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Old 03-18-2010, 09:32 PM
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Default Fly line color, does it matter?

I just had a rather heated discussion with a friend of mine over fly line color. He says that casting a fly line over a fish will spook them unless it is basically any color but black. I disagreed vigorously, pointing out that if you wanted a stealthy color to put over a fish, it should be white or sky blue. For example there is a better survival rate for fish with white bellys, because they blend in with the sky and get eaten less. That's why they overwhelmingly, have white bellys. He made a big point of saying that Smallmouth would be spooked by anything other than black. I said that if there was anything to what he said, I should be able to go out and find piles of black lines for bass. This is from a guy who took his entire fly line and colored it black with a magic marker.

My question is, how many of you think that the color of a flyline spooks fish unless it's black?
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

I don't think black would be a good answer to not spook fish. In fact it must be something that they can readily see. Why is it said to fish black flies for bass at night, murkey water, or dark days? I have no idea what would work, but your idea of matching the sky makes the most sense to me.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

I remember reading somewhere that darker flies are better to be seen by fish, so I would assume that a fly line would do the same in a darker color. I think the spooking of the fish would be more due to the presentation of the fly and how the line hits the water than the color of the line... I don't know, I'm still a newb

Justin
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

I agree that the lighter colored lines make sense, or maybe a leafy green under trees. But instead of speculate, why don't we wait and see how many fish your friend catches on his "custom-made" line.

Ant
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

my .02:

as Jimmie said-- in dark(er) conditions, black is the color of choice-- seems counter-intuitive, but black has the best 'profile'.... (read: more definition-- easier to see) so, a black line would be the same-- mo' visible.....

Also agree with you, Dan-- lighter against the sky (white or sky blue) seems like a better bet than black.....

Also-- (blanketed statement coming up) with all of the 'technology' that manufacturers put into gear for this sport, does it seem reasonable that color of fly line was overlooked? or is completely arbitrary? I think they have found the combination of least visible for fish and most visible for the guy throwing the line.....


Also Dan, tell you friend I have a bridge in NY City that I'd be willing to sell him if the price is right....


///edit/// To answer your question in the title "Fly line color, does it matter?' the answer is yes-- you ain't catching fish with black.....
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

The Trout and the Fly by Brian Clarke and John Goddard is one of the 3 or 4 most important books ever written about trout behavior as related to fly fishing.
In it there's a chapter where the reaction of trout to different colored lines is discussed.
As I remember, couple of points were that a white or light colored line flashing across the sky was as startling to the fish as a sudden flash of lighting would be to us, and that a darker line did not reflect the sky's light as readily.
Later in the chapter, they go on to discuss the difference different colored lines made on the water surface.
Hopefully most everyone here knows about a trout's "cone of vision" ,which is a subject too large to go into now, but outside the cone of vision is what Clarke and Goddard called the "mirror", where instead of being able to see up out of the water surface, all they can see is a reflection. Hence "the mirror".
To a trout, when a white or light colored fly line falls into this "mirror", it's very conspicuous and looks like what they called a giant crack, while a dark line was hardly noticed.

I wish I had the book with me so that I could quote it directly, but to answer the question, lighter colors especially white, spook fish while darker colors do not.
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:41 AM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

The fact of the matter is we all catch fish on various colored lines. I've lined
fish with everything from light green to bright yellow, and it's never seemed to
bother fish. Spooky fish might be a different story, but the nearby FF'ing only
stream is C&R, gets lots of pressure, and trout will take a fly with repeated
sloppy (not mine) presentations.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

I can't answer this question but I don't like flashy lines(orange or optic green)...most specialists here use extra long leaders and tippets an spooky fish...on the Vis which is according to many people one of the most difficult streams to fish in the world some use very thin silk lines ....
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbbfly View Post
I can't answer this question but I don't like flashy lines(orange or optic green)...most specialists here use extra long leaders and tippets an spooky fish...on the Vis which is according to many people one of the most difficult streams to fish in the world some use very thin silk lines ....
JP, what color are the fine silk lines they use there? Doesn't it make sense to you that a fly line colored to blend in with the sky would be better than black? Black should be easier to see against the sky and harder for the angler to see against the water. The worst of both worlds, I would think.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Fly line color, does it matter?

If black is the best color from a reflection standpoint, then why are almost all saltwater fly lines either sand or some light color (even light blue)?

I am not doubting that some articles and books have stated black is good and light is bad, but for me that simply does not make much logical sense. Any color line will show as a "crack" in a mirror surface, but the closer the color to the "silvered" mirror color the hard it should be to see the "crack" line.

Until someone can get a fish to tell them what is best, I will take my cue from nature, fish are dark on top, and light on the bottom, so that prey species do not see them when they are looking down (dark blends with the bottom) or looking up (light blends with the sky/mirror). This may be a simple way to look at this issue, but it make logical sense to me.

jbbfly - I agree with you, I do not care for the bright orange or optic green lines either. I prefer a pale moss green or a willow (off-white) flyline.
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