What Flies Should You Take With You – Beginners Guide to Catch More Trout

When going to fly fish for the first time what flies should you take with you? This is a question I was asked frequently while working in the tackle shop and I think it is worth answering here.

Silver Invicta Trout Fly

Silver Invicta Trout Fly

Trout have many variations around the world and each has its own set of flies that work well. Checking with the local tackle dealer can produce a good selection of proven patterns that have been producing results.

It is always prudent to check with them from time to time to see if new patterns are working or variations in fishing style are producing results. I would always check in with the hut before putting a fly on the water where ever I go as local knowledge is supreme when getting yourself set up.

Tip: Check the fishing forums before setting off!

If however you are going somewhere away from the beaten path then some prep beforehand can be fruitful. Fishing forums can be a good place for advice.  You can usually ask the question what patterns have proved successful on this water recently or last season around the same time and someone will more than likely have been there and can tell you how they got on.

Seasonal changes in insect life and trout habits!

Note: The following is descriptive of European Brown trout and Rainbow trout but may also prove effective for trout from other areas around the world.

There are four seasons as you are aware however these can be divided into segments of smaller size frames in respect to the hatch of insects taking place at that time. Although we are taking in seasons let’s be clear that insects don’t work to the same time line as you and me. It all depends on weather conditions as to the timing of a particular hatch. (more…)

New Trout Fishing Season – Getting Prepared

Well, winter is now over and its time to get the tackle out from its winter hibernation for a good cleaning in preparation for the new trout fishing season.

There are a few things that should be done each spring to ensure you tackle is on tip top condition before going out on your first fishing trip.

  • Check fly lines for cracks
  • Clean reel and apply lubrication
  • Wax rod furrels
  • Re-new knots for the line connections
  • Check rods for any cracks or chips.
  • Inspect cork handle
  • Check waders for leaks
  • Check fly selection
  • Inspect leader material
  • Renew all licenses and permits

cleaning fly line

These are some of the main items that need sorting before a new season begins. Of these, I would suggest checking the fly line and rod as the most important. 


Checking the fly line for cracks 

When you put away your gear at the end of the previous season you would have probably left one or two fly lines still on their reels and depending on the place or storage there will no doubt be some coil memory left on the line from being stored so long in that position.

My suggestion to you before going to fish is you unspool the line onto a bucket of soapy water then after about half an hours soak slowly pull the line through a soft cloth squeezed in your other hand. While doing this check for any cracks or chips along the line and assess them for integrity.

If there are a lot then it would be better to purchase a new line than risk losing some trout to breakages. Working this process you will take any grime or dirt away as well as slowly get the line straight. Here is a couple of RIO products videos on how to do that and apply a dressing to the fly line to keep it fishing well for years. (more…)

How to Fly Fish – Tips for the beginner.

Have you ever thought about learning how to fly fish?  It may be you have watched a fly fishing angler casting a trout rod across a river or lake and wondered could you do that. Well I can tell you that fly fishing is no harder to perform than lure fishing when you correctly buy well balanced equipment and take a few lessons. You could get to grips with it without the lessons but if you are a complete novice I would advise you get some lessons as it will save you time and effort in the long run.

To begin with what is fly fishing?

Fly fishing is the sport where someone uses a fly rod to cast a fly line with flies across a river or lake and retrieves them in a number of manners to try and entice the target fish into taking. Flies are hooks tied up with feathers and materials to either look like natural insects or colored in such a way to make an aggressive reaction from the fish.

These flies are tied to the fly line with a leader material usually mono-filament or fluorocarbon and are cast using the rod and line. The basic fly cast is called the overhead cast and consists of the fly line being pulled through the air in front and behind the caster. The line is kept in the air in that it doesn’t touch the water or bank during the cast. The rod is loaded by the line to put energy into the cast so it can be accelerated and cast great distances in front on the fly fishing angler. With a bit of practice casts of 30 yards and more can be reached and are usually enough to target most species of sport and game fish.

When optimum cast length is achieved the fly is allowed to land on the water and then retrieved in different manners to try and entice the trout or fish to grab the fly. At this point the hook is set and the fight begins. There are a vast array of permutations for fly fishing including rod length, fly line density, fly line weight, casting technique, leader length and pattern of flies to name the most common.

How to Fly Fish
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Matching the Hatch Techniques – How to save a blank

What is matching the hatch? If you are new to fly fishing you may be unaware of the insects that fish eat along the rivers and lakes. Each season of the year produces new species of insect that the trout have become used to and will feed upon when they are in season.

As new insects become available the older insects will die away. Trout that are a few years old will be savvy to the food available and so it becomes increasing difficult to entice them to take an artificial fly.

This is where matching the hatch techniques come into play as the angler needs to learn to get as close as he can to the natural insect life when presenting his fly.

So how do we go about matching the hatch?

First thing we do when approaching a fishing venue is to take a few minutes to scan the surroundings to see if there is anything naturally hatching. You need to check the grass beside the river the trees and if nothing is showing then check the insect life at the edge of the river or lake.

Be careful not to disturb the water too much as you will spook any close trout away and it may take some time for them to return and spoil your chances of success.  When checking for the insects it is good to have a fine mesh net with you so you can catch some and get a closer look as flying insects can be very hard to imitate.

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Best Fly Line for Trout 2019 – Distance or Presentation?

Considerations when buying a new fly line

Before we consider the best fly line for trout 2019 let’s 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 trout 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 fishing for steelhead in a river or river returning sea trout on the Rio Grande. However, for the purpose of this article let’s consider fishing for brown trout in a river or rainbow trout in a stillwater lake.

One of the first things we need to get correct is to match the fly line to the weight rating of the fly rod. Most modern fly rods now have the rating stamped on the butt section and this makes it easy to match a fly line for our rod so we can load and flex it correctly for casting. So if your rod says 6-7 on the butt section then we can use a 6 or 7 weight line to match up to it.

Fly lines are also rated with a weight on them so you can match this up. The 6 signifies using a double taper line where the 7 would be for a weight forward of shooting line. This is only a guide and a proficient caster would be able to use either line on the same rod.

 

Best fly line for trout

 

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How to Choose a Fly Line – Some advice for beginners

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 an 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.

How to choose a fly line

The first important aspect is to match your 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.

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Un Matching the Hatch Techniques – How to Catch more Trout

OK if you have read my last post on matching the hatch techniques you may have wondered what happens when I have tried every fly in the box that looks close to the insects hatching but I am still not getting any takes. Well then that is when you change tactics and try un matching the hatch techniques.

Larvae - Un Matching the Hatch TechniquesLarvae Fly - Un Matching the Hatch Techniques

When you are an accomplished angler you will have an array of items with you when fishing that cover all sorts of situations and in that arsenal, you will probably have different types of tippet or leader materials and you will be considering changing line colors. You may try floating your flies with floatants or trying to sink them further with different poly leaders and trying to get that all illusive trout to take your fly. It is times like this when you have gone through your usual changes that you are thinking it’s time to pack up and go home.  However, rather than doing that there is one more thing to try.

So what is un matching the hatch techniques?

Just as before when we tried to match the hatch as closely as possible, this is when we now try to go the other direction and get something completely opposite to the hatching insects. This sounds easy but a bit of thought is required. You have a few things to consider the color, the size and the shape of the insect that is hatching. All these things need to be reversed or changed considerably to invoke a response from the trout.

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Dos and Donts of Fly Fishing – How to Catch More Trout!

Over the past number of years I have done just about everything you can do to improve a day’s fly fishing. So I have compiled this list of do’s and don’ts of fly fishing that should make for a better trout fishing trip.

  • Do not try to cast too far. A common mistake by many is trying to push the line out in great distances. This will make for a lot of tangles and bad casting. Keep it short and neat the trout will usually come to you if you don’t make too many splashes.
  • Don’t use too heavy leader line for the flies you are fishing. I have seen guys put on 15lb mono to fish size 12 flies for trout. This is far too heavy much better to go for 4-5 lb line you will catch more fish. Gauge the trout size your after if they are big, 10lb plus then you may need to adjust but there is no need to fish 15lb leader if the average trout size is 2lb.

trout fly fishing

  • Do bring a plastic bag for your catch if killed, there is nothing worse than the dead fish smell in the car on a long journey home. A simple plastic bag can make all the difference. They can also be used to put on your feet if you spring a leak or your head if a downpour threatens to drown you.
  • Don’t be fooled into buying an expensive rod if you can’t afford it there are many cheaper rods that will cast just as far as the most expensive and catch as many fish. (more…)

Fly Fishing Emergency Kit Items to Save the Day

 

fly fishing emergency kit

 

So what would save the day I have to ask? I’m not talking about a special selection of flies although I do think there are some you should always carry. I’m more concerned with items that will help fix broken or damaged tackle or items to keep you fishing rather than having to wind up and go home.

We have all been there out fishing and have fallen down a banking or slipped and fell in the river and damaged our gear or our selves so I have put together this fly fishing emergency kit of items that may help to keep you going.


There are many option to consider in this list so I will work through them for you. Your main piece of equipment is your fly rod and if disaster strikes and you fall and break it into several pieces there is not a whole lot you can do about it. However if you have travelled far the thought of having to turn homeward is not good.

The only real thing you can prepare for here with is a cheap replacement. I always try to keep a second rod with me when going further than a few miles when fly fishing. That way you can at least keep fishing even if your best and lucky rod lies in piece on the bankside. You may be sad but at least your fishing. (more…)

Some Useful Knots for Fly Fishing

Mikael Frodin a top fly tyer, salmon angler, guide and instructor has done a series of knots for fly fishing. Mikael if you are not familiar with works for Guideline Fly Fishing testing and helping to design products. A master shooting head caster Mikael has helped develop the Double and Triple density fly lines in the Guideline range.

 

As part of his experience in fly fishing Mikael has tested and worked with many knots and has decided on these 6 to teach you. If you have spent any time on the river fishing you will have no doubt lost fish to weak knots. With this series of knots you should have any situation covered with knots that are easy to tie and strong. 

The Perfection Loop

A great knot to tie leader material to the loop at the end of your fly line when it doesn’t have build in loops.

Can also be used to tie flies to the end of your leader to give them more movement.

The Improved Albright

Second in the series a knot to attached [easyazon_link keywords=”leader material” locale=”US” tag=”chuckingflu0b-20″]leader material[/easyazon_link] to your fly line.

A bit fiddly to do on the bank side but a strong knot that shouldn’t let you down.

The Double Eight

A good knot for forming loops on the end of your hand made leader.

Great for joining loop to loop connections ad keeping it simple.

The Leader Knot

When building your own leaders attaching different strengths of material together makes them turn over better in the cast.

This knot makes it simple without getting tangled up when casting.

The Clinch Knot

Fishing tube flies is more and more common and this knot is great for attaching the hook to the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00M50P4QS” locale=”US” tag=”chuckingflu0b-20″]leader material[/easyazon_link].

The extra tucking of the tag end means it should not slip and loose you a fish.

The Steering Knot

A common problem with hook flies is most knots allow them to slip on the [easyazon_link identifier=”B0007PJQUS” locale=”US” tag=”chuckingflu0b-20″]leader material[/easyazon_link] so they don’t fish correctly.

This knot eliminates that problem and keeps the fly swimming properly throughout the cast.

Nymph Patterns for Trout

Nymph Patterns for Trout

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…)

Fly Fishing Kits for Beginners

fly fishing kits for beginners

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.

“Best Fly Fishing Combos”

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Dry Trout Fly Patterns

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…)

Wet Trout Fly Patterns

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…)

Fly Casting with Crosswinds

Fly casting with crosswinds

Another major difficulty when fly fishing is dealing with the problem of crosswinds. These can cause havoc with your fly casts and can be very dangerous to yourself, your fishing buddies or guides. These winds can push a fly into your direction which could possibly put an eye out or embedded in your head, not a happy thought. My advice if in doubt at all when casting in windy conditions just pack up and go home as its just not worth risking a serious injury.  Cross winds are a problem but we can alter the way in which we cast to deal with this so we can continue to fly fish safely. Lets discuss these changes so we can continue fly casting with crosswinds. (more…)

Fly Casting into Wind

Fly casting into wind

One of the major problems you will encounter when fly fishing is having to cast into the wind. At times it is impossible to get away from it. Say you are on one side of the lake and the wind is coming directly towards you. It is almost impossible to get your cast further than 10-15ft out in front of you or so it would seem. However with a few adjustments to your casting stroke you can make that cast further into the lake and get into the target location where the fish are feeding. (more…)

Distance Fly Casting Techniques

Distance fly casting techniques

Do you struggle to get your flies out to trout that are showing just out of reach say about the 20-30 yard distance? If so you are not alone. I too was only able to make short casts that reached about twice the length of the rod away and struggled to get to those lying fish that always seemed to know where they were safe away from my reach. Well its not impossible to get your cast to reach 30 yards you just need to learn distance fly casting techniques. (more…)

Reach Mend Fly Casting

Reach mend fly casting

Have you ever went to the river to try and catch a timid trout only to spook it time and time again because you cannot get you fly to the target area without disturbance? Then this cast is what you need.

Technically not a fly fishing cast but an aerial line mend the reach mend allows a lot of slack fly line to be introduced to the fly fishing cast so you can present a fly without any drag during the drift downstream. When learnt correctly it allows the fly fishing angler to add the mend to the fly line before the fly hits the water so there is no disturbance to it from that point on and you maximize your casting drift for potential takes. (more…)

Shooting Head Lake Fishing

shooting head lake fishing

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…)

River Fly Fishing Tips

River fly fishing tips

Can Stock Photo

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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