Search Nomads

8 Mar 2012

Fly-lines for Irish sea-trout

Like most sea-trout fishers in Ireland I generally use lines weighted 6-8, and of these the most used are 7-weights. For the record, here are some lines I habitually use:

WF8 intermediate (Hardy Marksman): soft (non-springy) line; dull brown colour; sinks c.1.5 inches a second. Used on larger estuaries or on stillwaters in a good blow.
WF8 floater (Loop Opti): good line for distance; long front taper; green; use for dry fly from drifting boat (single false cast to dry the fly and then work away)

DT7 intermediate: hard lines to find these days, but I love DT profiles because they land softly; the two DT7 inters I have are zealously looked-after and are both Shakespeare lines, one plum-coloured (and over twenty  years old, bought after reading a tip from that great sea-trout fisher Bill Currie), the other light blue. Sink very slowly (c.1 inch per second)
DT7 floater: originally a Mill End, a white line which I dyed to a soft brown; very soft; occasionally I team it with an intermediate poly-tip
WF7 floater (Rio Gold): great line, very stable (= predictable) loop formation, even at distance; factory-fitted loops both ends. I often team the line with an intermediate poly-tip if I'm fishing the wet-fly
WF7 sink-tip (Rio Outbound): the Outbound is a great line, made slightly heavier than normal and with a radical (clear) head. A distance-casting line par excellence. I sometimes (in windy conditions/big wave) use it on the estuary, though it's a bit too heavy-headed, I think, for e.g. Irish river fishing when the water's low and sea-trout are spooky
WF7 full sinking line (Hardy Marksman, type 'Wet2'): dark green; sinks 2-3 inches per second; I sometimes use this line on deeper estuaries, in high winds, or in the depths of the night when the fish are down

DT6 intermediate (an old Kelly Green WetCel line): great line, one of my standard lines when fishing over-the-front from a drifting boat; sinks very slowly, and floats when greased
WF6 floater (Triangle Taper): longish tip and long rear-head; yellow; good for roll-casting; another much-used line, esp. in calmish conditions or on small rivers at night; often teamed with an intermediate poly-tip

No need, of course, to rush out and buy, or indeed to carry, so many lines - my own stock has been put together over what are now two decades. I suppose if you had to buy and use just two lines they would be a WF or DT7 floater (you can turn it into a sink-tip by attaching an intermediate or faster-sinking poly-tip) and a WF or DT7 intermediate/neutral density.

I look after these lines with what amounts to obsession. They're usually stored in large loops off the reel during the winter, and then at this time of year are cleaned, re-installed onto the backing and so on. All knots (e.g. line to backing) are re-done annually, proofed with Knot Sense and then double-checked. All fly-lines are also given a good stretch and then are de-kinked before fishing. To de-kink a fly-line, simply trail it (no leader attached) behind a drifting or slowly-motoring boat for a bit, or stream it downriver, and then wind neatly back onto the reel. The alternative is to get your man to hold the end of the fly-line and then run away across a field as fast as he can. (He should hold the tip of the fly-line while he's running away, of course.) At the end of his run he should drop the line and go off and find your picnic hamper (and your spats) while you wind the line back onto the reel. Or if that's too much work, get him to (a) run, then (b) wind, then (c) picnic hamper/spats, in that order. (Tip: if he doesn't run fast enough, set him to de-coking the volcano.)

Hope this is useful to someone.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. sorry... i´m a new for fly-fishing, and i love this type of fishing. hello from spain, your blog is very interesting for me. thanks for your post

    2. Thanks for writing, Esteban. I hope you will find that fly-fishing becomes a long, happy and rewarding pastime. I have never fished for trout in Spain, but I think there are some good trout streams in the Picos de Europa and in the Pyrenees. Chris