Line WT and wind ? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Line WT and wind ?

02-05-2006, 09:26 AM
Perhaps what came first the chicken or the egg would be a more appropriate thread title (as we all know it without question the chicken). I have heard 2 schools of thought.......1st heavier line = better distance casting head on into the wind. 2nd school of thought says lighter wt line has less resistance, hence, beter distance. I should mention I use an 8 and 9wt for the flats (bonefish and other salty swimmers). However, last trip I used my guides 6 wt just for kicks. I have to say it was a blast with 3-5 lbr's. So, back to the question or vote ??? Bigger is better ? or 6wt for the flats in wind is "better".......better being a relevant term, I suspect ...and casting ability........

02-05-2006, 10:16 AM
Good question!

Speaking from anecdotal experience I would say that it's a combination of...

(a) casting ability in terms of the force in the turnover of the loop, size of the loop and the following momentum driving that turnover from the line in motion

(b) line density / grains per foot

(c) Line taper design (length, grain distribution, mass)

(d) line diameter

An expert caster will reach further than the average caster with the same setup every time even if it's light because of loop dynamics. This is the most important action a caster can take to fight wind. Safety is another, learning to cast on the off-side is critical to safe casting in wind.

A 600 grain high-density shooting head blasts a big bushy fly into a gale where a floating long belly peters out before it unfurls with the same fly. Striper anglers in the northeast know that an intermediate line is better in wind than a floating line but not as good as a sinking line from experience in coastal winds.

The construction of floating line involves embedding tiny balls of air into the material so in order to increase grains the diameter must increase to add mass. Therefore the floating line inherently gains air resistance is it gains mass. I doubt the diameter increase ever exceeds the effect of the mass on wind resistance but the returns seems to diminish.

In plain English fat airy lines suck in wind but no amount of density can overcome big floppy loops.

I guess I didn't really reply to your question but the reason I don't want to go less than 7wt with 8wt being the norm is that I have suddenly come face to face with bones in the teens and even have hooked them but was totally outclassed and lost the fish of a lifetime more than once. I fish a little heavier not for the 3-5# but for my main quest in bonefishing which is the 10+ pounder landed, not just hooked.

That being said it would be great to have a 6wt handy at times!

02-05-2006, 02:02 PM
Some wild thoughts! Some of the things we do not consider with flycasting is that the wind is never steady in magnitude and direction (sailors can attest to that) when we cast or better still during the shoot. The veering wind can have an influence on the trajectory especially when the time of flight of the line is long either due to longer casts ( longer distance) or throwing more weighty lines to get distance with a floater. Lines with more side-to-side drag like floaters due to their larger diameters will be influenced more. The effect is even noticeable with heavy plugs on 400 foot casts, as they peter out they can be pushed to the side and collapse.

02-05-2006, 02:51 PM
I think that heavier lines cast easier in the wind for the less skilled caster.
In a windy curcumstance, I have always thought that a longer taper would be helpful, as I think that shooting line into the wind is the biggest challenge. Things seem to peter out after the head has rolled out. That makes me think that grains are more important than windage.

02-05-2006, 03:45 PM
I have an 11 wt 11 ft CND double handed rod that I plan on fishing for yellowtail, etc. in my kayak in the Leaucadia, CA kelp beds. I am wondering if I should put a 26' head or a 38-40ft head on it to shoot distance from a sitting position. Any ideas?


Pierce Flynn

02-05-2006, 09:39 PM
With any two-hander when overhead casting a head length of approx 38ft is the best all-around for distance casting while still being reasonable to fish with.

You can go longer but it gets harder to work with strip-retrieves commonly used in saltwater because you need to roll the head back out each time between casts.

If you go shorter the loop turns over before all the energy is spent so you lose the shape partway through the cast as the mass continues in strange aerial shapes.

If you are just looking for quick 60-90ft casts then the 26-30ft lengths are adequate as long as you don't expect the loop form to hold it's shape beyond that distance, and also back-off on the power so you don't put more energy into the short head than it can hold intact. A 60-90ft cast with a two-hander should be a flick and that's it if the line matches it.

Do you use a stripping basket?