Weight Forward vs. Double Taper
by Doc Trout
I am often asked what is the difference in the performance of a Double Taper and a Weight-Forward fly line? Well, the short answer to that question is that a Weight-forward line is better for shooting the fly to its destination and a Double Taper line is better for casting it there. Now, what I mean by that is that a Weight Forward line consists of a thick diameter "head section" and a thin diameter "running line" section and thus the line tends to hinge at the point where the two meet. Therefore, to cast the maximum distance possible with a weight forward line, you must find the point where the head and running line meet, place it just a bit short of the top guide, load the rod, and let the line fly. However, a Double Taper line has a "head section" on each end and the line in between the two is the same diameter as the heads so there is no "running line". Consequently, since a larger diameter line presents more surface area to the line guides, a Double Taper does not shoot as far as a Weight Forward line. However, most Weight Forward lines have a "head section" that is about thirty feet long and thus you cannot hold any more line than the length of the head in the air when casting one because of the hinge effect. But, since a Double Taper line has no running line, it does not hinge so you can hold more line in the air than you can with a Weight Forward line but you can't shoot it as far because of the extra fricition it experiences when sliding through the line guides.