HillTop

DIY Fly Lines

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The forums offer a wealth of knowledge for those of us in the sport that love to fly fish.   Just about anything you want on to know on picking a fly rod, building a fly rod, picking the right fly reel for your rod, etc, etc.    Tons of info on what flies to use and when,  recipes and instructions for just about any fly pattern under the sun.    Hell we wax poetic for post after post as to whether we should have holes in our stripping basket :)

 

Yet when it comes to fly lines, we seem to be at the mercy of probably 5 major fly line suppliers who introduce and then quickly discontinue models trying to hook folks on the next best design but with little regard to maintaining industry standards so that we usually have to purchase a line only to find out that we don't like the way it performs for a number of reasons.    Buying a couple of lines could often set you back enough coin where you could have purchased yourself a new fly reel or fly rod, yet they only last a couple of years if you're lucky.    I'm thinking for a little PVC and braided core lines are some of the most overpriced items in our sport.

 

This spring I purchased a number of low cost lines, probably being discontinued, to try to zero in on what best fits my TH rod and my casting style, as sloppy as that might be.  I had a bit of an "ah-ha"  moment with some of my experimenting but I'm now at a place where I can't continue to fine tune as there are no commercial options available to me.     So, seeing that I like to tinker,  I'd like to try to start building my own fly lines.    You say foolish idea,  maybe, but I'm full of them :)    I'd like to know if there is anyone who frequents the forum who might have already attempted this, and if so, any resources (websites, books, etc) that could be shared that might help get me started ?    Also would like to find a place to purchase excess or discontinued lines to experiment with as materials are a necessity.   I have a lot of ideas as to how I would initially approach this but why reinvent the wheel if I don't have to.    I want to build integrated lines not shooting head setups. 

 

To date I've contacted one west coast builder of custom lines, particularly spey lines,  and he was kind enough to respond right away but was not overly anxious to share other than for suggestions of who to ask next.  A second attempt at a lesser known individual in the industry yielded basically the same results.     I've also contacted a "non-major-player"  fly line manufacturer to inquire as to the possibility of me being able to purchase excess materials, slight defects, etc.  to allow me to start.   Just emailed this weekend so no answer yet.

 

Not sure anyone else shares my interest in this but I would think having this type of resource available to those who want to do more with the sport would be nice to have.   I would love to see Tim put up a new "Fly Line How To Forum"  but suspect there might not be the shared interest that I have in this endeavor.

 

HT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by HillTop

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HT I'm totally with you. I'm more interested in the integrated lines as well. So far the best one that worked for me was splicing the airflo MB to my sonar to replace the running line (the only part I didn't like about it). Where I work we extrude catheters for things like mitral valve replacement, stent delivery, you know, things much less important than fly lines (JUST KIDDING!!!) But I do get to watch them extrude the catheters over a core, not braid or mono but the same idea. Listening to the engineers discussing ways to get that "straw" up your groin and into your heart; where it needs to be more or less flexible to move this way or that way, etc. there is definitely a lot you can do with the process. I've been trying to get one of my buddies to moonlight on twist resistant lines but he just isn't grasping the urgency lol. I've found some head designs that work really well with my casting style, the sonar sink tip is one for sure, also the seafoam green wulff line. Actually I like everything about the Wulff, my search is more on the end of sinking lines. I think what worked well with the sonar for me was the transition from head to handling line to running line - the way that line went together made replacing the running line easy and I got exactly what I wanted. So that took care of my 8 weight setup (SA Mastery floater meets my needs well). My 9 weight, not so much yet. I'd like to scare up a used sonar 9 or 10 and do the exact same thing with it so I'm scouring the various sources...

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I have done few WF lines after I have test cast and tuned the weight just right as normally looped shooting head or using an Allbright knot to tie the shooting line. Polyurethane lines (Airflo and Guideline) are very easy to weld and few times I have made line heavier weiding sliced line halves where the core can be pulled out to the line using heat shrink tubing and heat gun. 

 

There is a method where usually thinner core is pulled inside other larger core using a thin needle but that is not very easy. But it is very easy to thead wrap lines together using fly tying bobbin and polyurethane glue. Later I have stripped cores and cut the coating V-shape flaps and then tied cores together and first thread wrapped the knot perhaps give to ten times and then over the flaps.

 

Esa

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On 6/25/2018 at 9:49 PM, stormy monday said:

HT I'm totally with you. I'm more interested in the integrated lines as well. So far the best one that worked for me was splicing the airflo MB to my sonar to replace the running line (the only part I didn't like about it). Where I work we extrude catheters for things like mitral valve replacement, stent delivery, you know, things much less important than fly lines (JUST KIDDING!!!) But I do get to watch them extrude the catheters over a core, not braid or mono but the same idea. Listening to the engineers discussing ways to get that "straw" up your groin and into your heart; where it needs to be more or less flexible to move this way or that way, etc. there is definitely a lot you can do with the process. I've been trying to get one of my buddies to moonlight on twist resistant lines but he just isn't grasping the urgency lol. I've found some head designs that work really well with my casting style, the sonar sink tip is one for sure, also the seafoam green wulff line. Actually I like everything about the Wulff, my search is more on the end of sinking lines. I think what worked well with the sonar for me was the transition from head to handling line to running line - the way that line went together made replacing the running line easy and I got exactly what I wanted. So that took care of my 8 weight setup (SA Mastery floater meets my needs well). My 9 weight, not so much yet. I'd like to scare up a used sonar 9 or 10 and do the exact same thing with it so I'm scouring the various sources...

 

On 6/26/2018 at 6:34 AM, crunch said:

I have done few WF lines after I have test cast and tuned the weight just right as normally looped shooting head or using an Allbright knot to tie the shooting line. Polyurethane lines (Airflo and Guideline) are very easy to weld and few times I have made line heavier weiding sliced line halves where the core can be pulled out to the line using heat shrink tubing and heat gun. 

 

There is a method where usually thinner core is pulled inside other larger core using a thin needle but that is not very easy. But it is very easy to thead wrap lines together using fly tying bobbin and polyurethane glue. Later I have stripped cores and cut the coating V-shape flaps and then tied cores together and first thread wrapped the knot perhaps give to ten times and then over the flaps.

 

Esa

Stormy, Esa,

 

Did you both strip off the plastic outer coating and then insert one line into the other with splicing needle and/or tie a knot between the two cores and then cover with something like Gudebrod braid and Aquaseal or did you just cover the splice and weld with remaining material?    How did you test the strength of the joint afterwards ?   Also curious how the splice may have stood the test of time as far as possible delamination or cracking.   

 

I'm anxious to try developing a technique and begin to experiment.    Need materials to play with though.    Maybe I should ask folks to mail me there old worn out flylines rather than trashing them to get me started :)

 

HT

 

 

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I didn't strip off any plastic coating. The Airflo miracle braid is a braided mono with some sort of core in it. I stripped out probably 4" of that core to make the braided mono hollow, then inserted the 4" of green original running line into it (it was a very tight fit btw), finishing off with a nail knot because I don't trust the whole "chinese handcuff" thing fully and the nail knot (actually more like wrapping a trim band on a rod) keeps the end of the miracle braid from fraying. The nail knot only gets aquaseal. So far I've only gotten fish to just below the 28" mark with it, but they have been in very shallow water so I got a good fight out of them with no sign of potential failure. I'm looking for another SA just like it so I can rig it up for my 9 weight..

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I would not expect custom line makers to share their expertise as that is their business.  There is a book by Al Buhr on the subject however the methods seem to be from the days of braided dacron cores (I miss those days!).  I've tried the needle method that Esa mentioned however with today's tight weaved cores the project proved futile.

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I seem to remember reading an article about making fly lines out of 100lb mono. They would stretch a long piece of the mono between two posts and use sandpaper to sand it down to the taper they wanted. But they gave up on the idea because the line was too stiff. Interesting idea about making your own lines though.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I've made a few lines and designed some to be made for me (artificial silk lines from Terenzio - he now sells my design as a stock offering). I'll give you some details tomorrow.

 

There's a guy in the states who can be tracked down via the spey pages forum. He will make a custom line for your needs quickly and cheaply. The guys on that forum always recommend him for this type of thing. I can't remember his name though. (I'll find that for you tomorrow too.)

 

Cheers,

Graeme

Edited by Hirdy

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This is the biggest problem with fly rods is matching the proper line to the rod. One season Ken Abrams came to the Cape for a demonstration. He had us take our reels off our rods and try different fly lines . 

The problem is that when rods are designed they are designed for the rod designer and not a particular caster. 

Everyones casting is different from what the rod manufacture suggest. Weather you use a single handed rod or a DT handed you have to match the line to your own individual casting style. 

FishHawk

.

 

Edited by FishHawk II

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Graeme

 

Thanks. Will this guy build integrated WF lines as this is what HT and myself and a few others using a TH need. We don’t want spey or skagit Lines.

 

Is this man in the USA simply cutting and either splicing or welding existing heads and lines.

 

Mike

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The guy you're after is Steve Godshall. I don't know his online contact details but did find a phone number for him * Apparently you speak to him, tell him what you like and he will produce a line that suits your needs for around the same cost as a factory line. He does indeed mainly work with the Spey guys, but he knows his stuff by all accounts.

 

You'd need to ask him his methods. I've never heard a bad thing said about his work.

 

Cheers,

Graeme

Edited by TimS
Please don’t post commercial links here - thanks

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1 hour ago, Hirdy said:

I've made a few lines and designed some to be made for me (artificial silk lines from Terenzio - he now sells my design as a stock offering). I'll give you some details tomorrow.

 

There's a guy in the states who can be tracked down via the spey pages forum. He will make a custom line for your needs quickly and cheaply. The guys on that forum always recommend him for this type of thing. I can't remember his name though. (I'll find that for you tomorrow too.)

 

Cheers,

Graeme

 

Hello Graeme,

 

The gentleman in question on the west coast is Steve Godshall.    Really nice guy and the person I referenced earlier in my post.    He didn't give me too many particulars, not that I was looking for trade secrets, just info on where to buy materials and some quick direction on how to get started.

 

From what I understand his custom lines cost no more than what you purchase commercial lines for but then again $90 to $150 can add up fast if you want to experiment making minor tweaks to something that's already close.    Two or three iterations add up quick and I was hoping I could find a way to do this on my own without breaking the bank.   Plus I think I'd find a lot of enjoyment doing this, like tying my own flies and building my own rod and stripping basket.     Lines are the one part of the experience equation that I think I'm missing out on.

 

HT

 

Edited by HillTop

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(Cross posted HT. Mine is waiting on moderation because I put a hyperlink to information in it.)

 

Okay, well doing it yourself is indeed fun. There's a guy with videos on how to splice lines on his web site. Search "Hooked 4 Life" and you'll see how it's done. Good fun.

 

You won't save any money but you'll learn, and that's a good thing. 

Edited by Hirdy

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On 6/25/2018 at 6:49 PM, stormy monday said:

HT I'm totally with you. I'm more interested in the integrated lines as well. So far the best one that worked for me was splicing the airflo MB to my sonar to replace the running line (the only part I didn't like about it). Where I work we extrude catheters for things like mitral valve replacement, stent delivery, you know, things much less important than fly lines (JUST KIDDING!!!) But I do get to watch them extrude the catheters over a core, not braid or mono but the same idea. Listening to the engineers discussing ways to get that "straw" up your groin and into your heart; where it needs to be more or less flexible to move this way or that way, etc. there is definitely a lot you can do with the process. I've been trying to get one of my buddies to moonlight on twist resistant lines but he just isn't grasping the urgency lol. I've found some head designs that work really well with my casting style, the sonar sink tip is one for sure, also the seafoam green wulff line. Actually I like everything about the Wulff, my search is more on the end of sinking lines. I think what worked well with the sonar for me was the transition from head to handling line to running line - the way that line went together made replacing the running line easy and I got exactly what I wanted. So that took care of my 8 weight setup (SA Mastery floater meets my needs well). My 9 weight, not so much yet. I'd like to scare up a used sonar 9 or 10 and do the exact same thing with it so I'm scouring the various sources...

Stormy, do you monitor the Classified forums on Spey Pages or North American Fly Fishing or the others? Lots of fly lines and other gear pops up for sale all the time. Just making sure you know about it.

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12 mins ago, Uncle Stu said:

Stormy, do you monitor the Classified forums on Spey Pages or North American Fly Fishing or the others? Lots of fly lines and other gear pops up for sale all the time. Just making sure you know about it.

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that. Nothing my wife likes better than boxes of gear showing up in the mail,!

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