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Fishing with a Fly Fishing Rod – A Beginners Guide


When I was a young lad aged ten years old I was given my first fly rod for my birthday. I was so excited I had always wanted to learn to fly fish and now I had the chance. I took out all the pieces and put them together in the back garden very carefully and loaded the reel onto the rod. I made my way to the river that ran within a few hundred meters from our house with my dad.

There he instructed me for the next few hours on how to perform the overhead cast. By the end of the lesson I was able to get out about fifteen yards of line from the end of the rod which to me was a good cast. It was not long before I was able to go fly fishing for trout with my mates and catch brown and sea trout for my mum to cook.

At a young age I could see the potential to having loads of fun with my fly rod and getting out in the great outdoors always appealed to me so from then I was hooked, ūüôā¬†

If you have an interest to learn to fly fish then you too can be catching trout within no time as I did as a lad.

Single Handed Fly Fishing Rod

There are many types of fly rod both single¬†handed¬†and double handed. One handed fly fishing rods are normally used to go trout fishing whereas double handed are usually used for salmon fishing or other fishing for other larger predator fish. I say usually¬†Learn how to fly fish - Fishing with a fly rodas there are always¬†situations where the rule¬†doesn’t¬†apply. For instance Salmon fishing in Alaska would normally be done with a single handed rod and I know a few trout rods which have fighting butts attached to the bottom to make them into double handed.

Also manufacturers are always coming up with new products to tempt anglers into purchasing their gear. For instance the Switch rod which is like a double handed salmon rod but light enough to fish with one hand. 

For the sake of the beginner a single handed fly fishing rod is to be used.  This would normally be the 9ft-10ft rod rated 5-7 if you are an adult or a 8ft-9ft rod rated size 5-6 if you are a child up to 15-16. I give these sizes as a 10 ft would probably be too heavy for a younger child to master and so the 8-9 ft is more practicable. If the child is very small you can go down another size to the 8ft rod rated 4-5. (These are only a guide as it depends a lot of the style of fly fishing you intend to do) 

  • Adult¬† ¬† ¬†9-10ft¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†5-7#
  • Teen¬† ¬† ¬† 8-9ft¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 5-6#
  • Child ¬†¬†¬†¬† 8ft¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†4-5#

The fly rod is a lot softer and lighter than a traditional spinning or bait rod but it is supple and strong enough to lift about 15 meters of fly line off the water over your head and behind you then back again onto the water. This in essence is the overhead cast.

How many rod sections do you need?

Single handed fly rods come in a variety of sections. The standard now is a four piece rod which can be easily broken down and packed away to leave in the car or put on a ruck sack to hike to a lake or loch in the mountains which is becoming a very popular way to fish for trout.

There is loads of fishing hiking holidays available on the market today where you can hike your way across a mountain range fishing several lakes as you go.

Other rod types are the frequent flyer rod Travel fly fishing rodwhich comes in 5-7 pieces which can be packed down small enough to fly with. There is also the three piece and two piece with are becoming hard to find.  

One thing to bear in mind is the more sections the rod has the more joints it will have which effects the action. Although modern manufacturing techniques are now able to reduce these effects they still remain.  As a beginner I would opt for the least amount of sections possible however for the practicalities of travelling a 4 piece is better suited.

The fly fishing rod action – How important is that?

The rod you choose should have a full to middle action not tip or fast action. This means that the rod has a bit of give with it and is not too stiff. If it is tip action then it requires better timing from the caster to perform the cast properly and for a beginner would most likely put them off the sport before they got into it. Learning how to fly fish is mostly about the cast and keeping that aspect as simple as possible is essential until you grow your skills up to advanced level.

A good way to test a rod action is get someone to hold the rod out straight in front of them Fly fishing rod actionand you pull the top ring down to the floor. The more the rod bends towards the handle the softer the action. If it is only really bending at the tip then its fast action.  A rod that is really stiff when you flick it is fast whereas a sally rod would be full to medium.

So in conclusion for an Adult you want

  1. a 9-10ft rod rated 5-7 weight.
  2. With 4 sections and is
  3. full to middle actioned.

Check out the Airflo Airtec Nano Review!

Next check out this post on the fly fishing reel!

Need more info on fly fishing check my review on fly fishing unleashed!



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