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  1. #1

    Default Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    So, I'm new to fly fishing and have been trying to get a handle on what size leader/tippet to use with different sized flies, and I finally started to understand it. But, I had one problem: I had no idea what size flies I had. It doesn't do me much good to know to use a 4x tippet with a size 14 fly if I don't know what a size 14 fly is.

    Forums like this recommend going to a local fly shop and looking at all the different sizes to get a general idea, but I have no decent fly shops near me. So, I made this handy guide:

    DSCF7186.JPG

    I found a pdf with a fly guide here wich I printed at 100%, cut out a section (the one I used was at the bottom of page 5), then taped it up so it would be relatively sturdy and waterproof. I also decided to just write a little cheatsheet with tippet/fly sizes on the back.

    DSCF7187.JPG

    Now, as a newbie, I can stick this in my pocket and have a handy guide while I'm out fishing until I'm able to do without. People that have been fly fishing their whole lives might think this is silly and unnecessary, but I really had no idea what sizes my flies were. Hopefully someone else with this same problem will be able to find this useful in the future which is why I'm writing out this post.

    Sam

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    Quote Originally Posted by samanich View Post
    So, I'm new to fly fishing and have been trying to get a handle on what size leader/tippet to use with different sized flies, and I finally started to understand it. But, I had one problem: I had no idea what size flies I had. It doesn't do me much good to know to use a 4x tippet with a size 14 fly if I don't know what a size 14 fly is.

    Forums like this recommend going to a local fly shop and looking at all the different sizes to get a general idea, but I have no decent fly shops near me. So, I made this handy guide:

    DSCF7186.JPG

    I found a pdf with a fly guide here wich I printed at 100%, cut out a section (the one I used was at the bottom of page 5), then taped it up so it would be relatively sturdy and waterproof. I also decided to just write a little cheatsheet with tippet/fly sizes on the back.

    Sam
    Sam,

    I've got some bad news for you.

    If you are going to carry a guide, I would choose a different one. Notice the parts of a fly tying hook in the illustration below;



    Notice the ratio of the hook shank length to the hook gap is 1.5/1

    Your guide is not the basic standard hook. It has a relatively longer shank than the standard TMC 100 dry fly. I think the hook is a 2XL hook like the illustration below of the Daiichi 1710. So the size 14 hook in your illustration is actually the length of a hook 2 sizes larger which would be a size 12 hook.




    Although the hooks gap should be the same, a fly tied on a 2XL hook is larger and the really the tippet to fly size rules are for STANDARD length flies and NOT long shank flies. Long shank flies are larger and have more material. You should use a hook like the standard TMC 100 below.



    An even better guide is actually a fly tiers hook scale which shows shank lengths.

    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  5. #3

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    Quote Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
    Sam,

    I've got some bad news for you.

    If you are going to carry a guide, I would choose a different one. Notice the parts of a fly tying hook in the illustration below;



    Notice the ratio of the hook shank length to the hook gap is 1.5/1

    Your guide is not the basic standard hook. It has a relatively longer shank than the standard TMC 100 dry fly. I think the hook is a 2XL hook like the illustration below of the Daiichi 1710. So the size 14 hook in your illustration is actually the length of a hook 2 sizes larger which would be a size 12 hook.




    Although the hooks gap should be the same, a fly tied on a 2XL hook is larger and the really the tippet to fly size rules are for STANDARD length flies and NOT long shank flies. Long shank flies are larger and have more material. You should use a hook like the standard TMC 100 below.



    An even better guide is actually a fly tiers hook scale which shows shank lengths.

    Hmm, bummer. But, I wasn’t using it for the shank length anyway, I was mostly comparing the gap, which seemed to match pretty well. It agreed with the two flies I have which I knew the sizes of, an 18 and a 10, so it still seems to work pretty well as a guide. Close enough to get close enough, at least.

  6. #4

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    You’re right though, looking back at the pdf, its a 3xl hook. Oops. Shows how much I know that I didn’t know to look for that!

  7. #5

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    I think your "cheat sheet" is pretty good. Tying flies helped me figure it out. I don't tie well, but it helped me with hook size.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    Quote Originally Posted by samanich View Post
    Youíre right though, looking back at the pdf, its a 3xl hook. Oops. Shows how much I know that I didnít know to look for that!
    You also asked about tippets on this post:

    Changing line/leader sizes?

    In my reply to you, I did give you a guide to the size tippet for a given hooks size - the rule of 3 or the rule of 4 as I posted below:

    Changing line/leader sizes?

    Remember that these are estimates of where to begin. And the actual length of the tippet section matters as well. A longer tippet will be harder to cast than a shorter tippet, so if you have a hard time casting a fly you can shorten the tippet or go up by one tippet size or both.

    Here's the deal. A lot depends on your ability to cast. A tippet that you cannot cast with a certain fly, can be cast by a better caster. So look at these "rules" as a place to begin; and then modify them so they fit your casting ability. For example a size 16 fly would match a 4X tipper with the rule of 4 or a 5X tippet with the rule of 3.

    As a beginner fishing dry flies, start with the rule of 4 and if you have no trouble casting the fly, you can either lengthen the tippet to get a longer drag free float OR use the rule of 3, which may be a thinner tippet that will also give a longer drag free float. You are the ultimate judge of how well you can cast and if the leader system works for you.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  10. #7

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    Thanks for all the help! In reading up on your posts, that's something that I'd come across so in my mind I'd decided to try to stick to the rule of 4 for the time being. Then, from there, change up the weight and length of tippet to get the best results in certain situations.

    I knew that fly fishing was an intricate activity, but to be honest I never thought that the leader would be such an involved aspect of it. I guess anything can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

  11. #8

    Default Re: Fly Size Guide, or: What Size Fly Is This?

    Quote Originally Posted by samanich View Post
    Thanks for all the help! In reading up on your posts, that's something that I'd come across so in my mind I'd decided to try to stick to the rule of 4 for the time being. Then, from there, change up the weight and length of tippet to get the best results in certain situations.

    I knew that fly fishing was an intricate activity, but to be honest I never thought that the leader would be such an involved aspect of it. I guess anything can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.
    Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis has often said that fly fishers tend to think that the rod is the most important piece of equipment in fly fishing. But he thinks that you start with the beginning, what is closest to our target, the fish. Sometimes the fly is not important but, the leader design is always important. Then the fly line, then the rod and so on. We take the leader for granted, but it's design is important in determining how the fly lands and how likely the fly is to be rejected because of drag.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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