Floating fly lines vs sinking fly lines - The AFFTA system for rating fly line weights

September 12, 2016 2 min read

Which weighs more, a floating fly line or a sinking line?

It may surprise you to know that they both weigh the same - at 30 feet anyway. Or at least they should.
For example, under the AFFTA system for rating fly lines a 5 weight fly line is a 5wt regardless of whether it is a floater, a sinking fly line or an intermediate.
Fly lines are labeled using an industry standard set by The America Fly Fishing Trade Association, AFFTA, and are given a number from 1-14.  A fly lines “weight” is the mass of the fly line measured in grains or grams at 30 feet as outlined in the table below. AFFTA creates and maintains industry standards to help manufacturers comply with tolerances, and to help manufacturers and retailers provide customers with well matched equipment and components.
AFFTA system for rating fly lines
This standard was established and agreed by the then 'American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers' (AFTM) in 1962. There has been much discussion on the system over the years around how correct and applicable it might actually be. It’s important to note that lines for two handed rods use a different rating also published by the AFFTA (more on this in a later post)

The AFTM standard is based upon the weight of the first 30 feet of line excluding the short section of level tip. 30 feet was chosen as the standard because it was felt that this length represented the length of line at which a single handed rod should be suitably loaded for reasonable casting.

So why does a floating fly line float and a sinking fly line sink? Simple - density.
A floating fly line is less dense than a sinking line, and in the case of most modern floating fly lines the outer coating is infused with “micro balloons” that increase surface area and decrease overall density.
A sinking fly line sinks simply because it is more dense - i.e. it is thiner and has a narrower cross section.

So. Fly Line Density - The Density of a fly line dictates whether the fly line floats, sinks, or partially sinks - not its weight.
Our Epic Glassline fly lines are all "true to weight" in that they conform to AFFTA standard. All our Epic fly rods are designed to be cast with fly lines that are true to weight. 

Epic true weight fly lines


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The Drift

Fiberglass Fly Rods 12 wt
Fiberglass Fly Rods and Big Toothy Critters

May 07, 2019 5 min read

Epic Ambassador Andre van Wyk heads back to Providence Atoll. "Being my 3rd trip back to Providence Atoll, the jewel in the Crown of Flycastaways Seychelles operations, I was nervous of super calm hot conditions. Providence is more of an enormous shallow Seamount than your typical Seychelles Atoll… with very little in the way of barrier reef, it is a 400 plus square mile navigational nightmare of turtle grass flats, channels, lagoons and god only knows what else."
Read More
Fly Reel how to balance a fly rod
How to Balance A Fly Rod

April 03, 2019 2 min read 1 Comment

Perhaps that’s too literal an interpretation, but the whole fly rod and reel balance exercise is actually pretty pointless, after-all, when is the fly rod balanced? - standing in the carpark balanced on a finger with no line out?
Read More
Native Trout. The "Chasing Natives" Initiative and why it matters to all of us.
Native Trout. The "Chasing Natives" Initiative and why it matters to all of us.

February 19, 2019 2 min read 1 Comment

"Native fish are often indicator species whose health tells us much about the waters they live in. In this film we will look at the survival challenges these fish have or have had and the successes we're having in managing them, examining working solutions. Factors adversely affecting native fish around the world are often the same, such as over fishing, invasive species, habitat loss, etc"
Read More

Join Us