What To Look For
Choosing a fly line can be a difficult process. The number of line types available are overwhelming but a few simple characteristics can narrow down the selections. The line you choose should match the weight of the rod and be suited for the type of fishing you do. Weight forward lines are the best all-purpose but a double taper is a good choice for fishing small flies and making delicate presentations.
The most common mistake when choosing a line is going for a cheap model. The technology for fly lines is held by the United States, and foreign producers cannot beat that by lowering the value of fly lines. The high-end lines have a fine coating and last much longer than the cheap lines. High-end fly lines are more supple and outperform the cheap lines by a large margin.
Where To Buy
Quality fly lines can be found at most fly shops and many of the large sporting good stores. Local fly shops will have the line at a slightly higher price but many of the employees can provide expertise and help you choose the best line. Many shops also have demo lines for casting. This allows you to test the product before making the purchase. Large retail sporting goods stores like Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops carry quality fly lines, but though some large stores have expert employees most do not. If you already know the line you want to purchase and do not have access to a fly shop, the large retailers are the best shopping option.
Fly lines range in price from $10 to $100. Quality fly lines from RIO, Scientific Angler's, Cortland and Airflow can be found for under $65. Specialty lines for spey casting and saltwater fishing will be closer to the $100 mark. The cheap $10 to $20 lines have low performance value.
Choose a fly line that is designed for your style of fishing. Anglers who cast in windy conditions will choose a weight forward line and spring creek fisherman will choose a double taper. Shooting head lines are good for casting long distances and fishing in deep water while floating lines are ideal for the majority of trout and bass fishing.
Many of the modern fly lines have a built-in loop for attaching leaders to the line. If the line you choose does not have a loop, ask the employee to attach a permanent butt connection. The knot connection should be coated and the loop should be small to avoid hanging in the guides of your rod.
The color of fly lines is a controversial issue, with some anglers believing that dark colors are less visible to the fish and others claiming it doesn't matter. It is a good idea to choose dark green and camouflage style lines just in case it does make a difference to the fish.