The four parts of a fly line entail more than just the line itself. Fly lines are made quite differently than say the line for a spinning rig. A fly line needs to have weight and size for casting all different sized flies. There is a system of varying lines making up all the line on your reel. Hopefully, this list will give you a basic understanding of this system. RIO has a wonderful fly line selection tool on their site. Check it out.
For more basics on the parts of a fly line, check out this article on Troutster.
There are 4 basic parts of a fly line
- Backing. This is the stuff you rarely ever see. If you get to see your backing outside of your reel, you are having a good day. The backing is used to fight a fish when a ton of line is pulled off the reel. A normal trout setup will have about 100 yards of 20 or 30-pound backing. You don’t cast the backing, it is only used to fight a big fish. The backing attaches directly to your reel’s spool and then to your fly line.
- Fly line. Your fly line is the most familiar and second in the list for parts of a fly line. Bright colors make it easy to see for most fly fishing uses. Your fly line is much thicker in diameter than the backing. The fly line has a smooth coating for casting and for pulling it through the water. Most of the time your fly line will be a floating line. This line is usually around 100 feet long. Your fly line attaches to your backing and to your leader.
- Leader. The leader is normally made of a clear monofilament. This part of your line is tapered in diameter, starting at the butt section, which connects to your fly line, down to the bottom end which connects to your tippet material. Leaders come in many different diameters and lengths. You choose your leader material and size based on where you fish and what you fish for.
- Tippet. This material is made of the same stuff as your leader. You will use tippet to extend the length of your leader when needed or to decrease the diameter of your leader. Over the course of a day on the water, your leader gets shorter. You change flies or break off your leader in a tree. Tippet material is used to add to your leader and replace what you have lost. It is also used to decrease or increase the diameter of your leader on the fly. You can build an entire leader out of varying sizes of tippet material.