Fly Fishing Line Density

Types of fly fishing line.

A fly fishing line doesn’t just come in different colors. As we have discussed in different articles it comes in different weights and well as different line shapes or tapers, each with their own particular characteristics and uses. Today we are going take that a step further and introduce another factor to consider – the density of the line.

Fly lines come in different densities that determine whether the line sinks or not, and if it does sink, how fast it sinks. There are three main categories of fly fishing line in this regard – floating lines, intermediate lines and sinking lines, plus one extra, a floating-sinking line.

Floating fly fishing lines.

Most people will start out with a floating line and this type will do you for many situations. Floating lines do just what the name suggests, they float. This means that the fly is left near the surface, or if the fly sinks, like a nymph or wet fly, it will stay quite closer to the surface. Most small to medium rivers will call for a floating line.

Intermediate lines.

An intermediate fly fishing line is really sinking line, however they tend to only just sink beneath the surface of the water. This allows for a slightly deeper presentation of the fly, or if the surface of the water is rough it moves the line out of the rough water. This is important because if the fly line if being moved around it will induce un-natural movement into the fly, which is likely to spook fish.

Sinking fly fishing lines.

Sinking lines obviously sink. The purpose of this is when fishing fast and deep flowing rivers, it will get the fly down quickly to the level that the fly fisher wishes. Similarly if fishing lakes, a deep presentation is often needed and a sinking line will do the job.

Manufacturers grade sinking fly fishing lines according to the speed at which they sink, which is usually given in inches per second. Using this information the fly fisher can use the time the fly is in the water to judge the depth it is likely to be at. This is useful when a specific depth is required to target a fish at that level.

Floating-Sinking fly lines.

A floating sinking fly fishing line is a combination of the two line types, with the tip portion sinking and the base floating. These lines enable you to keep the fly down in the water while still keeping it under control.