Let­ters

Trout Fish­er­man read­ers have their say

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

YOUR ‘Weight Botch­ers’ ar­ti­cle (TF 515) high­lights the mine­field sur­round­ing the AFTM sys­tem for rat­ing fly lines, and of­fers a lot of use­ful ad­vice. Over­lin­ing the rod by one or even two AFTM line sizes as sug­gested would cer­tainly help novices load the stiff, fast-ac­tioned rods we use these days. How­ever, at the risk of be­ing de­scribed a “tackle geek”, I don’t think the solution’s as simple as that. For a start, as Iain Barr points out, each AFTM line num­ber (rat­ing) cov­ers a small range of weights, so lines from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers, even with iden­ti­cal rat­ing, may not weigh the same. The dif­fer­ences might not be too no­tice­able but could still to some ex­tent af­fect the amount of over-lin­ing re­quired. Also, of course, the stiffer the rod, the more over-lin­ing that’s needed. Another con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore de­cid­ing to over-line is whether the line has been de­lib­er­ately over­weighted and I’m not sure the man­u­fac­tur­ers al­ways tell us when they do this. Even so, as the ar­ti­cle points out, the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided is of­ten far too vague. How many line sizes heav­ier is “slightly over­weighted” for good­ness sake? And let’s not for­get there are still many lines out there that aren’t over­weighted at all. An in­dus­try code of con­duct re­quir­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers to al­ways spec­ify if and by ex­actly how much their lines are over­weighted, would end this con­fu­sion. Is this too much to ask? An­glers could then choose to avoid over­weighted lines and im­ple­ment your sug­ges­tions re­gard­ing over-lin­ing, or do the ex­act op­po­site - but, if you value your rod and par­tic­u­larly if it’s on the soft side, prob­a­bly not both! A slightly more com­pli­cated al­ter­na­tive that would serve the same pur­pose, would be to in­sist that as well as the AFTM line rat­ing, the line’s ac­tual AFTM weight was dis­played on the pack­ag­ing, which some man­u­fac­tur­ers al­ready do. Check­ing this weight against the rat­ing’s weight range is all that would be nec­es­sary to iden­tify over­weight­ing. There is also the ques­tion of head length. The longer and there­fore heav­ier the head, the more dif­fi­cult it is to aeri­alise (but the greater the dis­tance po­ten­tial), and while our fast-ac­tioned rods are de­signed for this, in­di­vid­ual cast­ing abil­ity must also be taken into ac­count. As we know, a weight-for­ward (WF) line works best when all the head is aeri­alised. This means a line with a 60-foot head say, is ab­so­lutely use­less to an an­gler who can only cope with a 40-foot one - he’d ob­vi­ously be try­ing to shoot 20 feet of thick head rather than thin run­ning line. In other words, head length must be tai­lored to cast­ing abil­ity, so it’s cru­cial to know what this is. Again the in­dus­try could help by stip­u­lat­ing that head length de­tails are al­ways pro­vided. When the AFTM sys­tem was es­tab­lished in 1962, it was de­lib­er­ately based on the weight of the first 30 feet of line be­cause this was the nor­mal WF head length at the time. How­ever, things have moved on and with such a wide range of spe­cialised lines avail­able now, heads are very vari­able and usu­ally much longer. This means the AFTM sys­tem can now only serve as a guide and some ar­gue it is so out­dated it should be re­placed. An al­ter­na­tive sys­tem based solely on head length and weight has been pro­posed, which I be­lieve is the cur­rent ap­proach to salmon lines. It re­mains to be seen whether this is the way for­wards. In the mean­time hav­ing more pre­cise in­for­ma­tion at our dis­posal along the lines I’ve sug­gested, would help end the cur­rent line-pur­chase lot­tery and pre­vent all those frus­trat­ing and ex­pen­sive mis­takes. (Dr) Ver­non Wood, GAIA mem­ber

Edi­tor’ s re­ply: Thanks Ver­non, some very good sug­ges­tions and in­sights here. Per­haps the trade will oblige.

Isit­time­tochangeth­eAFTM­lin­er­at­ing sys­tem?

STAR LET­TER PRIZE Dr Wood wins a £50 voucher to spend with Fly Only.

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