In the previous two installments of “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Line Selection but Were Afraid to Ask”, we looked at how grain windows and rod actions can influence line selection, as well as how personal mechanics and style play a role in determining what line is right for you. In this installment, we will take a general look at how fishing conditions and payloads can impact your line selection.

For the sake of brevity, let’s divide the fishing conditions and payloads into 2 general and easy-to-follow groups, namely, the sinktip/heavy fly group, and the dryline/light fly group. I know that some readers will be wondering if this generalization is too broad, but for the purposes of this discussion I think it illustrates the point nicely and also leaves room for a deft segue into part 4 of this series, “How hard do you wanna make this for yourself?”

For fishing sinktips and heavy flies deep in the water column, a Skagit-style line is often the best tool for the job. Skagit casting can be categorized as a casting style with a sustained anchor and a slow to medium-speed sweep and delivery. Looking back to part 2 of this series, we know that to get equivalent energy at slower casting speeds, we need to increase the mass of the line. As a result, the “best fit” Skagit lines for most rods fall in the upper end of the stated grain window.



If fishing light flies up near the surface is your game, a Scandi-style line might be your weapon of choice. Scandi-style casting (as well as other “touch and go” casts) can be characterized as a casting style in which the anchor touches down as the caster is initiating the forward stroke of the cast, often at medium-fast and fast sweep and stroke speeds. If we look once again at the mass / speed relationship, we know that if we increase the speed of the cast, we can reduce the mass of the line and still have equivalent energy to deliver the payload. In this case, lines at the lower end of the stated grain window can be utilized for most two handed rods.

In the next installment, we’ll wrap this up with a little bit of nerd-speak on payloads and new line styles, and we’ll also take a look at line choice as it relates to how hard (or easy) you wanna make your recreational fishing time – as always, feel free to join the conversation with a comment.

Echo/Airflo Pro Ambassador Mark Hieronymus is a senior guide for Bear Creek Outfitters, pattern designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants, and serves as the Trout Unlimited Southeast Alaska Sportfish Outreach Coordinator working to protect native spawning grounds in the Tongass National Forest. No bones about it…Mark’s one busy dude.

Featured shot: Dave McCoy; Body image: Red Kulper