The best fly lines for salmon fishing, with Chris Hague
Want to make this your best fishing season yet? Here, fly-fishing legend Chris Hague shares his favourite lines for salmon fishing – and how they’ve led to some truly impressive catches.
When I reflect over the past few salmon fishing seasons, I put a lot of my success down to Guideline’s 3D+ and 4D Multi Tip fly lines. Sure, there are some other great lines on the market – but the Guideline 3D+ and 4D lines are what changed the game for me. If I hadn’t been using these lines, I know my fish return would have been a lot less.
I use the 3D+ lines if I’m going to be predominantly fishing at one depth for long periods of time. Thanks to its depth, the S3/S5/S8 density has been responsible for an impressive number of fish, both early and late in the season. If you need to get deep quickly, this is the line for the job. But it’s not just about going deep – the 3D+ lines cover a huge range of depths, starting with float, hover and intermediate all the way down to the S3/S5/S8 lines, meaning you can locate fish no matter what depth they’re hiding in.
The angle that these lines sink at is what sets them apart from other lines on the market. It never seems to get snagged on rocks, it fishes directly into the fish’s face, and the low-stretch construction means its strike detection is superb. Plus, because these lines sink in three densities, you’ve got absolutely zero slack in the system – unlike a lot of other sinking lines. It casts effortlessly, and its pre-welded loops mean it’s incredibly easy to use. I generally pair the 3D+ with Guideline’s Compline II Flat Shooting Line, and it shoots superbly. You don’t need to add any further tips to the line – just connect the loops, and away you go!
Guideline 4D Multi Tip
If I’m fishing at a few different depths, I use Guideline’s 4D lines. With the multiple tips, it’s so easy to quickly swap one tip for another and go shallower or deeper as the situation demands it. The bodies and tips are what makes this line so versatile. It’s a great option for taking on trips when you don’t know the water very well – you’ve got all your bases covered. I recommend carrying all the different tips with you, so you’re ready for any depth. I also carry the full range of bodies, which allows me to speed up or slow down the swing of the fly.
The only downside for me with these lines is that, when you're landing fish, the junctions between shooting line to body and tip to body clunk a little when it’s passing through the rod guides – but it’s a small price to pay for the amount of fish you land. I run trips to Iceland on a regular basis and this is my go-to line, and it’s the line I advise my clients to use. It casts like a Skagit line and goes out an extremely long way with very little effort. Just like the 3D+ lines, the bodies and tips come with pre-welded loops, so changing them is super easy. The bodies come in a range of densities, from float all the way up to S3/S5, and the tips themselves range from float to S5/S7, making sure every column of water is covered. Once again, I pair it with the Compline ll Flat Shooting Line, but it performs equally well with Guideline’s Tapered Shooting Line.
A winning combo
I think carrying a combination of both the 3D+ and the 4D lines has been the main reason for my high catch rates. Because I fish in different rivers each season, these lines give me great versatility. I also know that wherever I turn up to fish – at any river anywhere in the world – I’ll always have a line that gets me to the water column level I need to be at. Salmon fishing isn’t cheap – so when you get the chance to fish some prime water, you need to make sure you’ve got the correct kit ready to make the most of your time on the water. And, in my humble opinion, these are two of the best salmon fishing lines I have ever used.
To get your hands on these game-changing lines, check out the Guideline range at johnnorris.co.uk. For technical advice about which lines are best suited to the water you intend to fish, give them a call – one of their experienced members of staff will be more than happy to help.
Words by Chris Hague, from the Guideline Pro Team. Chris is an FFI Double & Single Handed Master Casting Instructor and an FFI International Ambassador.