The best saltwater fly line will have your back in these weighty situations. It should take the strain of the heavier gear and lift some of the pressure off your shoulders, so you can focus on catching the fish of your dreams.
If you’re looking for the best fly line overall then be sure to check out our post here. To complete your set-up we also have recommendations for the best saltwater fly reels and best saltwater fly rods here.
|RIO DirectCore Flats Pro Saltwater Fly Line||Check Today's Price|
|Scientific Anglers Grand Slam Amplitude Saltwater Fly Line||Check Today's Price|
|Rio Elite Tarpon Saltwater Fly Line||Check Today's Price|
Our Best Saltwater Fly Lines
RIO DirectCore Flats Pro Saltwater Fly Line
- Type: Floating
- Taper: Weight Forward
- Weight: 6-12 wt
- Length: 90ft
- Color: Aqua/Orange/Sand
Rio’s new DirectCore Flats Pro Saltwater Fly Lines come in every line weight plus in a sinking, sink tip, and intermediate option. These saltwater fly lines offer enough versatility for every fish you might want to target across their weight selection from bonefish, redfish, stripers, tarpon, permit, and GTs.
I’ve used this saltwater fly line a lot on the flats of Seychelles and it is made with an angler in mind.
This fly line makes it quick and easy to load your rod and push a good amount of distance which is a great help when you have to make a fast cast to put your fly in front of a fish you have comed the ocean to search for.
Within these saltwater fly lines is a strong and low stretch core which is ideal when trying to push a hook through the hard mouth of a striped or GT. The low stretch means with every strip set you do, more pressure is going into the hook to hopefully ensure you stay connected to your catch.
This fly line is also made with a weight-forward taper that is designed specifically to turn over large flies, and into the wind, which is typically the type of shots you’ll be making when on the flats.
- Perfect for most saltwater fly fishing species
- Low stretch core material for solid hooksets and putting pressure on big fish
- Tapers are built for long, quick, accurate casts
- Comes in a line weight for every species
- Low memory even in tropical conditions
- Comes with a clear stealth intermediate sink tip option ideal for stripers
Scientific Anglers Grand Slam Amplitude Saltwater Fly Line
Best For Casting
- Type: Floating
- Taper: 6-12wt
- Weight: Weight Forward
- Length: 90 feet
- Color: Pale Yellow/Sand/Horizon
The Grand Slam Amplitude Saltwater Fly Lines are made for life on the ocean.
Typically when saltwater fly fishing you don’t have much time to make your casts as species such as bonefish or permit will often appear out of nowhere. If you don’t get a shot off quickly and accurately, the fish swims by without seeing your fly.
You don’t get many chances out there so you have to make the first one count.
This fly line is made for these situations. It will load your fly rod quickly and the low friction coating ensures maximum distance with minimum false casts. You’ll be able to punch into the wind, turn over big flies, and quickly pick up your line to make a second shot.
On the front of these fly lines is a special texture for maximum floatation, which is key when fishing on a shallow-water flat. The last thing you want is the tip of your fly line to sink and spook a bonefish.
- A special floating textured material on the tip for max-floatation
- Textured low friction running line material for long casts
- Heavy core for fighting big fish like tarpon
- Helps you make accurate casts for spooky fish like bonefish
- Loads a fly rod quickly, punches through the wind and turns over big flies
- Survives well in tropical conditions
Check out our full Scientific Anglers Fly Line Reviews here for a full breakdown of the best fly lines by Scientific Anglers.
Rio Elite Tarpon Saltwater Fly Line
Best For Tarpon
- Type: Floating
- Taper: Weight forward
- Weight: 9-12wt
- Length: 100 ft
- Color: Tricolor
The Rio Elite Tarpon Saltwater Fly Fishing Line is made for easy casting in a time of need. When on the search for large species, you may not get many opportunities, typically just one or two in a day.
You need to make as many of them count as much as possible, and this fly line is designed to help you.
This fly line will load your fly rod quickly for a fast and accurate first cast at a passing fish. It’s great if you, the angler, can ensure the first cast counts, but often you’ll get one more chance at the same fish, and this line is made for that.
The long back taper on the fly line lets you pick it up off the water and go again with ease, so you can take as many shots as the fish you’re targeting allows, and hopefully improve your hook-up and success rate.
The core on these saltwater fly lines is thick for putting pressure and lifting fish like tarpon at the end of a fight. It’s also a low stretch line giving you a better connection for increased hook-up rate on your strip sets.
These fly lines come in every weight from 9-12 which covers bonefish, redfish, stripers, tarpon, permit, GTs, and sailfish. The fly lines also come with a tricolor system that denotes lengths, so when your guide says cast 50ft at 11 o’clock, you have a reference point to go on.
If you’re looking to get out fly fishing for tarpon then check out our full Tarpon Fly Fishing Techniques post
- Long back taper for fast 2nd shot casts often need with saltwater species
- Direct low stretch core material for punishing hook sets
- Low friction slick cast coating for pushing long lines
- Triple colored for knowing your casting distance
- Strong core for handling large saltwater species
- Turns over large flies and punches into the wind with ease
What type of fly lines are best for saltwater fishing?
Every seasoned saltwater fly angler will have a different opinion about this. Certainly, in my experience, the main type of fly line you’ll be using when saltwater fly fishing is a floating line.
When wade fishing the flats, you’re usually in shallow water up to about knee or thigh and there is no need for intermediate or sinking lines.
See also our post on the Best Sinking Fly Line here.
Intermediate and sinking lines do come into play though when anglers start chasing permit, poons, snook, and stripers in deeper water. Often an intermediate sinking clear tip line does the job.
When stripers are offshore or feeding deep, a sinking, sink tip, or fast sinking intermediate lines might be what you need to get your fly into the right depth of water.
Which lines should you choose?
My advice to all anglers out there is to own at least one sink tip, intermediate, and sinking so you have a selection of lines in your bag just in case you need them. Then have a few floating lines as your standard, one for each rod at a minimum.
Check out our post here on Fly Fishing with Sinking Line fore more in-depth guide.
What weight fly line is right for which saltwater species?
Your line weight should match your fly rod, to begin with, and your rod should then match the species you’re targeting.
For bones, redfish, and stripers, an 8wt is perfect. You’ll have enough power to punch into the wind, turn over small and large flies, but no too much power that your line slaps the water a scares the fish.
When permit, snook, or trigger fishing a 10wt is ideal. These fish grow pretty large or require stopping in the case of triggers, so you may need the strength of the fly line core and rod to handle them.
When it comes to the search for giants such as tarpon, GTs, roosterfish, and sailfish, nothing less than a 12wt will do. You’ll be fishing huge flies that need a heavy line to turn over and be presented well in the water. The core on a 12wt line can also be up to 80-100lbs which gives you a lot of stopping power when fishing for these huge creatures with fly lines.
For more selection on fly line weights see the following reviews:
- Best 3 Weight Fly Line
- Best 4 Weight Fly Line
- Best 5 Weight Fly Line
- Best 6 Weight Fly Line
- Best 7 Weight Fly Line
- Best 8 Weight Fly Line
See also our How to Clean and Care for a Fly Line for a complete guide on taking care of your fly lines.
I’ve spent many years guiding anglers on the flats of Seychelles in search of their fish of a lifetime. Picking the right saltwater fly lines for the occasion is important, for your guide’s sake, please arrive prepared.
I would happily fish with all the fly lines in the selection above and my honest opinion is that you should own a small selection of them in each line weight that will match each rod you own.
They each offer something good and different from each other, and it’s best to try each line on your fly rod and pick which one suits you.
Gun to my head, I’d fish the Flats Pro lines for every small species such as bonefish and permit, as it has great accuracy, control, and distance. I’d then pick the Rio Tarpon lines for my 12wt so I could put pressure on big GTs and sailfish plus have a chance at a second shot with ease when needed.
Thanks for reading my article, I hope you have confidence in these fly lines now and are ready to ensure your search for your dream fish count as much as possible. A final tip – never lift your rod, keep on stripping to you hook him.