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Inexpensive fly lines


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30 replies to this topic

#1 Bill_729

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 10:34 AM

The higher cost name brand fly lines seem to be the easiest to locate in a retail setting.  RIO boasts that their line meets certain specifications with regards to grains per foot, etc., but, to be honest, I don't require that sort of precision. Close enough will be fine, as I'm not attempting to break any world records.

 

What about the general suitability of some of the other brands of fly line that sell at a fraction of the cost of the high dollar lines? 

 

Say, for instance, that I'm looking for a wt7 (WF) line with a sinking tip, and fish only fresh water. Does anyone, preferably with some years of experience (so that they have some perspective), have some  specific recommendations for me for this type of line?

 

You folks here are the only fly-fishers I know, so I value your opinion (s)!

 

Thanks!

Bill_729


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#2 mikechell

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 11:20 AM

Most of my rods have Ebay lines ... around $10.00 a roll.

 

https://www.ebay.com...ssPageName=GSTL

 

Many of them have the same line on for 3 or so years, so the $10.00 line works well for me.  Fishing out of a boat, I am routinely making casts from a few feet to 40 or so feet, as I cover an area from an anchored position.  I do just fine with the cheap line.

 

I put a more expensive line on my latest rod from Steve.  I bought it for 80% off when Gander Mountain went out of business, so it was a great deal.  However, I don't feel any difference when casting it over the other rods.

 

Try one or two, you aren't wasting much money if you don't like them.


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#3 whatfly

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:40 PM

Not quite as simple a question as you might think, because there are a ton of different situations even in the range you specified where I'd want a specific type of line.  Cheapest example I can think of is get yourself some LC13 (can be bought by foot in many shops, 14-15' should work for a 7wt.), some monofilament running line (25-30#) and you have a shooting head.  This is useful if you have to get down fast and while it will not throw elegantly, a bit of practice will allow you to cover a lot of water.  For a more conventional answer, check out the Scientific Anglers Wet Cel lines.  You should be able to find one of these to fit your needs in the $30 range. 

 

Standard trick if time is unimportant, is to wait until the end of the year clearances.  Last year's lines, especially sink tips in odd sizes, are often discounted at the end of the year, and deals can always be found with a bit of digging.



#4 vicente

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:08 PM

I personally like to try to get the expensive lines cheap, Sierra trading post often has a a decent selection at 50% off or more, backcountry is another good site to check.

#5 xvigauge

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 10:54 PM

Where I fish in the fast streams and pocket water of the Smoky Mountains, the actual line I use is of little consequence. I throw mostly leader anyway and very little line. My maximum cast is about 15 feet or so. My line doesn't even have to match the rod as far as line weight goes. I can't believe the extremely high prices of modern lines. And then there are the specialized lines for all the so called various specific fly fishing situations. If you need a line that will only cast on a Tuesday while standing in no more than 18 inches of water and only when the water temperature is exactly 63.5 degrees, you can find it if you want to pay the money. Talk about marketing and targeting inexperienced fisher persons, the fly line companies are really doing it. 

 

I am in total agreement with mikechell, but I'll even go him one better. I not only buy my lines from eBay, I buy USED lines from eBay and often pay less than $10 for them including shipping and many of them have never actually been used, but are NOS. Being a collector of vintage fly reels, I have obtained many reels that have perfectly good lines on them and these lines were free. To answer the OP's question, you don't have to buy expensive specialized lines to be a successful fly fisherman.

Joe



#6 Bill_729

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 02:46 AM

"Standard trick if time is unimportant, is to wait until the end of the year clearances."

 

Silly question:  When do the "end of the year clearances" typically start?   Do they start at the end of the summer?

After Labor Day?  Just curious.   Always fun to find a sale--sort of like "fishing".   Usually I arrive a week or two late for the sale.. ha.

They basically emptied my local Sears out under my nose without me noticing--and now it's sad to see the store gone. I was hoping to catch some craftsman tools on their way out the door...  : )


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#7 RickZieger

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 09:22 AM

Goggle "Budget fly lines"

found some for $12 for double taper lines, 120 feet long.

Cut them in half as I fish warm water from a canoe most of the time.

Rick



#8 steeldrifter

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 12:36 PM

This is where I differ from some of the guys here about where to spend money in fly fishing. Some guys here buy the cheapest line they can find. And if works for them then thats good, but for me cheap lines just do not work very well where I fish and what I fish for. And I've always felt the rod and line are the two most important things in "on water" gear because a bad one of either is gonna make for a long day of fishing.

 

Where you fish, as well as the time of year actually plays a role in how cheap a line you can get away with using. I know that sounds weird, but it is the truth. What I mean by that is this. I have used some of the cheap $10 fly lines Mike is talking about. For me here in Michigan they don't work very well at all. Mainly because a lot of my trout fishing is done in early spring and late fall when the air temp and water temps are pretty cold and that lower cost fly line tends to really feel stiff and coil a lot in the colder water. A problem guys in the warmer parts of the country such as Mike in Fl probably never has to worry about because the temps are much warmer there.

 

They use to (still do I would think) sell fly line at Bass Pro Shops under their own label for about $25 and those were actually made for them by Scientific Angler so if you want low cost but still good quality that would be the first place I would start. Also check ebay you can find a lot of fly shops clearing out older lines for a good price. Such as for a sink tip 7 line like you mentioned, $39 is a pretty good price for a quality line https://www.ebay.com...f7a08ae363b38a3


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#9 mikechell

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 12:50 PM

... feel stiff and coil a lot in the colder water. A problem guys in the warmer parts of the country such as Mike in Fl probably never has to worry about because the temps are much warmer there.

You slightly misstated this fact. 

 

Properly written, " ... guys in the warmer parts of the country such as Mike in Fl happily, elatedly, euphorically and ecstatically never has to worry about"

 

Just sayin' ...


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#10 tjm

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 02:19 PM

I have several of Cortland's cheap lines and their 444 lines as well and Steve makes a good point, in cold weather the cheap lines (idk if Cortland is better or worse than those in  Mike's link) look a bit like a slinky and the 444 peach is nice and limp. I think the higher priced lines last longer too. On the other hand in weather over 80F and where I will likely snag a big sharp rock or step on the line,  I  like knowing the potential disaster won't be overly expensive. I have  a place for both.



#11 tjm

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 02:52 PM

 

When do the "end of the year clearances" typically start?

Just for the heck of it I searched "discount, clearance, closeout fly lines" and quite a few shops have closeout or sales on right now- up to $40 off on the more expensive stuff and at least $20 off on most lines.



#12 vicente

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 03:21 PM

If you only have to cast 15 ft or regularly fish from a boat in sure the type of line you use doesn't matter much. I regularly need/want to cast as far as I can (100ft ish) with very little room for my back cast I have no doubt that my titan taper or outbound short are going to outperform a 10$ ebay line in those conditions unless there's one with the same specs and slickness.

#13 tjm

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 04:21 PM

If you only have to cast 15 ft or regularly fish from a boat in sure the type of line you use doesn't matter much. I regularly need/want to cast as far as I can (100ft ish) with very little room for my back cast I have no doubt that my titan taper or outbound short are going to outperform a 10$ ebay line in those conditions unless there's one with the same specs and slickness.

that sucks man. I think I'd move away from there, 6-7 hours of 30' casts leave me exhausted.



#14 Dave G.

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 05:05 PM

If it weren't sink tip I'd say most lines will do. The hinge effect with sink tip really agitates some fly fishermen. I have used one line that did not exhibit this but it only lasted one season and barely at that. It was a Scientific Angler offering of the day with 3m covering and it peelsed off by the end of the season and cost $60 25 years ago. I hope Scientific Angler improved the lines since then. But I've been using a Cortland 333 for 12 years now. The 444 casts a little better but you won't ever get 12 years out of it.


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#15 whatfly

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 05:54 PM

Silly question:  When do the "end of the year clearances" typically start?   Do they start at the end of the summer?

[snip]

Not silly at all, and not a hard defined date, but anytime after the IFTD show is a good starting point, which is typically mid to late October.  The mechanics is once the vendors announce changes in next year's line up, and this can be as trivial as them just changing the packaging, shops usually start clearing out readying for next year's stock.  When shops/online vendors actually discount last year's lines is up to them, but by January most are clearing out last year's models in my experience.