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This is going to come across as a hard sell, but we firmly believe the following.
First of all, bite the bullet and invest in the best gear you can afford. The worlds best flyfishing outfit, will make the worlds worst fly caster much better. Part of learning is familiarising yourself with your gear, so get your own rather than borrowing someone else's.
Flyfishing outfits (rod, reel & line) come in different line weights for different applications. The outfit one would use for casting tiny dry flies for trout in a small creek would be totally different to one used for casting big flies to Murray cod. Fish size is of some consideration but the most important thing that determines which line weight you would use, is the size of the fly.
Line weight is exactly that - the physical weight of the fly line. For example, a 9 weight floating fly line is three times thicker and has around three times the mass of a 3 weight floating fly line, and so it is able to “carry” a fly that is considerably larger.
The weight of the fly line dictates the rest of the outfit. If you have a 5 weight fly line, you’re going to need a fly reel that features the correct capacity to hold that weight fly line. You’d only get a few turns of a 10 weight line onto a 5 weight reel - so it should be matched correctly.
Of course the physics of casting relies on the rod bending. To efficiently and easily make a cast, a 5 weight line has the ideal mass built into it to achieve the perfect amount of bend in a 5 weight rod.
There are just two more components you need to concern yourself with, the backing, and the leader. The backing is usually around 80 metres of 30lb bright coloured dacron line. It’s there simply as insurance. Fly lines are about 30 metres long and so to avoid running out of line on the reel with a good fish on, we run backing behind it. It’s the least important part of the setup and a good fly shop will take care of it so you never have to think about it.
The leader is the clear (stealthy) connection between the thick, highly visible fly line, and the fly. In most cases the leader is tapered, so it consists of a thick butt section down to a thin tippet that attaches to the fly. There is more to cover with leaders so read on.