So there you sit, relaxed, hand on the mouse,
checking the bulletin-board for anything
interesting and you spot this one.
"I'm new to fly fishing, just bought a five
weight rod and reel, and want to know if it
makes any difference what color the fly line
is. What do you guys think?"
You figure that one is not too tough and you
click on reply. An cute little box magically
appears and you in all innocense start typing
in your answer, never knowing where the string
may take you or how it might wind up.
"Hi new guy, welcome to our sport, you will
love it. It probably doesn't make any difference
at this time in your career as a fly-fisher what
color the line is, get a pretty one, a color you
like. By the way, what are you going to be
Now that doesn't sound like you could get into
any trouble with a simple answer like that, but
"I'm going to be fishing for trout, using mostly
dry flies I think. Some nymphs later I guess."
Before you can respond to that, here comes one of
the guys from 'down-under' with his ideas on line
"Hey, new guy! Don't you believe it! Unless you are
prepared to buy another fly line real fast or only
use that pretty pink string you just bought for
lawn-casting, you better find one the fish can't
see." Down here we only use very drab lines and
we even sand off the shine from them so the fish
Good grief, you didn't plan on an argument, you
were just trying to be helpful to a new fellow
fly fisherman. Now you have bugged a veteran from
another continent. This thread is headed for
trouble and you are right in the middle of it
now. You must try to get out of it fast.
"Ok, sorry, I only meant that since new guy is new,
he might do well with a fly line he can see. See not
only on the water and for mending and nymph strikes,
but for watching his loops in the air too. Geeze,
gimme a break!"
"Well, our trout down here are very sophisticated
and with the extremely clear and shallow water,
even if they see a fly line in the air they are
gone in a heartbeat."
Now you have been engaged and again need to defend
yourself. You think about mentioning that when a
trout is down about a foot or so his vision window
that he can see out into the air is not much bigger
than that. He can see the bottom, ahead and a
reflection of the bottom upside down on the
underside of the surface except for the window.
"Thanks down-under, but up here we try not to plop
our fly lines on our trout. They also do not like
that. If the line is outside of his window he can't
see it anyhow."
"Look Yankee, trust me, ours are very selective
and they can see the line when it lands on the
water outside of your 'window-thing' and the line
must be drab or it sends them off."
You think about that for a bit and wonder what a
drab fly line looks like from below, as it is now
part of the reflection of the bottom. Or is it the
splash of it landing that puts them off.
"Is it the fly line landing or just in the air
that causes the problems?"
"Hey Guys! Hold it. Remember I am new here, can
the fish see the line or not? What about the leader?"
You remember reading somewhere about two guys,
one using a hot pink line and another casting a
dull green one. The dull line out fishing the
pink by a lot. But, did they switch back and
forth, how fair was the test? Did they change
places? Who knows. You take another shot at it.
"If the line is in the air and outside his window
it shouldn't make any difference what the color
is. If it passes over the window then it should
be a light color, bluish or such resembling the
sky. If a fish is looking up he will see a dark
thing against the sky easier than a light colored
"Ya, then why doesn't that work down here? We all
use drab lines and they are the best."
You are getting a bit tired of all of this, after
all you only were trying to help the new guy. The
fellow down-under is sure convinced and there must
be something to it and you have never been there.
Might be a good idea to leave that idea alone. So
back to your original thoughts on line color.
"New guy, up here in the states, we mostly use two
colors of lines, bright for floaters and dull or
clear for sinking. The bright colors make it easier
for us to see the lines and that seems to be what
most of us want. Try not to cast your line directly
above the trout, try to keep the line from landing
on him and try to cast so the leader is the only
thing that gets near him.
And one more thing.
Buy what ever color line you want; I have no damn idea." ~ James Castwell