Mike Barrio

Fly Line Weight Standards
« on: December 31, 2020, 18:49:51 PM »
Fly Line Weight Standards

The AFFTA, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, creates and maintains industry standards to help manufacturers and retailers provide customers with well matched equipment and components.

For me, having internationally recognised standards is crucial to customer understanding and enjoyment of their fly fishing tackle and sport. An important point of reference which brings together fishing tackle from different manufacturers.

If we buy a fly rod rated as a #6 weight and a fly line rated as a #6 weight, they should always cast reasonably well. On a personal level, to suit our individual taste, we might find that we prefer a line weight heavier or a line weight lighter but as a starting point we need some sort of basic standard to enable us to make that choice.

Here are the AFFTA line weight standards for single handed casting rods in more detail, the weight specifications are measured at 30 feet ( 9.144 metres ) minus level tip and have an upper and lower limit recommendation.

A little history:

Back in the days when all fly lines were made of silk, it was common practice for anglers to match their lines to their rods by size rather than weight. You might have chosen a .04 inch diameter line for your rod, or a .055 inch diameter line for example and there was also a recognised range of size standards, line classifications within the range being known by letters from the alphabet.

Modern PVC or plastic fly lines started to appear around 1950, the early ones were simply a PVC coating over a tapered braided line or core, but by the mid 1950s, variable coating thickness processes were being developed and these could be applied over a level core. Manufacturing over a level core saved time and money and the days of labour intensive tapered braided cores were pretty much over by 1960.

Modern plastic fly lines opened a new can of worms, the historic size or diameter line standards were no longer working and fly fishers were having major problems choosing the right line for their rods.

From what I have read over the years, I think we should probably thank Myron Gregory for the solution to the problem and for the line weight standards that we still use today. Myron was a keen fly fisher and a keen tournament caster, his tournament casting experience would almost certainly have led him down the path of designing and building his own lines and heads through trial and error . and at some stage in that journey, it must have dawned on him that line weight and weight distribution was the key.

Myron openly discussed and shared his concept and a number of well known names from the fly line manufacturing world, rod makers and fishing magazine writers were involved in the refinement of his proposals.

In 1960 the then AFTMA standards committee ( American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association ) evaluated and adopted the proposed new Line Weight Standards.

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