At some point, every die-hard angler gives a thought to the ancient art of fly-fishing. Are there any sports more conducive to finding your zen among nature? More so, is there any better way to pass the day than on the river? Countless fishermen find fly-fishing to be a distracting alternative to the hustle of everyday life. So much so, that they never flirt with other forms of fishing again.
Of course, that’s not usually the assessment of aspiring anglers who make their first attempt. Getting started with fly-fishing can be a bit of an aggravating experience. Thus, this often results in annoyance which is the opposite of what you were hoping for. Here’s a how-to guide to fly-fishing that will help ease your mind of any uncertainty about trying to fly fish for the first time.
Materials You’ll Need To Get Started Fly fishing
- A fly-fishing rod
- A fly-fishing reel
- Fly-fishing line
- Fly-fishing tippet
- A small selection of flies
Step One: Find A Pawn Shop
As previously mentioned, just about every angler tries fly-fishing at some point, but not all of them stick with it. Fly-fishing gear can be expensive when bought new. So try to find some used equipment to minimize your costs when starting. As such, pawn shops can have a selection of fly-fishing gear. You’ll be amazed at the high-end fishing equipment that can be purchased at a discounted price.
Step Two: Get The Knack
If you’ve got some room in your backyard or live on a quiet street, you can get the feel for the back cast needed for fly-fishing. Thus, working a fly rod is a combination of motions similar to a bullwhip and lassoing a target. You have to gain momentum to make the fly at the end of the line move to your desired target. As you can imagine, it can take several forward and back casts to become comfortable casting a fly. Furthermore, beginners should not get discouraged with their first attempts, as it is not the easiest skill in the world to master.
Naturally, there are plenty of training tutorials, how-to guides, and other gizmos on the market that can help you learn how to fly fish. The truth of the matter is that fly-fishing, like any activity, requires a lot of repetition. Moreover, if you hope to get good at it, practice makes perfect. Watching videos can show you what your technique and form should look like from a seasoned professional.
Step Three: Find A Spot That Isn’t Popular
When fly-fishing for the first time, it’s best to avoid popular fishing areas with other anglers present. Start in an area that’s secluded to get the hang of casting with a slacked fishing line and tippet required for your new sport. Hence, this can be achieved by finding an area with about 30 feet of space where you will not feel judged by other anglers. Picking out a spot in advance will also help you decide if you’ll be needing gear that isn’t listed above. Will you need a set of waders? How about a float tube? Are the bugs awful? If so, you’ll need bug spray. Some preplanning can save you many headaches in the long run.
Step Four: Give It A Shot
Alright, so you’ve found a nice, quiet spot. While it might not be the best fishing hole, it’s idyllic. There are numerous ways to cast a fly line; however, the overhead cast is the easiest when learning how to maneuver a fly rod. Although a tricky skill to gauge when starting, anglers should learn how to “load” the line. Nevertheless, this refers to the tension of the line and rod to cast a fly. Position your body into a comfortable stance with your feet spread a knee-length apart to stabilize yourself.
To get started, hold the rod by the grip with your thumb extended and fingers resting underneath to support the rod. At this point, the rod should be pointing up and the reel aiming towards the ground. Thus, when starting an overhead cast, pull out approximately 10 feet of line, ensuring that the line and tippet don’t get tangled. Launch the rod forwards and backward, maintaining the motion of the line in the air but, adding more fishing line in the process. Finally, when you are ready to release the line, cast the rod forward overhead while accelerating the line at your desired target. It’s important to note that the line will not be straight when it hits the water, and will uncoil as it navigates through the current.
Step Five: Don’t Give Up
When your first outing wraps up, you may conclude that fly-fishing is impossible and frustrating. Do not give in to this negative thought, at least not yet. With enough time and practiced repetition, even the clumsiest of us can learn to fly fish. Keep after it, and eventually, it will be as fun as it looks when other anglers snag a salmon or trout from the river.
The Last Word
As a final thought, it’s probably worth adding that some of the best training aids out there are not the obvious ones. Believe it or not, one of the best training aids for new fly anglers is the film A River Runs Through It. The producers of this film spent a great deal of time and energy teaching the actors to look just right while they were fishing. Brad Pitt, and Tom Skerritt, have perfect form in this flick. If you’re looking for someone to imitate, you could do far worse than to mimic the most famous fly-fishermen out there. Good luck and good fishing.