A new product for us, and one we are really proud of, our
Silk Fly Lines - Made in Sheffield, UK
We decided to dip our toes into the world of specialist silk fly lines after spotting they were made in Yorkshire, so we contacted Ian Moxon (the maker) and asked if we could supply them alongside our cane rods, and he agreed - so here they are.
These silk lines have been designed and made with a 'fine tip' which effectively means they have a very thin 'built-in' furled leader, so you just attach a level piece of tippet to the end.
So, why would you use a silk line then? We're glad you asked:
- They have mo memory - completely limp
- There's no stretch - improved hookups
- They are denser than plastic fly lines and therefore much thinner; and
- Thinner lines mean much less wind resistance
- They float better than plastic fly lines - they float on the water surface, not in it making roll casts and mending line much easier
- You get 3 lines in one; When fully greased it's a floating Line, grease everything except the tip and you have a midge-tip line, don't grease it and you have an intermediate/sinking line.
- They can last a lifetime - so long as they are cared for and stored correctly a silk line can last a lifetime - and indeed will get better with age
*** Each of our Silk lines are shipped with a handy box (to keep them in when not on the reel), a microfibre cloth (to clean/help dry them) and full line care instructions ***
Ian has also included some of his Artificial Silk lines in our latest batch, all of the qualities of silk, but much less maintenance (and cost) - check them out below!
These lines are made in the UK (in Sheffield, Yorkshire to be precise), by Ian Moxon - images of each of the lines are towards the end of this page:
"I am a Lawyer by trade and, perhaps as a consequence of the digital age, I've been more drawn towards traditional angling. Many years ago I started making my own split cane fly rods. The right line for a split cane rod is a silk fly line - the two go together wonderfully well (they feel like fly fishing should feel - amazing!). The right fly line can make a nice rod come alive - and the opposite is also true. Making my own silk fly lines has, therefore, been a natural progression from my rod making. An early inspiration for handcrafting fishing tackle was a neighbour - Stan Shaw, who was a local Cutler specialising in pen knife making.
It's my opinion that, as anglers, we are guardians of the natural riverbank environment and, as such, every effort should be made to integrate our angling enjoyment with mother nature. I've seen my local river Don transformed from a polluted ditch into a beautiful river full of wildlife, through the efforts of a small number of like-minded individuals. I feel that fishing with a plastic rod and line goes against that and is a step in the wrong direction. When we work with mother nature, rather than against her, the results are always much better. For example, bamboo (mother nature's carbon fibre) just so happens to make superb fishing rods - and silk (also an environmentally sustainable product) makes excellent fly lines.
Starting up making split cane (bamboo) rods was relatively easy because the equipment needed is relatively inexpensive and there is an abundance of information publicly available. Unfortunately, the opposite is true when it comes to making silk fly lines. It's taken me several years and many thousands of pounds of expense to get to the point where I am now.
Much of the silk that arrives in my workshop is in the form of skeins of raw reeled silk in 20/22 denier (the silk for silk fly lines is very different to silk sewing thread). Silk is available in different grades and "reeled" is the best quality!. The skeins are then washed (to remove the sericin), wound into the correct counts, braided into fly lines (tapers are created by braiding) and loose ends trimmed and burnt. The braided silk lines are then vacuum impregnated with traditional varnish (which I make myself) and finally hand polished.
A lot of my fly fishing is on the river Don system around South Yorkshire (a largely urban river system). Much of that fishing is smaller stream water and I've applied my bit of expertise in that type of fishing to the design of my lines. I've not copied anyone else's tapers.
There are only a handful of us around the world making these traditional fly lines, which is a great shame. Probably the best silk fly lines in the world are made by a guy in Japan called Koji Yano. Koji is, I suppose, my silk fly line idol and one day my lines will be up there with his. I'd urge anyone interested in buying their first silk fly line to check out Koji's website here, as his skill and exquisite lines are a true inspiration to any fly angler. Whilst I cannot, yet, promise anyone a silk line of Yano quality, I can promise a silk line that is carefully handmade, will cast well and catch fish.
There are advantages to using a silk fly line. Silk fly lines tend to be thinner than their plastic counterparts, especially in the tips, allowing better presentation of small flies. Indeed, most of my silk fly lines are so thin at the tips, no furled leader or other attachment is required or recommended, other than the angler's own nylon leader. Silk fly lines, with care, can last many years, in fact, I have a line made in 1920 which is still going strong today. Silk lines also tend to get better with use, rather than deteriorate like their plastic cousins." - Ian Moxon, 2021
Here are some images of Ian's Silk Fly Lines:
Level 'Robinson' Line
Level silk line (“Robinson lines”). 12 metres long by 1mm thick. White colour. On the old scale, these would have been a thick D or a thin E. AFTM equivalent #4. No loops fitted. Standard finish.
DT3 - Gold
Traditional oil-finished silk 19-metre line. Hard finish. Fine tips. No loops fitted. Yellow.
DT3/4 Artificial Silk - Grey
Artificial silk fly line. DT 3/4 (25 yards). Grey with brown crisscross. Loops attached. These lines are a halfway house between a plastic fly line and a silk line. They are made from filament polyester – braided and then finished in the traditional way (hard finished). These lines do not need to be dried out after use, but do need to be greased prior to use.
DT3/4 Artificial Silk - Ivory
Artificial silk line. DT 3/4 24 metre line. Oil finish. Traditional taper with “thick tips” (thick tips are 50% diameter of the belly). Loops fitted. Each line comes with a braided silk extension leader for fine presentation of flies. These lines do not need to be dried out after use but do need to be greased prior to use.
DT3/4 - Red
Traditional oil-finished silk 22 metres. Colour red. Fine tips. Loops fitted.
DT4 - Olive/Dark Olive Criss-Cross
Traditional oil-finished silk 22-metre line. Fine tips. Loops fitted. Oil finish. Olive/ dark criss-cross. One of these lines is a bicolour (one end darker than the other).
DT4 - Pink/Red Criss-Cross
Traditional oil-finished silk 22-metre line. Fine tips. Loops fitted. Oil finish. Pink/red criss-cross. These lines are newly finished.
DT4/5 - Green/Dark Green Criss-Cross
Traditional oil finished silk 22 metre line. “Heavy four weights”. Green with dark criss-cross (one of the lines is a bicolour – one end green and other end brown). Oil finish. Fine tips. Loops fitted.
DT4/5 - Brown
Traditional oil-finished silk 22 metre line. “Heavy four weights”. Loops fitted. Brown with darker criss-cross. Oil finish.
DT5 - Pink/Red Criss-Cross
Traditional oil-finished silk 26 metre line. Oil finish. Lovely gradual tapers and fine tips. Loops fitted. Pink/red criss-cross. Nicest lines I’ve made in a while – beautiful.
DT5 - Dark Red Criss-Cross
Traditional oil-finished silk 18-metre line. Oil finish. Fine tips. Loops fitted. Darker reds in a criss-cross pattern. I made this shorter line for myself but will let it go due to demand.
We currently have these lines in stock and ready to dispatch. Generally, if you order in the morning you will have your line the very next day (assuming you're in the UK of course). As usual, we ship all our orders free of charge to anywhere in the world.