(Closely followed by "What Rod" and "what Camera")
For the past few years I've used an Orange Expert Distance line from Scientific Anglers, but almost all the big line manufacturers now make similar lines.
There are a 2 very important reasons why I use lines of this type.
The first is obviously the color. As an instructor (and when we're out filming) it's vital that the fly line is clearly visible, you can't talk about loops and slack line casts without actually seeing the line, and your standard olive fly line is next to impossible to see in the air.
If you are even vaguely interested in improving your fly casting a Hi-Viz line is an absolute must. Casting one is like firing tracer rounds into the air. Every loop and line you throw can be clearly seen - and how are you ever going to tighten up those loops without clearly seeing what's going on up there?!
The second reason is perhaps not so obvious:
A long belly line is a must have.
Most standard trout lines have a total head length or between 35' - 40' - after that they hit a fairly short rear taper and then you're into running line. And you cant cast running line - try it.
If you've ever tried to carry any reasonable length of line in the air - say 50 feet or more, a standard weight forward line turns to spaghetti in the air. Once you have the full head out past the rod tip, you're trying to cast that running line, and for most casters anything more than a few feet of overhang ends in disaster.
If you're interested in practicing distance with long carries then a long belly line is the only taper that is going to work for you (OK, excluding a shooting head, but that's a different game)
The overall head length of a fly line is made up of the sum total lengths of the front taper, the belly (the long relatively level middle bit) and the rear taper.
Weight forward lines shoot well, but do not allow for long carries and big distance.
Long belly lines have a far greater total head length and some clever tapers that delay turnover and assist overall distance. - more on tapers another day...
Weight Forward Line Profile. Note the relatively short belly and long running line.
Long Belly Distance Line. Note the belly length.
That was then...
Perhaps the biggest drawback with specialty long belly lines, or just about any fly line these days, is that they are bloody expensive - particularly when it's a line you will probably never actually fish!
A couple of posts back I looked at the Barrio GT140, which is a very good long belly line at a great price.
The Hi-Viz DT practice line.
As previously mentioned I get asked a lot about where to get a Hi Viz line, but not everyone wants to bust out casts of 100 feet or more. Most students simply want an inexpensive line that is easily seen for practicing with.
So we've com up with a low cost, Hi-Viz orange fly line in a double taper. The double taper essentially does away with that troublesome running line and affords a nice long belly. The double taper also means that when you wear one end out you can simply reverse it - and Voilà ! - you've got a nice new line all over again. (It wasn't that long ago when most lines where DT's and weight forward profiles were the new best thing)
The other advantage of a DT is that they are a dream to roll cast - and if you've been following our roll-casting clips from my "Casts that Catch Fish" DVD - this line will make things a little easier.
We've tred to keep the cost of these lines low and keep waste to a minimum (about half the price of a named brand) so packaging is minimal - But I'm sure you don't need another cardboard box or plastic line spool.