Choosing a Fly Line - with Mat Wagner
Mat Wagner has guided and worked in fly shops across the country for 16 years. Owner of the Driftless Angler shop in Wisconsin as well as the Uncommon Carp, Mat is passionate about catching carp on the fly in various waters across the country.
Fly lines may be one of the most important pieces of equipment for the carp fly angler. Having the right line can be the difference between belting out a quick cast of 30 feet and settling a crayfish pattern in front of a cruising fish on the flats or splashing everything down heavily and watching the fish swim quickly in the opposite direction.
In the past few years, fly line manufacturers have made some serious advances in tapers for different situations and, in some cases, different species. What seems like a dizzying selection can be boiled down to what type of fishing you are going to primarily do.
For the carp angler who is looking to fish short casts in a local pond, the standard weight forward line works very well. There is nothing fancy to this line (or this style of fishing). It loads well at shorter distances, but can carry a longer amount of line when needed. It also has the ability to turn over stiffer leaders and larger carp flies with ease. Rio’s Carp fly line is a great example of this type of line.
When chasing fish in a stream, the techniques change a bit. Throwing a multi fly rig, mending and line control, and having the ability to turn over an indicator and split shot as well as the fly comes into play. In this case, you want to go with a weight forward line with a bit more mass in the beginning part of the taper. Something that will turn over your setup with ease, and something with mass that you can throw a mend or two with easily. Airflo’s Ridge Nymph line, and the Rio Clouser are two lines that fall into this category.
For the flats angler, you want pinpoint accuracy and the ability to pick up and recast quickly, sometimes with a large amount of line out the tip of your rod. Your best bet here is to pick up a Redfish or Bonefish saltwater fly line. The only downside to this is that a saltwater fly line will retain large amounts of memory in cold temperatures. Fish these lines in warm to hot weather! For cooler weather the Delta taper from Airflo gives you everything you need.
When you sit down to choose a carp fly line, do not get caught up in what the coatings are and what technology has gone into it. Rather, take a look at your style of fishing and match the taper of the line to that style then decide on which upgrades you would like.