Of the many trout fly categories available nymphs are one of my favorites. They come in many shapes, styles and colors but they are mostly fished as a wet fly sinking the nymph down to the feeding fish.
Nymphs are used to mimic the natural waterborne nymph creatures that are available to trout in rivers and lakes. Nymphs usually resemble the water bound stage of a flying insect like mayflies and can be found in the water for up to 2 years. These nymphs like stone flies and mayfly nymphs hide under stones and scoot around near the river or lake bed. Then when the time comes to hatch they form cocoons and transform into winged creatures. They then take to the air and do their respective mating dance before dying and the cycle continues year on year. This transformation normally happens just under or out of the water like on a stalk of vegetation. (more…)
So you are new to fly fishing or thinking about taking up fly fishing. You have looked at magazines and seen the mountain of gear available and are completely baffled by what you should get. After all you don’t want to spent a lot of money on equipment only to find out you are not cut out to fly fish and want to give up.
Well you are in luck as we will check out what you need to start fly fishing and show the bare minimum to get you started and not break the bank. One option in starting is to look at fly fishing kits for beginners These kits have all of the equipment that is required to get you started. Before exploring what kits are available lets look at the equipment you will need.
A fly fishing outfit comprises of a fly rod, a fly reel, a fly line, backing line, leader material and flies. This is the bare minimum required, on top of that a cap or hat and a pair of sunglasses or eye protection is essential for your safety. Items of clothing and waders I would forget about for now as these are not essential and can be purchased when you feel you are prepared to take the sport to the next level. (more…)
One of the main groups of trout fly pattern is dry fly. These are tied with a bushy appearance sometimes with a split wing sitting tied in spinner style. A great material used on many patterns is CDC or cul-de-canard or duck’s bottom as it is close to the preen gland on the duck it is very buoyant and good to use on dry flies. As the name suggests the fly is to remain dry so floats on top of the water. Lets look at dry trout fly patterns the differences and how to fish them.
Some fly fishing anglers feel the pinnacle of fly fishing is the visual nature of dry fly fishing. You cast the fly it lands on the water you watch you fly move in the current and then you watch as a trout inhales your fly. This visual nature is very exciting and one that bring the fly fishing angler back again and again to fish. I have to agree it is a brilliant way to fly fish for trout or other species. (more…)
There are only two types of trout fishing flies light and dark within these there are many sub categories and types including dries, nymphs, sedges, midges, daddies, bumbles, and many more. One of the main groups and the one we are interested here in is wet trout fly patterns.
It would probably be accurate to say that wet fly fishing is the most practiced in the world. Beginners would normally start with these as they are easy to get used to and very attractive to fish so the catch rate is high. It would also be true to say that armed with only a few wet trout fly patterns can set you up for fishing a large number of species. (more…)
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Tackle – get your set up ready!
For the purpose of this post we will assume you are already set up with a balanced fly fishing kit. If not then check out this posts here how to setup your fly line to get you started. This is not a definitive list of the best fly fishing techniques but a list of things I believe any fly fishing angler needs to learn and practice to become competent in the sport.
Fly fishing casting – Perform them with grace
One of the main things to get right when fly fishing is the cast. Produce great delicate casts to present flies to trout and fish and you will have completed about 50% of the fly anglers program. Ones to learn well are the basic overhead cast, the snake roll, the roll cast and the single spey cast. With these four you will be well on your way to becoming a better fly angler and be able to cast to almost any target within any situation.
There are others that will get you of of trouble but I would recommend getting these four right from the start. It will assist you greatly if you can pay for some tuition or if you know a good consistent fly angler to ask for some help. It will speed up your progress and stop you getting frustrated when things are not going to plan. A lesson or two will not cost the earth but is well worth it when you consider the cost of loosing flies a damaging your fly fishing gear due to bad casting. (more…)
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Before we consider the best fly line for trout lets look first at what we should do to make sure we have the correct fly line for the task. There are so many ways to fly fish for trout that we need to look at these permutations before purchasing a fly line.
For example we can fish in rivers, still waters or the sea. The target species can be very different too as small lough trout on an Irish moorland would be slightly different to fly fish for than steelhead in a river or river returning sea trout on the Rio Grande. However for the purpose for this article lets consider fishing for brown trout in a river, rainbow trout in a lake and sea trout on the Rio Grande to help with some of those permutations. (more…)
Fly fishing on a still water is a lot different to fishing a river as the water in front of you is usually fairly motionless. On a river the flow of the river allows tension to be kept on the fly line to allow for easier casting. On a still water or lake this can be difficult with normal weight forward or double taper lines. This is why the manufacturer of shooting heads has been a welcome addition to the fly anglers kit. Shooting head lake fishing allows for the fly fishing angler to get extra distance from the shore or boat meaning they can cover more water with each cast. (more…)
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River fly fishing is completely different to lake, lough or other stillwater fly fishing. The main difference is the fact that in river fishing you have to deal with the flow of the river as stillwater as its name dictates is pretty motionless. There is the possibility of underwater currents and wind can make things interesting but for the most part lakes are motionless.
Rivers on the other hand have many features which make them more interesting (to me anyway) with the speed and flow of the river being the main one. To fish rivers properly takes a bit of working out. You need to look at the river flow what speed, direction and depths of the pools etc. All these factors will affect where the fish tend to lie. Water depth will also affect the prospective lies for fish entering a system like Salmon, Sea Trout and Steelhead entering from the Sea again. When conditions are dry and the water is low the fishing will be completely different to when the river is in spate and fish are moving through the system. (more…)
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As a beginner there are loads of things you need to learn to become a better fly angler. Apart from the initial setting up of your fly rod there are a list of things to consider to make your learning a bit smoother. After all what we want to do is catch fish and anything that can improve that is worth reading so here are my beginner fly fishing tips I hope you find them useful.
Above all, Learn to cast properly!
Put in some time practicing casts with the basic overhead and roll cast from the start. Perform casting drills and get accurate in your casting and you will improve your catch rate immensely. If you can afford it getting a few casting lessons from a properly credited casting instructor will speed up that process. Its very easy to take on bad habits at the beginning while trying to teach yourself from videos or books.
A casting instructor will be able to sort these out and get you on a better path to correct efficient casting a lot quicker than you can do it yourself. The better more efficient your casting the easier it becomes as you use less energy and can fish for longer without becoming fatigued. So its well worth doing a bit of practice before hand you will be happy you did.
When learning how to cast properly it’s important not to try and cast too far to early in the process. Learn to cast with accuracy and efficiency to the water closest to you before trying to reach 30 yards casts. That distance will come with time but there is a lot of water between the tip of your rod and a 30 yard cast and believe me it will hold fish so cast to them and work that water properly.
I see too many anglers trying for distance early in the process and getting frustrated because they are not adept enough to present quality casts to the fish at those distances but are making loads of splashing and disturbances which mean few to no takes. A big mistake. (more…)
When setting up your fly fishing rod one of the pieces that often seems to get missed or not correctly applied is the need for proper quality fly line backing. Some anglers have just put the fly line directly onto the reel and wondered why they lost their fish after a short burst down stream.
Others wondered why their fly line is sitting in coils on top of the water surface when it should be lying straight. Well I can tell you correct applied quality fly line backing will make for a more consistent cast and protect your rod and line from being broken by large fish that want to run.
The need for backing line is plain to see, you need to allow fish to run when they want to and the usual 30 yards of fly line will not allow a fish to run especially if it is a large species. I have had fish run 200 yards hoping they will stop before they hit the end of the line and not being able to do anything about it. (more…)
Polyleaders were developed originally by Airflo UK to help with casting turnover. Before they were developed hand made tapered leaders was probably the best way to get the energy from the cast to slow down to present the fly gently on the water.
However homemade tied tapered leaders don’t start with the same profile as the end of the fly line and can hinge when casting which is disastrous to your cast. That and the addition of extra knots into the fly leader setup makes for more problems that can occur. For a cast to be presented well you want it to unfold in the air and straighten out into a nice line as it lands on the water so the fly normally at the end of the leader lands with a gentle plop and not a smash as most often happens. With this you are presenting your fly in a way that will not spook timid trout and will increase your catch rate which is what we all want.
Polyleaders were designed on the same principle as fly lines consisting of a poly outer layer and a nylon core. They then measure at the thick end the same size diameter as the end of your fly line so the transfer of energy is smooth and the addition of ready attached loops makes the job of switching them a breeze. (more…)
In the last post we discussed some of the physical attributes of fly lines. These included color, density and weight. Fly lines have a lot more going on than these including front taper, head, back taper, belly, and running line. These characteristics are mostly to do with the aerodynamics of the fly line how it handles in the the air when casting etc. Some of these characteristics also effect the handling when in the water for retrieval etc we will discuss these and look at what types of line to look for when fishing different locations and water types.
The fly line is made from one continuous piece of core line covered with different layers of polymers to create the different densities of line. These polymers are laid down to create a thickening of the line as it progresses from the tip until its thickest part then it tapers down again until the end of the line. The differences in these tapers have been developed to produce new types of fly line. (more…)
In the last post we looked at the fly fishing reel which holds the fly fishing line. The fly line is the part that takes the flies out into the water so we can catch fish and trout. In traditional bait and spin fishing the line either monofilament, fluorocarbon or braid, is a lot thinner and more supple than the fly fishing angler line.
The fly line is usually much thicker, comes in many colors and is about 30 yards long. When correctly matched to the fly rod and reel the line allows us to cast our flies out onto the water with an action that lifts many yards of line at a time, forces it behind us and then out again onto the water.
This action called the overhead fly fishing cast is the basic form of fly fishing and the one most practiced. OK that’s the basics lets see what to look out for when learning how to trout fish with a fly rod using a fly line.
There are many permutations to fly line and this seems to increase every year as manufacturers come up with new enhancements for us to try on our favorite waterways and rivers. Fly lines come in different weights, colors, densities and multi-variations of the same. Lets look at these in order to discover the differences and how they can effect the fishing performance. (more…)
The next thing to consider in the building of our fly fishing kit is the fly fishing reel. This piece of equipment is required to hold the fly line. Truth be told we could fish without it but you would have a lot of fly line lying around your feet causing all sorts of mayhem with your casting so it is better to have the reel to contain the line and help us retrieve it without getting caught up in the vegetation along the riverside etc.
There are several options to think about when choosing the reel for your fly fishing. These include the size, the capacity, the material it’s made from, the tension mechanism, the color and spare spools. There are many reasons to pursue these features which we will go through in this post. (more…)
So in the last post we talked in general about trout fishing and what equipment is required to start off as a beginner. Now we shall go into more depth in each area so you can better understand the sport. In this post we shall discuss the differences in makes and models of trout fly rods.
First off each fly rod is stamped with a line rating on its butt section. This line rating is designed to allow you to match up the correct fly line and reel so the setup is balanced and suitable for casting properly.
Trout fishing is a great pass time and I find even better when using a fly fishing rod. Fly fishing is the sport of casting a fly using a fly rod out onto the water.
This is different than fishing with a spinning rod, bait rod or jerk rod as flies are tied using fur and feathers onto hooks and so don’t involve baits or spinners.
This is perfect for those who are a bit squeamish and don’t fancy hooking up bait onto hooks. So if you are intrigued lets go further and discover how to trout fish with a fly rod.
Trout are mainly a freshwater species and can be found all over the world in rivers and lakes. There are many different sub species including brown trout, rainbow trout, sea trout, brook trout, cutthroat trout, and many more.
Some trout species go to salt water for a few seasons returning to rivers to spawn and included in these are the sea trout and rainbow trout otherwise known as steelhead. As you can see from such a diverse species covering large areas and habitats there comes many forms of fishing for them.
When I first started fly fishing all those years ago there was no such thing as barbless hooks for trout fishing, well not that I noticed anyway. Most of your catches were kept back then however as time has progressed things have changed.
It is now more the norm to release your catch back into the ecosystem you caught it so future anglers will hopefully have the pleasure of partaking in the sport. The only thing that wasn’t kept back thirty years ago was the small under sized fish that were deemed by the fishing agencies to be returned.
When I think about it, some of the small trout I caught back then went back bleeding and probably swam off to die. Well I was only starting out back then and didn’t know anything about barbless trout flies. All the flies I tied were on fully barbed hooks as this was the norm. So my question is; barbless hooks are they good for fly fishing? Let discuss to see the differences.
Many tackle changes over the last thirty years!
Fly fishing in general has under gone many changes over the last thirty years. Tackle improves every year. Fly rods are much stronger and lighter, same with fly fishing reels. Fly lines are now made with poly-coated layers with braided cores and the terminal tackle, the flies, are now made with chemically sharpened points hooks. To top this off barbless trout flies now are more common.
The barb when first conceived was to hold the fish in place so it could not fall off the hook and escape. This was very important back when things got started as fishing was more of a necessity for feeding the family than a sport as it is today. (more…)
PRODUCT REVIEW: Fly Fishing Unleashed
WHO WOULD BUY THIS: Any beginners who are new to fly fishing or looking to learn how to fly fish.
How good of a fishing angler are you? You have the gear, the rod, the reel, the flies the lures, and the rest of the tackle to complete your setup. You are able to setup your fly line and attach the leader or can you? This is where so many anglers fail.
The process of tying knots becomes difficult and when tested under proper fishing conditions the gear fails and you loose fish. Not a great thing to happen especially if its a fish of a lifetime. This is where fishing knots illustrated comes in. Here we have a simple waterproof card system with the most important knots included.
There are many fly fishing lines on the market today made by many different manufacturers. If you do a search on Google you will come up with hundreds if not thousands of lines. For a beginner this is an overload of information and can lead to the incorrect purchase. Here we will consider the options available and show you how to choose a fly line suited to your needs.
If you have not already purchased a single handed trout fly fishing rod then you would need to consider that first as the line needs to match the rod and reel setup. In that instance you can purchase a ready made kit from a reputable dealer which can include all the items required to start out.
These are all made to match and balance the setup and are ideal for someone on a low budget. However if you can afford a little more I would recommend buying the items individually as you can still get bargains but items with more strength and options than in a basic kit.
The first important aspect is to match you line rating to the rod you have or are considering. Each rod now has a line rating stamped on the butt section usually above the cork handle on the first few inches of the rod itself.
This figure is put there by the rod manufacturer and is a guide as to which line the rod has been made to make it a balanced setup. (more…)