Few fly anglers have access to pristine trout water on a daily basis. Many of us, however, can find lakes and streams filled with bass within minutes of our homes. While we may long for those mountain streams, we find joy in fly fishing for bass. Targeting them with a fly rod adds an exciting element that you may not be able to find with traditional spinning gear. In order to land bass with a fly rod, anglers must use the proper fly line! If you aren’t able to get to where they’re feeding, you’ll have a hard time catching them.
What to Look For in a Fly Line for Bass Fishing
When you’re doing your initial research for the best fly line for bass, it’s important to consider the types of bass flies you’re going to be throwing. You’re able to use both streamers and dry flies when fishing for bass. Either of these flies are going to catch bass as long as you’re able to match what they’re wanting to eat.
With bass, you’re rarely throwing tiny flies, so you’re safe to assume that a more versatile fly line is an ideal choice.
The most important thing about fly line weight is the weight of your fly rod and reel. Properly balancing your fly fishing gear is absolutely vital to be successful when fly fishing for bass. If you’re using a 6-weight rod with a 6-weight reel, you want to use a 6 weight or 7 weight line. Some anglers choose to “overline” by putting a little heavier line on their reel, but that’s more of a personal preference.
If you’re tossing primarily streamers for bass, you’re going to want to use a line with a short front taper, short rear taper and a heavier weight. This can be a floating line or sinking line depending on the depth you’re fishing.
If you’re going to throw poppers and other dries, a fly line with a short front taper, a long rear taper and a moderate weight is going to be a solid choice. These fly lines are usually more versatile, so you can get away with throwing streamers on them as well.
Floating vs Sink Tip vs Sinking
The next thing to consider is if you’re going to use floating, sink tip or sinking line. All of these can be used when fly fishing for bass, but they have specific uses that are dependent on the type of water and flies you’re fishing.
Floating line is more versatile than one might think! Yes, it’s ideal for dry flies because it’s not going to pull the flies under the surface. However, you can use streamers with it as well! As long as you’re not fishing overly deep water, you can use it when throwing streamers. The weight of your streamer is going to pull the floating line under the surface. Combine that with the length of your leader and you’ll cover most water 12 feet or deeper!
Sink tip lines are common for anglers looking to fish streamers in rivers. The front portion of the line is going to sink at a specific rate per second. All sink tip lines have a specific sink rate. A type 3 line sinks at a rate of 3 inches per second.
If you’re fishing lakes, many fly anglers will use sinking line. Sinking lines are a smart choice if you need to get deep! The entire line is going to sink, so make sure you’re using streamers when you choose to use it. When you retrieve, a full sink line is going to stay in the feeding zone longer than a sink tip or floating line would.
Coating for temperature
One final thing to consider is the temperature rating for your fly line. If you’re targeting Peacock Bass in the Amazon, you’ll find the temperatures somewhere around 80 degrees. As a result, fly line companies create fly line specifically made for tropical areas.
Be aware of the warmest and coldest water you’re fishing is going to get and purchase a fly line that falls within that range.
Best Fly Lines for Bass: Quick Picks
Best Floating Fly Lines for Bass: Reviews
Airflo continually impresses people the more anglers get to use it. The company is making a name for itself in an incredibly competitive market. The Airflo Ridge Bass/Muskie line is the ideal floating line for bass. You’re getting a very low stretch that’s not going to allow for any fish to get away. The aggressive front taper, long rear taper and think tip make it the ideal floating line. On a 6-weight, you’ll find a 4 foot front taper, 25 foot belly and 12 foot rear taper. You can find this line for fly rods ranging from 6 weight to 10 weight. It’s a great deal for $90!
- It’s rated for water ranging from 40-86 Degrees
- It’s 90 feet total- 49 ft. running line, 41 ft head length (6 weight)
- Loops on both ends make for extremely easy connections
Rio Mainstream Bass/Pike
If you’re interested in a more budget friendly bass fly line from a great company, the Rio Mainstream Bass model is a good choice. Rio is well-known for their quality products. They advertise this line for anglers who are of “average” skill ability! This doesn’t mean it can’t be used by anglers above and below that mark. It’s 80 feet long, so keep that in mind! For $40, you’re getting a great deal.
- Slightly Heavier than average fly line
- Powerful front taper
- Rated for tropical weather, so bring it to your warm weather fishing spots.
The Scientific Anglers Mastery Bass Bug fly line is amazing for bass. It’s a weight forward floating line created with bass anglers in mind. Whether you’re wanting to throw streamers or dry flies with it, it’s going to handle it. SA overweighted this fly line by two line sizes to help you throw those heavy flies and turn them over when you need. For $80, you’ll struggle to find a better, more specifically designed fly line. It’s a decent deal at $80.
- Extended Rear Taper
- Warm weather coating for tropical areas
- Welded loops on both ends
Best Sinking or Sink Tip Fly Lines for Bass
The Sonar Sink 30 Bass Fly Line from Scientific Anglers is a perfect line for big flies and big fish. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass alike are going to take this line. Bass fishing with sinking line ins’t always the easiest, so your fly line is going to have to help you in the process. This line has a 30′ slow-sinking head that’s going to let your fly fall naturally in the water column. While you may not be able to lay down your flies as softly as you would like, the color is going to help you stay hidden. It’s advanced technology is worth the $100.
- Low visibility sinking head that doesn’t spook fish when the fly falls in front of them
- Sinks at 1.25 Inches Per Second
- Welded loops and warm climate ready!
The RIO InTouch Big Nasty Sink Tip fly line is the perfect fly line for streamer fishing. It doesn’t even matter if you have the best fly rod, this fly line is going to make up whatever you may be missing. You can find it for your rods ranging from 5-weight to 10-weight. It’s going to do what you ask of it and get down to the fish. For around $80, you’re getting a great deal.
- 30′ of Sinking Tip
- Welded front and back loops
- Density Compensation to ensure the line is going to sink straight
Best Smallmouth Bass Fly Line
If you need a smallmouth bass fly line, the Rio InTouch Gold Floating Fly line is a wonderful option. It’s a fly line that has been used by all types of anglers for years. The long head and back taper give you a great amount of control. You can make long casts as well as short casts. The best thing about this fly line is that it’s one of the most slick lines on the market! You won’t find a line that slides through your guides as easy. For $100, you’re in great shape for years.
- Weight forward line that’s great and easy to control
- Long head that allows you cast long distances (47 feet)
- You can find it for rods ranging from 5-weight to 9-weight
The Amplitude Fly Line from SA is one of the top fly lines for bass on the market. It’s another line that is extremely slick and flow through your guides well. SA built this line a half a line heavier to allow you to cast larger flies and turn them over to mend them. Keep in mind, however, that this line is rated for moderate and cooler climates! It’s not going to thrive in tropical areas. For $130, you’re making an investment, but it’s worth it.
- Shooting texture delivers long casts
- Floating technology is emphasized at the tip to keep your flies on the surface
- You can find it for 5-weight to 9-weight rods
Few companies make smallmouth bass specific line, but RIO took a chance and made one. Everything about this line is designed to help you land bass. The line is 100 feet long with the head length being 38′. The back taper is 7′, body is 24′ and front taper is 7′. This front taper is great for turning over large flies! At $90, you’re getting a great deal and specific fly line for you.
- Warm water coating
- Welded loops
- XS Technology for a super slick coating
Choosing the proper fly line for your bass fishing adventures can be a bit confusing. The research is necessary in order for you to be as successful as you possibly can be when targeting them. If you can get your fly where they’re feeding, you have a chance at landing them!