When looking for a fly fishing set up, the purchaser should have in mind what kind of fishing they will be doing in order to properly mix and match fly fishing equipment.
Fly fishing equipment, specifically rods, reels and lines are synchronized with a weight number, the smallest and lightest having the low numbers (like a #3 weight) to the larger and heavier sizes going to size #12.
Most experts recommend to beginners that they match their equipment in all 3 components. For example, in the Kamloops area lakes, a #6 weight system is the standard however one can find other outfits as small as size #4 and up to about size #8. However, if one is going after salmon or steelhead or maybe warm saltwater species like tarpon, snook, barracuda and so on, it is most appropriate to attack these species with fly fishing equipment that is #9 and bigger.
Once a new flyfisher has mastered their particular equipment weight there are some alternatives to improve performance for casting by altering their fly fishing gear setup. Two strategies commonly used on the lakes by seasoned lake fly fishermen are:
- Increase the weight of their dry line
- Decrease the weight of their wet line
Dry lines are the easiest to cast and as one learns to master the art of casting (which is all about rhythm and momentum), upsizing the line can result in increased distance without losing accuracy. It is not recommended to make drastic changes but increasing the line size from a #6 to a #7 and still using a #6 rod has its rewards.
Conversely, wet lines are harder to cast because they are denser and provide more skin resistance in the water. One has to retrieve most of the line before setting up for the cast. For these reasons it may be fair to consider dropping a line weight… like using a #5 line on a #6 rod or buying a #7 rod to throw a #6 line. One is able to manhandle the line easier, particularly when casting and specifically in the wind and there never seems to be a shortage of wind in the Kamloops area lakes.
The challenge in varying fly fishing gear could very well be the reel, particularly with the floating line when one attempts to mix and match fly fishing equipment,. Many reels are dual sized, meaning that reels will come sized for combined weights like #6 - #7 or #4 - #5. Because dry lines are more bulky due to their buoyancy construction, they take up more space on the reel. One may find that a #6 line is just too bulky for a 4/5 reel, resulting in an over abundance of line on the reel causing jam-ups.
It is an inevitable result to mix and match fly fishing equipment, particularly when being involved over an extended period of time. Keep these tips in mind when it’s time to refurbish or upgrade your arsenal of fly fishing gear.
For other lake fly fishing strategies, particularly for the Kamloops area lakes, please visit the BigFishSmallHook.com website.