Tackle Tips: Is Your Line Too Light?

If you have trouble casting a given line on a particular rod and are wondering if perhaps the line is too light, there’s an easy way to tell. Put the reel with the line you want to cast on the rod, strip out 20-25′ of it, and flip it out in front of you. Lift into your backcast with a nice sharp stop and let the line fall to the ground behind you. Do not look back or forward cast, just let it drop.

Flip the line back out in front of you and do it again, three or four more times. What you’re looking for is that little ‘tug’ on the backcast that says that the rod is being bent by the line’s mass and the line has fully straightened out behind you. If you aren’t feeling a tug with 20-25’ of line out, it doesn’t matter what is written on the rod —the line is too light. Try the next line weight up. Once you are feeling the ‘tug’ of a fully loaded rod, you have the correct line weight for that rod.

Think of the rod as a spring that needs to be fully loaded in order to cast well. If you want to use too light a line for the rod, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’ll just have to work harder to load the spring, meaning more arm motion on the back and forward casts, along with harder stops at both ends of the cast. It’s best to let the rod do as much of the work as possible. With longer casts, you can use a lighter line to load the rod — shorter casts can be made easier by using a heavier weight line.  And don’t worry — you can’t break a rod even by using a line several weights above the recommended one.

Do you have fly fishing tips to share?

We are seeking submissions for a new monthly column we’re calling “Tackle Tips.” Our first entry is above, so you can get an idea of what we’re looking for. If you would like to share tips and tricks on any aspect of fly fishing, send us an article! Submissions should be no longer than 350 words. Bonus points if you also send us an image to use with your article. If you’re interested, send us an email.

By Kevin Haney