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Trout Bum 02-04-2005 08:52 PM

OK Doug

I've heard its OK to overload your fly rod with a fly line one size larger and I've heard that its not. What's the truth? I have put a 4wt line on my 3wt rod before and it seams to cast better. I also tried a 9wt line on an 8wt rod but that didn't seem to make any difference that I could tell. What’s the deal?


dougm 02-05-2005 12:07 PM

Unless your rod manufacturer screwed up (that happens), I generally oppose overlining with the exception of close-in work --30 to 40-feet or less.

The reason is the actual weight of the line compared to line weight aerialized during the cast. I've explained my reasoning before, most recently in a product update on Cortland's new 444 Precision Taper half-step llines. You might want to read the article:

The only line I've found that is an exception to the rule is Cortland's Classice 444 Sylk I also recently review. The 5-weight Sylk cast equally well on rods from 4 to 6-weight. Of course, the Sylk is quite different in its characteristics from other lines. That review is available at both Active Angler or Land Big

In the heavier weights - 9 through 12 - I always underline ... sometimes one but more frequently, two line weights. In fact, for long casting, my favorite rig is a light 12-weight that sends Cortland's old 444SL XRL a very long way.

You can find a further discussion of line weigjhts in a series (actually a chapter) from my book, Fly Fishing for the Rest of Us, called, All About Lines. It is available at either site.

Overlining is a gimmick used by a number instructors and schools simply because it shortens the time it takes to get the student to "feel" the rod load. I prefer to teach the student to watch the backcast and "see" the rod load. Down the road, overling leads to collapsed casts and broken rods...

Hope this helps.

BigCliff 02-09-2005 02:20 PM

I cannot tell you how glad i am to see a very respected authority debunk a rampant and worthless myth.

I also get especially tired of people suggesting overlining to beat wind, as this is exactly backwards. Overlining leads to greater rod bend, otherwise known as slowing down the rod. This generally leads to bigger loops, which is the exact WRONG thing to throw into the wind. I equate the advantage of a tight loop versus a large one to the difference between using a driver to hit a golf ball instead of a tennis ball. The weight might be the same, but the golf ball will travel much farther due to lower wind resistance.

Remember, if you've got a rod that you like but wish it was faster, try a lighter line!

dougm 02-09-2005 02:26 PM


You are right on! Wish more fly fishers understood "the math."

Best regards,


BigCliff 02-09-2005 03:49 PM

I'm Cliff, guess maybe i should just include the quote and not the speaker.

dougm 02-09-2005 06:37 PM

Hi Cliff,

No offense intended ... Whether you are Cliff or Ed doesn't seem as important as the message you communicated; however, if you are quoting someone else, it would be best to use the quote feature...

My best,


Trout Bum 02-09-2005 11:19 PM

Doug & Cliff

Hey guys, thanks for your help. It all makes sense. I will never overload a rod again. This is what a forum should be all about. People helping people. Thanks.


BigCliff 02-10-2005 12:18 PM

I'm glad I could help.

I must admit that after reading Doug's advice on learning the haul, I think there is a pretty good chance I am one of those who uses the haul to cover up flaws in mechanics. I actually got started in this sport chasing reds on our coast and thus learned on an 8wt. I learned to throw 90 feet pretty quickly (having the build of an NCAA Defensive tackle helps), but have had trouble moving beyond that.

Doug, should I just get a lesson from you in person, or can you guess the main thing I'm doing wrong? My primary fly rod is a Sage 490 LL, and my big rod is a Scott HP 889, thought that might tell you about my casting style and stroke.

Please feel free to start a new topic if you like.

dougm 02-10-2005 03:46 PM


Since there are so many ways to fly cast, I am reluctant to make comments with the exception of one point. If you are attaining up to 90-feet, that, in itself, is great distance placing you in the upper 10 percent of fly fishers. If, however, it takes you a series of false casts to work the line to those distances, the problem probably rests in your backcast.

I consider the backcast much miore important than the forward cast. In fact, if you consider the sum of the back and forward cast to be 100, I weight the backcast as 60 to 65 percent of the total. In advanced casting, that's what I focus on. Laying out a strong straight bazkcast and then allowing your arm to drift will give you a much greater arc to pass the rod through. It's at the max speed point of the backcast (and before the drift) that I shoot line to the rear. Many times using the same follow-though I apply to the forward cast, this backhand cast becomes my final presentation. I simply turn around at end of the cast and am ready to fish. Think for a moment how useful this could be in fishing the salt...

There is also a tendency to "force" the final forward cast. (Hell, I do it all the time even though I know better.) So don't do it! And remember to aim high in your release.

I hope this helps, if not I will have to watch.


BigCliff 02-10-2005 04:19 PM

i think my back casts are decent, but probably not as good as the forward stroke. (as is the case with most everyone) I should spend more time focusing on improving it.

Here's an interesting facet to this. I've got a combo spin/fly rod that i built on a 7'6" GL2 spin blank that casts an 8wt remarkably well. However, it's pretty stiff, and i can't make it do much without hauling. I've found that i can shoot line and cast long distances with few false casts better than any other rod.

Do you think the shooting qualities have more to do with the blank, the big spinning guides, or the caster?

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