DTX, Sharkwave, Perception, Wonderline, HD Power, Amplitude. These do not add horsepower to a Camaro. These are models of popular fly lines. They won’t help you cruise the strip on a Friday night, but choosing the right fly line can ensure you gain more enjoyment from your fishing. Here are some fly fishing tips from our onWater team to help you choose the best fly line or make your fly line last longer.

Similar to graphite fly rods, fly lines have come a long way. From the days of braided horsehair in the 1700s to silk gut in early 1900s to today’s uber-engineered malleable soft plastics, fly lines are constantly evolving. But what is an angler to do when the options of fly lines often out-number the options of parachute dry flies?

Take care of your fly line

Aside from wading boots and waders, a fly line endures the highest level of wear and tear. From being stepped on to drug through sand and sediment, even the most expensive fly lines fall victim to abuse and neglect. Take a few minutes to clean your line at the end of the day to remove dirt and grime, prolonging the life of the line. Keeping a fly line clean is a fly fishing tip practiced by expert anglers across the globe.

Weight forward or double taper?

Fly lines come in a variety of styles and a basic understanding of these tapers is essential. A taper describes the construction of the fly line. Most anglers fishing for trout should choose a weight-forward fly line, which features a heavier front portion. This allows the line to match better with most of today’s stiffer and faster action fly rods. Double taper fly lines have two equally weighted sections at the front and back of the fly line. Double taper fly lines can also be “flipped.” When one end becomes dirty you can reverse it and fish the other end.

Shooting heads, Skagit heads and Spey lines

Beyond weight-forward and double taper, there are myriads of fly lines related to the type of fishing you’re doing. If you plan to Spey cast, learn the components of the set-up. Spey casting two-handed rods is a skill and learning the lines necessary for a specific angling situation is akin to matching the hatch with selective trout.

Know your fly rod

Matching a line weight to rod used to be simple—a 5-weight fly line matched with a 5-weight fly rod. But as fly rods become lighter and faster and fly lines become thinner yet more durable, it is important to know the action of a fly rod. Many modern fly lines cast best with a fly line weight that is one notch above the rod.


Confidence in your rod and fly line working well together can result in tangible success. Whether you choose a fly line with a catchy name like Sharkskin or Wonderline, a little education can go a long way to lengthen your catch…and the life of your fly line.