Fly Fishing For Beginners
Updated: Mar 24
Fly Fishing is a pastime since the dawn of humanity, but most people have never tried!
Today's the day that all changes!
Fly Fishing has been around since the 2nd century when the Romans would cast actual flies into the water. This is according to Claudius Aelianus (175 AD-235 AD), who may have wrote the first book on fly fishing, De Natura Animalium. Most of these ancient practices are still used today for most anglers (while we use more articifical things for fishing compared to natural elements). Even in today's world, there's a fascination with fly fishing. Some movies even depict the art of the perfect cast, drift, and catch.The most popular of these films would probably be the early era Brad Pitt film, A River Runs Through It.
Now, if you're nervous that you won't be able to understand the complexities of fly fishing, don't let that scare you. After you get some proper gear, learn a few basic techniques, and understand the difference between wet and dry flies, it's not only easy, it's addicting!
Check out out Kijaro Journey Series episode on fly fishing!
The first time you head to the river, all you really need is a rod, reel, line, leader, tippet, and a fly. Lucky for you, a lot of stores that sell fly fishing gear will sell most of these in a bundle so you don't have to buy things separately.
However, it's important to point out that you want to get good gear from the get-go. It'll last a longtime if you take good care of it and the quality time you spend fishing will be a much better experience and performance. The same logic is applied when buying any outdoor gear, like our Kijaro Dual-Lock. Never settle for less!
You can also buy some other equipment like a vest to hold your flies and other tools that are helpful when heading to the water. Again, some of these tools might seem overwhelming and understanding the terminology could be new to you, but it's no different than bringing a tackle box to the water with different gear. Be prepared!
Below are some examples of the gear you would need:
This is like traditional fishing line. While the leader is strong and thick to help with casting and hold larger fish, it's a little too big at times to tie a fly directly on a leader. Otherwise a fish, like a trout, could see the line and get spooked. This is your main fishing line.
Tippet is monofilament fishing line that is tied to the leader. The tippet is also where you attach your fly. The tippet is the thinest gauge of fishing line on your set, which makes it harder for the fish to see, and easier to glide through the water.
It looks like fingernail clippers, and essentially operates in the same way. Nippers are meant to cup whatever line, leader, and tippet with more accuracy.
This is what the fly fishing world calls bobbers. More preciously, when a fish strikes at the fly, it indicates there's a bite. With a line, leader, and tippet, it's sometimes hard to notice is you have a bite (especially as a beginner).
Forceps help with a lot of things, but most anglers use it for getting the hook out of the fishes mouth without causing as much damage to the fish as pliers. This is especially important if you're doing catch-and-release fishing.
After you have a fish on your line, it takes a lot of tension off your rod if you have a net to get your fish. Rubber nets work best with fish like trout and salmon, and it's become an industry standard.
After a long day on the water you need a break. Perhaps you just need to take a breather for a few minutes between casts. Bringing a chair can add so much relief to a long day of wading in the water. Get one for yourself today!
Head To The Water
Now that you have all that you need, it's time to head to the water. You could buy some books and learn casting techniques in your backyard, but full immersion is the best way to learn.
There are different casting methods to know, and it's good to learn some of those while you're on the water, from the overhead cast to the roll cast.
Practice Makes Better
After spending more and more time on the water, you'll learn to get your cast into a swing you're comfortable with, you'll start catching more and more fish. After learning all the basics with your gear, you'll want to familiarize yourself with different flys--the bait that resembles a fly, insect, or larva.
There are two types of flies. Dry and wet. Dry flies float on the water and wet flies sink below. Wet flies resemble larva and bugs that live there like leeches, crawfish, larva, nymphs, hatching flies, and many more. Dry flys imitate bugs that land on the water, like flys, rodents, bees, and other insects.
It takes practice to find out what the fish are biting on any given day and any given season. Some people will lift up a rock along the river to see what bugs and larva are hiding there. That gives you a good indication of what to use when you begin your day on the water.
Just Have Fun!
Our final tip is to relax, have fun, and don't get too serious if things aren't going perfect at first. Remember, there's experienced anglers who have bad days fishing, too. Sometimes you just need to step back, sit down for a few minutes, eat a sandwich, and think about how and what you're casting. There are so many other elements you can learn about fly fishing including where to stand in a river and how to tie your own flies. But don't let these things burden you. You have your whole life to learn the craft of fly fishing!
From fishing, hiking, exploring, to just relaxing in the backyard or sports game. Bring comfort with you on every adventure. Journey on...