining and he has stated some good reasons for this.
My personal feelings on over-lining have changed over the years. At first… I strongly believed that one should match the line to the rod at all cost. I did, however, think it was OK to over-line if you felt that your casting performance increased… but only as a last resort. I even over-lined my 3wt rod with a 4wt line. I also believed it was forbidden to ever underline. Why?… because this was the theory that was printed the most.
Then one day an older gentleman came to our fly fishing club in Tyler, TX to give a presentation on fly casting. As he began to talk about underlining a fly rod, I cracked a smile, and thought he had lost what little sanity he had left. However, I figured that I should show my respect and listen to what this old fart had to say. As he explained his theory I became totally enlightened. He even took us outside and gave a detailed casting demonstration and lesson. Yes… I could see his point. There are occasions when underlining is a great idea. I was transformed.
So my opinion now is this. For shorts casting with light rods, I think you should still match the line with the rod. You can however over-line and get away with it. It may even improve your cast if your skills are presently in the basic to intermediate range. So far small stream rods, if you feel you must, go ahead and kick it up a notch. You’re not going to making long casts anyway. For long casts it does make sense to underline because of the effective weight of the line actually traveling through the air... And yes... it may even be foolish to over-line a heavier weight rod.
So there is my two cents. Take it for what its worth to you.
Now… who was this old fart to cause me to think outside of the fly casting box?… Doug Macnair. In my opinion... he is a casting expert.