The Trend in Fly Fishing toward Lighter Lines

Over the years, fly anglers have steadily moved to lighter line weights. Granted this didn’t happen overnight. It has been a slow progression. Still there is no denying it, amigo. Lighter line weights have been gaining favor for decades.

Here’s an example. Across the room from where I sit there is a 2.5″ diameter rod tube.  It houses two rods I bought eons ago to cover any and all trout situation. There is a 6-weight for small to medium size streams. And an 8-weight for larger rivers and lakes. They are 3-piece, 2 tip, Winston fiberglass rods and have served me exceeding well.

When I purchased this travel set, 6-weight rods were touted the best all-around trout tool. By 1990’s, however, a 6-weight was out of favor, considered too big. So the 5-weight became the king. Now get this: a few years back I overheard a knowledgeable angler extolling why he recommends a 4-weight rod as the right general purpose trout rod. Is the 3-weight next? Wouldn’t surprise me.

Frankly the same thing happened in the salt. If you asked me 30 years ago for the correct all-rounder in the Northeast brine. I would have immediately claimed it to be a 10-weight. Today, no question I would vote for a 9-weight.

Why has this trend taken place? I think there are several reasons, but the single largest is advancements in fly rods. Today’s 4 or 5-weight graphite rod is a wonderful tool, capable of handling a wide variety of trout situations with ease. Yes this is the golden age of the graphite fly rod.

This entry was posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, Fly Fishing in Salt Water. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Trend in Fly Fishing toward Lighter Lines

  1. Ted Rzepski says:

    Ed,
    Last February, 2020 I ordered a 10 wt rod from China for $80, on the recommendation of a friend. Then Corona virus erupted. The rod company was in Wuhan China. Chinese imports were stopped for several months. Late April it arrived. I didn’t have a 10 wt line so I used a 9 wt line. It worked perfectly.
    It worked well with the one Albacore I landed this past fall.
    What I learned is to experiment with different weight lines.

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