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Thread: whats the strength of the line?

  1. Default whats the strength of the line?

    im new to this stuff so bear with me. regular fishing line goes by strength, like 12lb test. so is 8wt fly line 8lb test? i didn't think it was because ppl land pretty big fish on 8wt setups. so how do you know the strength of your fly line? thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: whats the strength of the line?

    The number is a scale based on the weight of the first 30 feet of fly line. 0 is the lightest line, and it goes up into the teens for salt water lines. Most fresh water fly line is at least 30 pound test, so the leader is almost always the weak link.

    People generally use the lightest line they can for the size, weight, and wind resistance of the fly. The larger the fly, the heavier the line needs to be to carry it smoothly for long distance or in windy conditions. That's why people sometimes use 6 or 7 weight lines to catch 9" panfish, and nymph fisherman catch really nice size torut on tiny flies and light lines.

    The important thing is to use a line that matches the stiffness and action of your rod. The line size to fit your rod will be printied on the blank, usually just in front of the handle.
    Jakeway Near Nashville, TN

    Kayaks: Just part of the drag system

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: whats the strength of the line?

    As Jake mentioned the fly line weight refers to it's actual weight in grains, for the first 30 feet, not the lb test. The actual weight is important to match up with the fly rod for casting, kinda like matching up a bait casting or spinning rod up with the proper lure weight for casting.

    Fly lines are built around a core, then the coating is applied over that, Normally the breaking strength of the core is around 20lb for FW lines, and it may be up to 40 or more on SW fly lines. (Many 8 weight lines will test out at 30 lb test.)

    Generally your tippet will break before the fly line-- and if you fish for really big fish or deep down with sinking or heavily weighted flies, it's always a good idea to have a "weak link" between your fly line and fly so that if you get snagged on the bottom, or a big kahuna takes off and you need to break the connection it will break before the fly line--- normally for FW you'd be using a leader and tippet that test out under 20lb somewhere along its length (usually right at the fly) so it shouldn't be an issue.

    Theoretically at least, your drag should play a role too. It should be set below the breaking strength of your tippet so that a fish will take out line on a run and prevent you from snapping if off. That's why you can land 100lb fish on a 16lb tippet. You can do this with your fingers too, letting line slip between your fingers if a fish takes off until all the slack is out and the fish is "on the reel".

    Hope this helps.


  4. Default Re: whats the strength of the line?

    ohh i see now thanks guys. so i just got an 8wt setup for those big bass bugs and i was thinkin i could double over and go for specks and redfish in the bay. how big of a redfish should i be able to land with that setup if im running a 16lb test bonefish leader? if theres too many variables to determine the answer to a question like this, just let me know. its just what came to mind when i was reading what yall wrote.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: whats the strength of the line?

    No worries, you can catch 'em as big as they get with your outfit.

    Before you start fishing, adjust your drag-- it should be set roughly at 1/4 of the breaking strength of the weakest link-- in this case about 4lb for a 16lb tippet. The line should come off the reel fairly easily, but under enough resistance that it doesn't over run, causing a backlash. You'll be able to guesstimate this pretty well, but if you want to get a sense how this might feel so you can adjust it easily on the water, there are a couple things you can do.

    Using just the reel off the rod, you can adjust it with a spring scale with a loop around the hook thing, pulling against it until the drag starts to slip at around 4lb, or put 4lb of cans in a grocery bag, (using just the reel, off the rod, fill up a plastic grocery bag with 4 cans of beans or whatever and tie a length of tippet to the handle of the bag. As you slowly lift the reel, holding it so there is a direct line to the bag, it should start to slip as the bag starts to lift off the floor.

    This represents the amount of resistance that it will take a fish to pull line off the reel WITH THE ROD POINTED AT THE FISH. Raising the rod will effectively increase the amount of resistance for a fish to pull against. Setting the drag at roughly a 1/4 of the breaking strength gives you a margin of error with the rods at different angles, and helps protect against sudden surges. It also helps since the more line is out, the more drag is placed on the fish because there is a lot of resistance on the fly line being pulled in the water, and the diameter of the spool will be getting smaller, which both increase the tension on the tippet.

    If you hook into a big one, "strip strike" to set the hook, and if it takes off, lower the rod and point it at the water where the line enters the water and let it run, pulling line through your fingers to maintain some tension until all the slack is out and the fish is "on the reel". At this point, if it's still headed towards Aruba, it'll pull additional fly line and maybe some backing off your reel. As it starts to run out of gas, you can raise the rod a little to put on more pressure by raising the angle of the rod (or putting the tip out low and to the opposite side the fish is heading-- pulling low and to the right for a fish heading to your left.)

    To maintain constant pressure on the fish, you'd want to pull on the rod to gain a couple of feet, then slowly reel down to gain line while adjusting the rod angle to maintain pressure on the fish. If the fish gets a second wind and takes off again, lower your rod, point it at the point where the line enters the water, and let it run again.

    Redfish usually don't run too far, and will rarely get into your backing, but they fight like bull dogs with lots of sudden surges. Your rod will act as a shock absorber to protect your tippet too. 16lb test is pretty strong stuff, tarpon and other fish over 100lbs are usually caught on 16 or 20lb tippet section in the leader-- usually there is a short section of 60lb or 80lb mono or flouro tied directly to this tippet and the fly just to protect against abrasion from the fish's mouth, but the "weak link" in the set up is the 16 or 20lb tippet section. It's not uncommon for fish that size to take 100+ yds of backing. Granted, these are on 10 weights and up, but the principle is the same, where the reel's drag acts as a clutch to protect the tippet by letting line out, and adjusting the rod angle is used to apply more pressure, or ease it.

    Hope this helps.


  6. Default Re: whats the strength of the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by peregrines View Post
    Hope this helps.

    uhh, ya


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