"Fly fishing is part art, part science". Naturally, the art of fishing is most important, but the angler can be freed up to concentrate on fishing when using well designed and well balanced fly gear. With proper gear the angler is distracted less with poor casts, spooked fish, fatigue and the other problems that come about with mismatched gear. To be maximally productive and happy each piece of your fly outfit needs to cooperate with each other piece in a comfortable and efficient way. Assembling balanced fly gear is a "science of fly fishing" and can be loosely boiled down to:
The AFTM number (American Fly-fishing Tackle Manufacturers) is used to match line weight against a rod. If you don't match you rod to your line you will really struggle to make a decent cast. The AFTM measures the weight of the first 10 yards of line, which is what most trout anglers will use to load up the rod before shooting the line. For trout rods it is a very useful number.
- Many fly anglers beginning assembling a balanced fly fishing outfit by first choosing their line (ASTM) weight. This choice centers around, and many say dictated by, the target fish and water. [A1]
Choose a line weight.
- The Rod should match the weight of the line chosen above. Beyond this, decisions become more murky. These decisions center around rod action and flex, rod length, and the proper grip.
Choose a fly rod.
- The Reel should balance in weight with the fly rod and make the whole outfit feel comfortable. Reels that are too heavy or too light are a distraction that can effect your casting and add to fatigue. Generally short rods balance better with lighter weight reels and longer rods with heavier ones. The drag system should be a high consideration especially on larger outfits.
Choose a fly reel.
- Reels should hold a minimum of 75 yards of backing. Most angling conditions do not require use of the backing but it is often that "fish of a lifetime" that requires it. Better safe than sorry. Reel size and line weight will often dictate the test poundage and length of backing.
- The Line weight may have already been determined. The decisions left are choosing the proper profile, the desired color, and the sink rate.
Choose a line .
- The Leader/Tippet should make a hopefully invisible transition from the fly line to the fly. The right size and type is required to facilitate a "turn-over" and proper loop during the cast, a delicate delivery of the fly to the water, and a minimized effect on the fly as it drifts. The is the last 24 or so inches of the leader.
Choose a Leader/Tippet.
- Finally, you need a fly.
Economics can certainly dictate aspects of picking nearly any piece in the outfit. You can save yourself the trouble, but deprive yourself of the fun, by ordering one of the balanced fly outfits below.
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