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As an analogy, there is no one golf club that will get you through a full round easily... and flyfishing isn't dissimilar. So, we select an appropriate line weight that will suit the majority of situations we're likely to fish.
In choosing a line weight, you might think it would come down to the size of fish we want to catch; but it doesn't at all. You can catch just as big a fish on a 6 weight as you can on a 3 weight. The most important thing to consider is the weight of the fly (or rig) you want to cast. For example, if you're fishing a big river in New Zealand, you might have a large indicator with two bead head nymphs on the end. That's considered a substantial amount of weight (and air resistance) to cast on a 3, 4 or even 5 weight line. So for that, we'd opt for a 6 weight as the ideal line weight. Similarly in saltwater, if you're fishing a big surface fly, half the size of a chicken, you'll get it out far easier with a 10 weight than you will an 8 weight. What follows is a summary to divide the common line weights and help you choose.
Of course, we've tried to keep this as simple as possible. If you'd like further or more in-depth advice based on where you're fishing, feel free to give us a call on (03)96211246. This isn't buying broccoli at the grocery store - it's far more important... and fun! Just remember that we're here to help and we love talking flyfishing... so get in touch!
3 Weight Outfit
Flyfishing small streams or "twig water" as it is affectionately known here, is one of the most exciting forms of flyfishing. In Victoria we are blessed with a huge number of trout packed creeks that are often overgrown, and for that, you need a short three weight that is more easily managed in the pokey stuff. Best of all, three weight rods are super light and they bend very easily, making catching small fish a pure joy.
4 Weight Outfit
If all you fished was Aussie rivers and you wanted one rod that could do pretty much all of it, this is it. The 4 weight is light enough that you can fish a tiny dry fly with delicacy, but if you wish to throw a hopper, or a bushy dry fly with a nymph underneath, you can. What it can't do is cast a big streamer, or cope with a lot of wind in exposed valleys or lakes... and so for that you'd ideally bump up a line size or two...
5 Weight Outfit
The most popular line weight the world over, a 5 weight has the power to make learning to cast easy, and allows you to fish bigger rivers and lakes. If you're just starting out, this would be the minimum weight we'd suggest starting with. With a 5, you'll be able to get the fly where it needs to be to catch fish, sooner than if you start with something lighter. A 5 weight is ideal for casting a bit of weight or an air resistant indicator and it can cope well in wind. It's not the ideal choice, but it can be used for the majority of lake fishing as well. A true all-rounder.
6 Weight Outfit
We recommend a 6 for quick, accurate casting on lakes, fishing streamers, for bigger rivers where we might be fishing heavy nymphs, and for fishing in windy places like Tassie or New Zealand. A 6 weight is also perfect for fishing from a boat if that's your jam. If you could pick one line weight to learn to cast with, the 6 weight is the one... but equally it's a rod that will see a lot of fishing, as trout seem to love windy places...!
8 Weight Outfit
This is the ideal line weight for the vast majority of in-shore saltwater flyfishing, or for fishing for smaller natives in rivers like Murray Cod and bass. With an 8 you'll be well equipped to cast most lighter weighted streamers and shrimp/crab patterns. For bonefish in skinny water - this is the ideal line weight. For barra - we prefer the 8 over anything else because of the amount of casting involved.
9 Weight Outfit
If you can only see yourself doing the very occasional saltwater trip and are positive you'll only ever invest in one complete saltwater outfit - then go the 9. You'll have just enough grunt to tackle some of the larger species and flies - yet it's light enough you can cast all day without too much fatigue. For deeper flats bonefishing, such as that encountered in Aitutaki or Exmouth, this is the ideal line weight.
10 Weight Outfit
We love 10 weights at The Flyfisher. There's very little they can't do and for Aussie species like permit, golden trevally, and longtail tuna, they're ideal. Throw heavy crab patterns with ease, big cod surface flies no worries, flex some muscle out of the boat with bluewater species, the 10 does it all.
12 Weight Outfit
The big dog. When flyfishing gets extreme, this is what you want. Think GT's, Caribbean Tarpon, bluefin tuna, and billfish. The 12 is not a rod you'd want to be casting all day but when there's a big predator that presents itself, you'll have the bazooka for a bazooka fight.