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Fly Fishing 101: The Knowledge and Gear to Get Going

Fly Fishing 101: The Knowledge and Gear to Get Going

It is said that fly fishing takes a moment to learn and a lifetime to master. This means you have the rest of your life to look forward to exploring rivers and streams mastering the nuances of fly fishing. Indeed, fly fishing is one of those great sports where all you need to do to be an angler is to fish. For the uninitiated, this can be a huge hurdle. Fly fishing can be as complex or simple as one wants to make it.

The basics of fly fishing are easy; You are throwing a fly into the water on a line propelled by casting a fly rod. Although that may sound quite simple, going from your couch to catching a trophy trout may seems like a fantasy. We’re here to help with a little fly fishing 101 tutorial. In this blog, we will outline some of the basics of fly fishing along with the gear, tools, and resources to get started.

Tools of the Trade

Dont believe the perception that fly fishing is only for an elite few. Anyone can enjoy the sport with some basic equipment.

Some of the core items needed to start fly fishing include:

  • Fly fishing rod
  • Fly fishing line
  • Flies
  • Waders
  • Boots
  • Reel
  • Vest
  • Net

To begin, invest in a good fly rod that will work on the water that you will be fishing and will last you a long time. A solid 4/5-weight is a good place to start. Consider something like the TFO Professional II Series, which is a four-piece rod for a good price.

A Rio Mainstream Trout Fly Line is a great line to get going with and pair with that new rod. And JAX offers a wide selection of flies to use. You can also consider tying your own flies, which is a fun way to catch fish and get creative.

Waders and boots are the core gear to safely get you out into rivers, lakes, and streams to catch fish in the wild. I use the Orvis Pro Wader and Pro wading boot combination, which is a great durable setup to take you anywhere. 

The reel holds the line and helps to cast and catch fish. Consider something like the Redington Behemoth or the Orvis Battenkill series to start. As far as a vest, this is a great investment to store your gear while on the water. Consider something like the Orvis Clearwater Fishing Vest to begin.

A net is invaluable when trying to land a fish. There are a variety of options, but something like the Promar Clear Trout Net will do the job. With this basic fly-fishing gear, you will be ready to hit the stream and catch some fish.

The Basics

Now that you have all the gear to get started, it is time to learn some of the basics of fly fishing.

The core of fly-fishing boils down to a good cast. While there are a variety of ways to cast in different conditions and locations, the best way to begin is with the basic overhead cast. You don’t even need a fly or a river to do this- go into your backyard or a park and cast. The basic 10 and 2-o’clock casting method is a good place to go from. Once you’ve mastered that basic cast it is time to tie on a fly and hit the water. Talk to local fishing shops and guides to get a sense of what flies are working where you are going.

Starting with a dry fly that floats such as a BWO or elk hair caddis with a dropper, a second fly trailing the first that sinks, like a prince nymph or zebra midge, is a great place to begin. Learn to mend the line, or roll it over, so that the current does not impact the drift of the fly and get a feel for patterning a stream by looking for rocks, riffles, and deep pockets where fish may be. Over time you will start to get a feel for the rhythm of fly fishing on a lake or river.

Helpful Resources

Talking or even fishing with more experienced anglers is a great way to grow your knowledge of the sport.

There are also a variety of books and resources out there today to help new fly fishers embrace the sport. Consider checking out the Little Red Book of Fly Fishing by Kirk Deeter and Charlie Meyers or the Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide by Tom Rosenbauer.

The internet can also be a great teacher as well, imparting helpful tips, tricks, and information. There are a lot of great blogs and videos out there. Check out Orvis’ free virtual fly fishing 101 online videos or its fly fishing blog posts. By absorbing as much information about the sport as possible you will be able to learn how to fly fish. The more you fly fish the better you will be, so why wait? Get out there now and get going with a fun new hobby.

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