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Fly Fishing - What Do I Need To Know?

Hello,

I am considering taking up fly fishing, based on the UK and there seems to be done great local options. Any tips on good equipment or what to avoid? I am a total novice but really like the idea of it.
 
Fly fishing, fountain pens, and traditional wet shaving. Contemplative gentlemanly pursuits. Good for you.

Along with your actual fishing gear, make sure it's set up so you can practice in your back yard/garden. Technique is all important, and you'll want to practice that. When you're "fishing well" you can feel it.
 
Spend a lot of time fishing, fly fishing has never been my interest. How do you hold your beer, need a third hand? :001_tongu

Actually, my new employer is spending a lot of time training us non-fly fishing types how to succeed fly fishing so we can competently sell the right setup to a customer. Still prefer spin cast fishing though.
 
A potentially very deep rabbit hole. My advice would be to find someone local. They would know the specific equipment for the area, species. Narrowing it down will save money, headaches.
 
If there are any good rivers in your area then there will probably be an angling club nearby, and members of such bodies are often very keen to help novices. The one in my area runs special days for beginners. Another option is local stocked fisheries, the owners or staff of which are often willing to help out. On the web, Fly Fishing Forums is the place to go. The only danger with the latter is that some of the enthusiasts there are even more keen to spend your money for you than the good folk at B&B.
 
Is there a fly fishing shop nearby? If so, they can be of great help. Start out with an inexpensive balanced outfit. If you like it, you can buy better gear after a couple seasons. A good shop can explain the basics, show you casting technique, suggest water to fish, etc.
 
Lots of good suggestions thus far. Modern fishing equipment is much more flexible than older gear but it certainly still makes sense to buy the right set-up for your conditions. Have you tried visiting the local waterways and asking a fisherman for advice?
 
Spend a lot of time fishing, fly fishing has never been my interest. How do you hold your beer, need a third hand? :001_tongu

Actually, my new employer is spending a lot of time training us non-fly fishing types how to succeed fly fishing so we can competently sell the right setup to a customer. Still prefer spin cast fishing though.



LOL, that's about my thinking!

I'd suggest dynamite or a telephone ringer, plus lots of beer and/or whiskey.
 
I been fly fishing for 20 years and absolutely love it. Go to a fly fishing shop and cast a few different rods. Even if you've never cast before, you'll get an idea of what you like.
Don't go cheap. You don't need an $800 Orvis or Sage rod, but you don't want a $30 Walmart kit either. $150 rods are amazing and pretty decent quality. You can skimp on the reel, but not on the line.

There are tons of videos on youtube. I learned from VCR tapes.

Fly fishing is a sport that you can do for the rest of your life. I'm blessed to get 100 days on the river, and love every minute of it.

BTW, don't even think about fly tying. That's an entire different sport/art. Buy your flies for a few years before you think about it.
 

Esox

I didnt know
When it comes to learning fly casting, especially the short strokes you make with a locked forearm and wrist, a longer rod can be beneficial to learning the timing. Timing is critical between the forward and backward swings of the rod. I learned with a rod I custom made myself that was a 3 piece rod with the butt section of a 10 foot 5 weight fly rod, with another 5 weight fly rod for the top two sections for a total length of 16' 4" in a two handed spey configuration which you'll likely see a lot of fishing in the UK and around Europe.

The longer rod obviously lifts the line higher into the air so its easier to see and follow with your eyes, and easier to learn the timing. Combined with a lighter 5 weight rod, with a weight forward taper line, you'll also feel that weight much easier.

With my 16' Loomis rod and a weight forward 5 weight floating line, casting a deer hair hopper for Smallmouth Bass in the river here I could easily cast the entire line and even into the backing my first time out learning.

The "Single Haul" will likely come naturally, but learn the "Double Haul" as well. Once you hit the timing right, the line you have in the air will pull some remaining line right off the reel as the line rolls over and straightens out, from momentum alone.

Once you become adept at casting a line, and laying it on the water quietly, you can move up in weight for larger fish such as salmon, and down in weight for fish such as Crappie if you have them there. Great fun can be had with a 2 weight rod and little fish like Crappie and #16 dry flies lol.

There is a very large advantage to using a longer rod, which is why I built my 16' Loomis. When fighting larger fish, my entire rod bends, handle, cork and all. I can tie a 2lb Dai Riki IGFA class leader to something and bend my rod so that the butt touches the tip without breaking the leader.

See the Chinook Salmon below that at the time was an Ontario record at just over 45lbs, beating the standing record by over 2lbs. Caught, and then released, on a black #6 Wooly Bugger on the very same Dai Riki leader line. The force you can impart with a rod of that length and the leverage available to you, quickly tires big heavy fish, but tires your arm just as quickly. When I was fighting that salmon, the butt of the rod was in my left palm and I was pointing the butt directly at the fish. There was less than 1 foot of air between the butt end and the tip.

Unofficial Ontario Record Chinook Salmon.jpg

For a starting rod, I'd suggest a 5 weight rod, floating weight forward or "bullet" taper line, a reel with a smooth drag system or no drag at all, which is what I personally prefer as it allows you more control, a 10-12 foot 2 piece rod with sliding rings instead of a rear set reel seat. With the sliding rings you can change the location of the reel both for ease of use and balance. Neither of which you can do with a fixed position seat.

You'll also want to pick up a healthy supply of tapered leaders. As they wear, fray and break off, you can simply add a tippet to it with a blood knot. Tapered leaders help the leader roll over the same as the line itself does.

All the rest is practice, practice and more practice. Just remember, dont use your wrist. Keep your wrist locked and only swing using your elbow. Once you start you'll understand why quickly. When you use your entire arm, you're punching the line out there with a lot more force than by just using your wrist. Not to mention, your wrist will quickly tire.
 
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I've been fly fishing for about 20 or so years as well and one thing I've found to be more true in this sport than any others, you definitely get what you pay for. Goby hit the nail on the head with the advice about not spending thousands of dollars on a rod and reel. You can find some fairly decent used equipment on ebay... I picked up a Sage RPL 8 weight for $150 and retail was well over 600 a few years ago. But I had a nephew that was in a similar situation and we found a decent fenwick 6 weight rod and a used orvis 5/6 weight reel for about 60 bucks. He was able to put the extra money in line, backing and a few flies... I think by the time it was all said and done he might have had just south of 150 dollars (US). He has since developed a passion for it and is now saving up for the equipment he wants.
Where I live we don't have a lot of trout, so we're forced to fish for pan fish like bass, bluegill/brim and crappie.
Just remember one thing: Fly rods are specialized tools for different types of fish.
If you get into tying flies, learn from my fail, do NOT go cheap on a vise! I went through four (50 to 60 dollar range) vises before I broke down and bought a good one. I had problems with hooks sliding and moving when I didn't want them to.
 
Almost 40 years waving a fly rod has taught me this: an experienced angler with inexpensive gear can and will out fish a novice armed with the latest Sage/Orvis/Winston rod. Having said that, a cheap line is a waste of money. Most of the fish one hooks are 30 feet away. You do not have to cast from here to eternity. Learning to read the water is critical; fish are absent from most of it. You only need a handful of flies. In fact, a Mickey Finn, a Woolly Bugger, and a soft hackle will do 90% of the time.

Again, if there is a fly shop nearby, chat them up. If there is a local fishing club, connect.
 
I agree with the above, $150 rods are about the best. Figure out what weight you'll want, 5 wt. is a good general weight and research on the rest. Plenty of good information out their.
 
A lot of good info so far. As said, a very potential rabbit hole to dive into.
Try to find someone around you who can give you a intro on how to cast and then try to find a good reputable local store and buy a set there with rod line and reel that is fitted for the kind of fishing you want to go for.
Start out easy with a floating line and some spare leaders and a roll of tippet. Go with a standard set of wet and dry flies(you will probably lose a lot of flies to the threes at first) and get out and have some fun!

You can overdo flyfishing to absurd levels quite easy but it's really about keeping it simple in my opinion.
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
If you get into tying flies, learn from my fail, do NOT go cheap on a vise! I went through four (50 to 60 dollar range) vises before I broke down and bought a good one. I had problems with hooks sliding and moving when I didn't want them to.
Hear hear!
You do not have to cast from here to eternity.
Yeah ... but the chance to land Deborah Kerr keeps us trying!

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You can overdo flyfishing to absurd levels quite easy but ...

[thurstonhowwelIII] My dear boy, one must simply have a $3,000 split-cane rod, or else one is simply not doing it correctly and is obviously a Yale man![/thurstonhowelIII]
 
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