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#11675850 - 06/19/16 03:51 AM Question on Fly Line and Use
MUHerd Offline

Registered: 07/17/14
Posts: 21
Hey all,

I've never used a fly rod before but am looking to start. I am not 100% clear on what all goes on your reel.

OK, first goes the BACKING. Then comes the actual highly visible FLY LINE. Is the next thing that comes the LEADER and then a TIPPET? Do you tie your fly to the TIPPET?

Please put those components in the right order for me.

OK...can you just tie a perfection loop in some mono and attach it to the fly line and tie the fly to it? Do you have to have a tippet? As I have learned pretty rapidly, everything to do with FLY FISHING is expensive. If you have to buy a leader and then buy a tippet and when you break off a fly you have to use a new tippet. Or, if you want to change flies, you have to cut and re-tie which means a few of those and you have to use a new tippet.

Are there ways to make your own leaders?
Do you have to use a tippet and if so, can you make those as well?

Please set me straight on this stuff as I need to learn it now before it's too late.


#11675858 - 06/19/16 05:08 AM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
pearow Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/15/02
Posts: 1844
Loc: Murchison, TX, USA
backing goes on first, then the fly line. I use loop to loop to join those together with a big loop in the backing that will slip over the reel so you can change the line without cutting the backing. Then, at the end of the fly line, connect the leader to it, loop to loop. Tie a short tippet on the end of your leader(usually about 18 inches with a surgeons knot. That's how I do it-p-

#11675880 - 06/19/16 06:33 AM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
karstopo Offline

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 482
Loc: Brazoria County
Backing first, perfection loop to perfection loop or welded loop (depending on fly line). Make sure you put the fly line on right with the running line side attached to the backing.

I never buy leaders. I don't know what and where you are fishing for and with but there are likely Internet searchable formulas for constructing your own leaders from mono or fluorocarbon. A 6/2/2 formula is very common. 6feet of Butt section attached to fly line by perfection loop to welded loop (that's what I use) this might be 40# fluorocarbon like Seaguar that is just ordinary off the Academy shelf stuff. I usually omit the mid section and put on about 4 feet of tippet. If i put in a mid section, it's something like 30# or 25#. Tippet is off the shelf seaguar blue label 15 or 20#. Sometimes I find a deal on seaguar grand max tippet and will use it. It's a little finer than the blue label leader.

I attach the tippet, mid sections, and butt sections together with blood knots. They line up better than the surgeon knot in my experience.

There isn't anything magical about leaders and tippet. There are lots a ways to get them done. If you are dry fly fishing on some mountain stream, you will have a 6 or 7x tippet because it fits through the tiny hook eye and because it won't drag down the fly. You can slather on some floatant to keep it all from sinking.

My leaders I make are for inshore salt water fishing like reds, trout and flounder. I might go a little heavier if I'm on shell and lighter in clear open water. I usually make my butt section a little long so when I eventually eat up my tippet by fly changes, I can put on another tippet to the same butt a few times before the butt gets used up. Old butt section make good weed guards for flies.

A good spool of power pro or Sufix is about 20 dollars. Fly line backing isn't a big deal unless you are using very light rods on heavy fish or fishing for really fast and strong running fish. I get just whatever is on sale or cheap. The fly line is the main thing to try and not get too cheap about. You don't have to spend 80 or 90 on quality line, but it sure is nice when you have good line matched well to your rod. Bad line or mismatched line can hold back your cast and just make things less fun.

So the math works out like backing $5-10, line $65 (on sale) make your on leader, $3-4. I'm not sure this is dead on, but it seems pretty close. The 20 you spent on a good spool of braid for your baitcaster looks pretty good compared to fly tackle.

#11675899 - 06/19/16 06:58 AM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
karstopo Offline

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 482
Loc: Brazoria County
The thing about this is like all other fishing there are so many niches and ways to get it done. Before I fly fished, fly fishing for me had an aura about it that was so technical and fussy that it put me off. Now I realize it's just fishing like the other ways of fishing. Don't get me wrong, I love fishing in general and especially with a fly rod. Just don't get too caught up in doing it "right". Develop a cast. That's pretty key. You don't have to have an expensive Rod and reel to do this. One of my favorite rods cost $65.

Anyway, I have found that I can fish the same water I have fished for years but now with fly tackle. It helps to fish an area that you know has fish based on prior experience. Sometimes, I take along conventional gear and switch back and forth with the fly tackle. Just don't let anyone try to bully you into doing it their way. I always listen to experienced fly fisherfolk to pick up tips, but know that they may not, likely not know it all. Every brand of fishing has that class of "experts" that seem to thrive on making others less experienced than themselves feel like an idiot for not knowing some relatively unimportant aspect of their craft. Fly fishing has those too for sure.

#11675995 - 06/19/16 08:23 AM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: pearow]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3087
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: pearow
backing goes on first, then the fly line. I use loop to loop to join those together with a big loop in the backing that will slip over the reel so you can change the line without cutting the backing. Then, at the end of the fly line, connect the leader to it, loop to loop. Tie a short tippet on the end of your leader(usually about 18 inches with a surgeons knot. That's how I do it-p-

^^^^This. It can be as complex as you wish to make it...or as simple as a feather, hook, and pole.

It need not be expensive to be enjoyed. In fact, the most enjoyable is often the simplest, inexpensive methods.

#11676688 - 06/19/16 05:20 PM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
MUHerd Offline

Registered: 07/17/14
Posts: 21
Thank you guys for the info. Like you said, it seems like fly fishing is much more technical (and expensive) than what it needs to be. I am trying to learn what I can before buying a rig so I won't be going into it totally blind. Sure, it will be a while before I hit the water after I get my rig, but that's ok. I am fully aware that the picture of fly fishing I have in my mind is going to be 180 degrees different than what it will actually be like when I get to the water.

I am planning on fishing for carp and bass. I want to do some of this "URBAN" fly fishing I have been reading about and watching videos of on YouTube. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun. Catching carp on any rig is lots of fun, I imagine it will be double that on fly gear.

I asked the question because I was looking for prices on Fly Line at some of the big retailers to see how much money it would cost me to spool up and get ready if I were to buy a combo that didn't come already loaded with line and ready to go. Boy what a shock I got. I had absolutely no clue that fly line was so expensive. I saw fly line that was priced at over $150! Then I saw listings for backing and that could cost anywhere from $5 to $25. I haven't even made it to the flies yet and I'm already into more money than I ever imagined it would cost. I saw packs of leaders and then tippets and wondered where in the world does all this stop and if those parts of the rig could be made by me for a whole lot less. Thankfully I am reading that it can and I need not worry about all the expenses listed in fly fishing catalogs that exist to sell FLY FISHING GEAR. summarize what you all are telling me, after getting the backing and fly line, which has a welded loop at the end of it, I will be able to buy some mono and make my own leaders and tie a perfection loop and attach it to the fly line. Then I will use a different weight mono or fluro to make a tippet and attach it to the leader via a blood knot. Then I'll attach my fly and start fishing.......

Is that about it?

Thanks all.

#11676899 - 06/19/16 07:32 PM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
RexW Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/24/02
Posts: 3030
Loc: Sherman, TX
Yes, you can make your own leader, but my vote would be to keep it simple while starting out and get a tapered leader. A 9ft 3x is a good general purpose leader for trout, pan fish, light duty bass, etc. If you're focused more on bass in heavy cover then I'd go with a 0x leader (approximately 10 lb test).

If you get into this, you'll have plenty of time to figure out how to tie your own leaders.

So, what is "tippet"? The simple answer is that it is used to replace the end of the leader that has been cut off. Every time you change flies, you'll cut off a small piece of the leader. You can use tippet material to replace the end of the leader that has been cut off. Doing this, extends the life of the leader. And, tippet is cheaper than buying a new leader. A general rule of thumb, is to replace when about 18 inches of the leader has been used. Just add some tippet and go back to fishing.

Also, you don't need the higher dollar backing when you're getting started. The more expensive tends to be smaller diameter which allows more backing length to fit on the reel. Most of us do not need the extra backing capacity.

Fly Fishers International certified casting instructor

#11677254 - 06/19/16 11:12 PM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
karstopo Offline

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 482
Loc: Brazoria County

Above is a link to Sierra trading post and they have several deals on tippet material, tapered leaders, and fly lines at the moment. Rio, scientific anglers, airflo, umpqua, orvis, seaguar are all big quality makers of fly lines and leaders.

Sierra trading post may not have the size you need. You have to hunt and peck for what you need. And there is nothing wrong with going to a fly shop and talking with a representative there and they would almost certainly guide you to what you need.

I wish I knew more about urban carping and bass fishing. I think there are a couple folks on TKF on the fly board that do that. They could tell you what line to get. Maybe some folks here could clue you in on the right line for your rod. You have floating, slow and faster intermediate, sink tips, full sink. Some now have short sections of floating, intermediate, and sinking that can be changed out without removing the fly line from the backing.

I try to save money on gear. The above post, Rex W, gave good advice. Keep it from being overwhelming. At first. You aren't likely to burn through a tapered leader too quickly unless you constantly change flies or get it hung up on some obstruction.

Flies don't have to cost a lot. I think there are many carp patterns. Woolly buggers are a catch em all type of fly for fresh water. I've used them on bass, rainbow and brown trout, crappie and sunfish. I make one short trip to the Rockies about once a year and a size 10 olive or black and olive bugger is what I tend to use. Woolly buggers work well in warmer fresh water too. I have read carp will take one too. You don't need a huge box of flies to get started. You can and will likely need expert help trying to match a mayfly hatch. That might be a lot of fun to go down that path someday, but maybe not to start off with. You could do some damage in any fresh water with a couple of buggers, maybe a Clouser or 2, something floating like an ant or hopper, a San juan worm and maybe a nymph or two.

#11677569 - 06/20/16 08:48 AM Re: Question on Fly Line and Use [Re: MUHerd]
theflyguy3 Offline

Registered: 09/21/14
Posts: 106
Loc: My Honey Hole
I realize this may be a little off-topic.

But for those of you searching for a cheaper, more affordable fly line choice (because finding affordable fly line can be a pain sometimes), Shadow Fly Fishing makes two different fly lines that start from $24.99 or $44.99. You can choose between two different fly line tapers and many different colors.

I have purchased this line and I have to say it's pretty good.


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