How to get started in fly fishing?
Many fishermen, at least once in their lives, think of trying out fly fishing, however, they encounter numerous questions and not all of them can be answered easily. This creates an illusion that this type of fly fishing is incredibly difficult and the fisherman gives up on it before even trying. The reality, however, is different – fly fishing is far from being as mysterious or hard to achieve as it may seem to be. All you need is a little bit of time and determination, everything else is within an arms reach!
Now, that does not mean that your first cast will be perfect, they won’t be. However, there is nothing stopping you from improving, as the flow of information as well as equipment nowadays is massive. In some countries outside of the US, the notion of fly fishing is somewhat surrounded by a wall of smoke, which discourages many fishermen. It is time to blow this wall up! Here you will find a lot of the essential information you need to get started in fly fishing.
What is fly fishing?
One of the main differences between fly fishing and basically any other type of fishing is the fact that instead of the weight of the lure carrying the line forward, it is the weight of the line that carries the fly forward. The weight of the line itself allows casting incredibly light flies to relatively long distances.
Much like lures, flies come in a variety of different sizes and colours and they usually imitate different kinds of bugs during all stages of their lives as well as small baitfish. There was a time in history when using actual live bugs as bait for fly fishing was popular, however, that has since died out and only traditional flies are used. Tying them is yet another part that cannot be separated from fly fishing itself, however, that is a topic for another time.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the line, not the weight of the fly carries it forward, which means extremely light flies can be used while fly fishing.
How to start?
Picking up fly fishing on your own without any prior consultation from those with experience can be very difficult. To find useful, concrete information on the internet is time consuming and far from easy. However, you don’t need to have friends that fly fish in order to get into it! Probably the best thing you can do is visit a local fly shop. However, it is important to note that it should be a fly shop rather than just a fishing store that has some fly fishing equipment. People who work in larger fishing stores may know a lot about the items that they’re selling but may lack the local know-how on fly fishing that you need so much when getting started.
Meanwhile, the small local fly shops usually have true fly fishing enthusiasts working there, moreover, you will often meet the owners themselves either working or spending their time there, always ready to spit some knowledge. Don’t feel like you must leave with empty pockets if you come with a couple of questions. Spending a fortune at the fly shop is not a must and the people working there will more than likely be happy to help regardless if you are looking to buy or not. These shops aren’t large, multi-million dollar businesses that only care about your money. So don’t be shy to ask, just make sure to visit a local shop rather than a large chain if you want answers! It is more than likely that the people working there will be happy to have the opportunity to introduce a new person to fly fishing.
Another massive pro to visiting a local shop is local knowledge, with local being the key word here. There is plenty of information on the internet, however, a very small portion of it will be accurate when it comes to fishing in your area, and finding the right information is a struggle. A struggle you can avoid by asking the local fisherman to share their knowledge and what better place to find local fly fisherman than the fly shop. That’s where you’ll learn of the best flies to use, the best rod weight to get and all other relevant info.
Your first fly rod
Choosing your first Renkantis pirmąją fly rod is an important decision in the life of every fly angler. Often it comes down to the budget when making the choice, as you can get fly combos from bargain apps for as cheap as 30$ and they can be over 1000$ when looking for a top of the shelf, premium maker combo, with plenty of others being in between.
When buying a cheap combo you need to be aware of the fact that you will most likely want to get a new, better one after a few fishing trips, however, it is a great, cheap way to get a taste of fly fishing and decide if you want to stick with it. At the very least, you will want to replace the line, since the ones that come with the cheap combos are rarely if ever any good.
If you have a little bit more spare change in your pocket you can opt to go with a quality combo from a reputable manufacturer such as “Vision” or “Orvis”. A good combo will set you back around 300-400$ but it will not feel inferior or lacking in any way and the only reason you will be getting a new rod in the future is because you want to try out a different length of weight.
By now you might be asking yourself, why a combo? Why not build one myself? The answer is simple, let’s take a Vision Solina combo as an example. The combo costs 298 Euro or just about 335$ and includes a quality rod, one of the best fly lines in the market and a decent reel to go with it. If you were to combine a similar set yourself, it would set you back at least 450$ (Vision Vapa Rod – 200$, Vision Kalu Reel – 140$, Vibe 85+ Fly Line – 95$, leader+running line – another ~10-15$).
As you can see, picking a fly combo simply makes a lot more sense financially.
Regardless of which option you choose, a cheap Chinese set or a quality combo, you will now be ready to head to the river!
The first casts
Spoiler alert – your first casts won’t be perfect. Keep your head up, a little bit of practice and the leader will start straightening out by itself, the casts will become longer and more flies will end up in the water instead of the bushes. If you have never tried casting a fly rod before, it is recommended to spend a few hours on the lawn instead of the river practising your cast. Spend an hour after work for a few days, trust me, you will save your flies, your combo, and your nerves that way.
Once again, you can find plenty of information about casting on the Internet and this time the knowledge does not have to be local, as casting techniques are pretty much universal. Listen to the experts talk on casting and try to replicate everything as best as you can.
During your first fishing trip or two, focus on casting rather than catching fish. Do so and you will thank me for it later when you start catching biggies with flawless technique.
Time to act!
The information you’ve found here should be enough to get started in fly fishing. Of course, endless topics have been left uncovered but the answers will start coming to you once you get going and if you still have questions afterwards, make sure to visit that little fly shop near to where you live!