Fly Fishing Leaders

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Fly lines and fly fishing leaders are an exact science, with water conditions being key to which fly line you choose. Many anglers can spend lots of time working out which fishing line they need on the day, tossing between a line that gives only a delicate impact on the water to one that can handle a larger and stronger fish. Here at Angling Direct, we want to provide for each eventuality so your fly line collection is well stocked for every condition.

It goes without saying that an angler will only ever be as good as the tools they have for the job. When it comes to fly fishing tools and tackle, there’s little more important than the right line. We’ve put together an unrivalled range of fly lines which, in each instance, have been personally selected by us in accordance with performance and value for money. Regardless of what level you’re currently at or what you’re hoping to land on your next outing, we’ve got the perfect fly lines to help make it happen. From the most affordable entry-level lines on the UK market to ultra-premium lines crafted with professionals in mind, we cover all bases and budgets across the board.

We offer lines from the top brands in the business, and stock Wychwood, Leeda, Fulling Mill, Greys, and Snowbee, Airflo fly lines, to name just a few of our excellent suppliers. Whether you need fly lines for trout, carp or pike, we have a range of fly lines to suit the fish, so check out our fly lines for sale.

What are the different types of fly line?

If you select the wrong type of line, you will have significant difficulty casting and you may also chase away all the fish in the process of getting your fly out to your chosen spot. Types of fly fishing line can be split into their densities. A fly line density comes in three options; floating, sinking or sink-tip.

 Floating: A floating line for fly fishing is incredibly popular and versatile. Often used for trout fishing, a floating fly line does not sink unless you add weight to the line with a lead. Adding weight will make a floating line into a sink tip so this is an ideal choice for beginner fly anglers.

Full sinking line: As the name suggests, this line type sinks, helping to attract fish deeper in the water. Sinking fly lines are great for big water fishing, particularly lakes and saltwater but have limited utility in an average river. You can check how fast your fly line will sink by the sink rate. Some lines will sink quicker than offers so this is worth checking. Nonetheless, the whole line will sink at the same time and is measured in fps, feet per second.

Sink-tip: Otherwise known as partially sinking lines, the sink tip type of fly line are usually used for just trout fishing as floating lines even with added weight cannot always reach your designed spot or pull-down nymphs into the depths of the river quick enough. That is why this hybrid of the sinking and the floating line was designed. It gets its name sink tip because usually, the first 10 to 30 feet of the fly line sinks whilst the remainder of the line floats. This line allows for fishing of nymphs and streamers in the depths of rivers where the current is moderately fast.

Features to consider when purchasing a fly line

All the lines we stock come in a variety of weights, lengths, and colours. In this way, you can pick the line (or lines) that suit your needs, so when you’re on the bank deciding which line would be best you’ve got a full selection to choose from. Before you start choosing there are just a few features to look out for that may help pick the best line for you.

Fly Line Taper refers to changes made to the fly line itself to assist with casting. These differ but the most common is Weight-Forward Taper (WF). A Weight Forward Taper is a fly line that has added weight and thickness in the first 10 yards of the fly line and the remainder of the fly line is uniform in thickness and weight. You can also purchase the Double Taper (DT) which is not suited to long casts or windy days but offers a fly line that. gradually widens in diameter, helping with casting. For an affordable option, you can pick a level taper fly line that has the exact same width and weight throughout its entire length but this tends to be harder to cast. Lastly, the Shooting-Taper (ST) fly line is essentially a faster, better version of the WF taper. The first 20 feet of the fly line is heavily weighted whilst the remaining fly line is then of uniform width and weight. This line is very narrow and is great for tournament casting where you need to cast as far as possible.

Colour: The colour of the fly line does not overly matter in the sense of scaring fish due to the daytime light conditions casting a shadow as you are topwater fishing. With this in mind, pick a fly line that is just easiest for you to see, whether its orange, yellow, pink, etc. Nightime or submerged fly fishing is a different story. Generally, you want to pick a fly line darker in colour such as brown/black shades. 

Weight: Always remember that the fly lines weight is what allows the angler to cast the fly - not the weight of lure like in spin fishing. The weight of the fly line is measured in grains and is usually given a number between 1-14 by manufacturers that are then displayed on the packaging. Weight of your line varies depending on what fish you are targeting which we will cover shortly.

It is good fly fishing practice to make sure to match everything up exactly as this will certainly improve your fishing experience - especially for a beginner. Follow this simple formula of Fly Line Weight = Fly Rod Weight = Fly Reel Weight. For example, if you are going to use a 5-weight fly line, pair it with a 5-weight fly rod and 5-weight fly reel. Balance is vital.

What do fly line numbers mean?

As daunting as the numbers on a fly line box may be, we, here at Angling Direct can help break it down for you. 

Fly Line Weight 1-3: Ideal for smaller fish such as panfish, very small trout or fishing for larger trout in tiny streams.

Fly Line Weight 4: Great for panfish, but mainly for the largest of trout. This weight fly line is best used on small or middle-sized streams, where your longer casts are not needed.

Fly Line Weight 5: The ideal, all-rounder line for trout fishing. This line weight covers a multitude of trout fishing situations. Although it will work for catching smaller fish, it will not be as fun to use as a light line. This line will also work well in catching small bass or species in rivers.

Fly Line Weight 6: Another versatile line weight that is again ideal for trout fishing but forget catching smaller trout and panfish with this line. This weight is much more suited for large trout and the largest of bass.

Fly Line Weight 7: This weight is not for trout river fishing but instead suited to larger, more powerful fish such as bass, smaller salmon, and steelhead.

Fly Line Weight 8+: Fly line weighted from 8 or more are built for catching very powerful, very large fish, such as saltwater and salmon species. A freshwater fly angler will not have much use for a line weighted above 8.

Understanding Fly Line Codes

In addition to getting your head around taper abbreviations and line weights, a fly angler needs to familiarise themselves with what the codes on a fly line box mean. The code is a formula of line taper, followed by line weight and then line density (float, sink or partially sink). The taper of the fly line is always first in the code and will be either DT, WF, L or ST. This is followed by the line weight which will be a number between 1 to 14. Finally, the code ends with the density of the fly line which is measured in the letters S, F, F/S or in some cases I. Beginner fly anglers will benefit from knowing what the series of letters and numbers mean so we will break it down for you with some examples.

WF-4-F: The WF in the code simply means weight-forward taper. The number 4 represents a line weight of four means and the final F in the code tells you that this line floats.

WF-7-S: Similar to the code above, this code stands for weight forwards, line weight of seven but ends with an S instead of F. S here simply means the line will sink. You can then look for more details on the product description or packaging to find the sink rate of the line. 

DT-2-F/S: When a code starts with DT, this means the fly line has a double taper.,The number 2 means a line weight of 2 and the end letters F/S represents the density of partially float and sink, otherwise known as the sink tip. Again, the sinking rate can be found in its product description or on its packaging.

L-5-I : A code starting with L means it boasts a level taper. Again, the number, 5 tells you the line weight is five and the ending letter is I. I means the line offers an immediate sink and its rating will be found on its box.

ST-6-F: ST in a code means its a shooting taper fly line. The weight on this code is six and the ending letter of F notifies you that the line floats.

What is the best fly line for beginners?

Those new to fly angling are well suited to picking a fly line with a weight forward (WF) taper. Picking a floating fly line will make trout fishing easier but a sink-tip line may help when bass or deep nymph fishing. If you are not sure if fly fishing will be for you, instead of purchasing a second line, look at our terminal tackle section for some weights that you can add to your floating line when needing the tip to sink.

Whether you are a first-timer or a full-time professional, or all the other levels across the board, Angling Direct is here to help you become the very best you can be. We have fly lines at a range of prices so no matter your budget you can get a top-quality line to work the water with. If you are not sure if fly fishing will be for you or you want to get a little one into the discipline.we stock a range of cheap fly lines and tackle for you to test out.

How long does fly line last?

Like any piece of tackle in your fishing armoury, the life of your fly fishing line depends on how you look after it. Too much sun, a grim and dirt build-up or poor storage and use will all degrade a fly line quicker. If your fly line is looked well after it should last roughly 250 ‘use days’ or in fly fishing terms this will cover a season or two. For the occasional fly angler, a well-maintained fly line might last you ten years!

How often should I clean my fly line?

If you invest plenty of money into your fly line, you may want to clean it after every use to ensure it lasts for many sessions to come. Cleaning your line regularly and properly will mean you do not have to replace your fly line over and over and cause serious damage to your wallet. You just need to get some liquid soap, a couple of buckets of warm water and some clothes to get your cleaning started. Placing your dirty fly line in a bucket of warm soapy water whilst running a cloth from one end of the line to the other will help get it shiny in no time! Remember to then remove the soapy water by rinsing the line in clean water without soap and then dry the line with a dry cloth. Your line should be removed from its reel before this cleaning process. You can check out our video on re-spooling your clean line below.


We recognise that fly fishing is of great historical importance, that is why we stock a huge range of fly fishing equipment, including fishing flies, fly storage and tackle boxes. If you need any advice on which fly line to buy, any member of our excellent team can offer their assistance. Our store managers and their capable sales assistants have a wealth of knowledge between them, and you can find out the address of your nearest Angling Direct using our store locator tool. If you’re unlucky enough to live outside the radius of an Angling Direct then we’re always here on the phone or via email to help you out. All our customer services information is available on their page on the website. We also have plenty of fly lines reviews for you to check out on the Angling Direct blog.

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