Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: north. Washington/south British Columbia
Head 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out
I like being able to cast a long line, and I dislike the stripping and line management chores associated with short belly lines. For that reason, I'm usually equipped with a long belly line. (This is relative to the length of the rod. I've recently trimmed and tweaked a line that started out as a Cortland WF8F Distance Taper spey to fit my new Meiser 11' 7" 5/6/7. Looped for 10-15' sink tips, it measures 53.5' to the color change at the back taper. Its 465 grains, plus a typical sink tip, exactly fits the little rod. For that rod, it's a long-belly line.)
My mind keeps coming back to what George Kelson wrote in 1895: "What line a spey rod can lift, it can cast." Within that deceptively simple sentence is a profound truth.
After 13 years, I'm still a mediocre spey caster. But with my 15 1/2' or 16' rods, I can "lift" (from the downstream dangle to a good anchor point) about 90 feet of long-belly line, usually including a sink tip, whip it around in my usual double spey, and drive it out, more or less routinely. When I've done everything right - I can feel it mid-cast - I can shoot another 10-30 feet of running line. That's the simple virtue of long-lines, and rods long enough to handle them: once they're in motion, an easy longish cast is more or less assured.
Short-belly lines start out like gangbusters. But they're carrying a burden that increases with every foot of flight. And that running line burden is a lot of work I'd rather not do.