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.
“Best Fly Fishing Combos”
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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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…)
Have you been to a river with a fast pool knowing it holds fish but unable to catch them as your fly line flows through the pool far too quickly? Or have you been to a river when the pool you are fishing is way too slow and you find it difficult to put any life into your drift with your flies? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you need to learn how to mend your fly line to control speed.
There are 2 directions to mend a fly line during a cast upstream or downstream. Of these two direction you can either mend in the water or in the air. Most use the water mend as its easier but if fishing for easily spooked fish then the air mend means your line causes the least amount of disturbance and so increases your chances of hooking and landing fish. (more…)
Have you ever tried fishing with a shooting head fly line? It is different to normal weight forward fly casting in that there is extra weight set to the front on the line making it so the fly rod is already loaded and flexed without even having to put power into it.
This extra weight makes it easy for anglers to get extra distance in their casts but it not much good for delicate presentation as the weighted line normal drops with quite a splash. Even when fully controlled and cast correctly there is a lot of water disturbance when the cast lands so this type of fishing is not very good for fishing dries for brook trout. (more…)
How good are you at fly casting? Can you control your fly line and land you flies on a 1 foot target consistently. Can you change direction and cast to both left and right easily? If yes then congratulations you are a proficient fly caster and will have seen a marked increase in takes from trout and fish caught. If not then you need to put in the practice so you too can make better catch rates. This is where fly casting practice drills can become an important part on your road to being a better fly fishing caster and a more accomplished angler in general.
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What is the switch fly cast?
The switch cast is somewhere in between the roll cast and single spey cast. It is believed by some that this is a new cast but fly anglers have been performing it for hundreds of years. Its just become more prominent now as fishing suppliers have been targeting new markets by naming new switch rods.
The switch fly fishing cast is a more energetic roll cast made with one movement without the pivot of the upper body performed in the single spey so you cast in the same direction as you lift the line from. Sometimes its called the touch and go cast. You can find a bit more history on the cast here. (more…)
Have you gone to your favorite beat on a river to find the wind is howling downstream the direction you were intending to fish and realized you cannot fish that banking as you only know the overhead cast or single spey cast. Only knowing them means that would put you in danger from your flies. As I see it you have three choices go to the other banking, go home or learn how to double spey fly cast.
Double spey fly casting is great for allowing you to fish downstream when you are faced with a strong downstream wind. In the single spey cast, roll cast or overhead cast the wind is likely to blow the line and flies downstream towards you and can make the act of casting very dangerous. It is much safer for you to use the double spey cast to enable you to still be able to cast and not give up for fear of being hooked by your own flies. For this demonstration we will suggest we are fishing from the left banking on a river to a downstream flow going right to left. This all performed by a right handed angler.
When we mention the word spey anglers are immediately put into a different world when only gentlemen fly fished on the great rivers of Scotland namely the Dee, Tay and the Spey where the cast was originally developed. They would think of 15ft double handed Salmon fly rods and large rivers for targeting large Atlantic Salmon.
Well that was all but true a few hundred years ago but today the single spey fly cast is used on many waterways all over the world and with many rod types and lines. In fact the single spey fly cast is a very versatile cast which can get you out of trouble when fly fishing in a river that is overgrown with bankside vegetation. The single spey is a cast to allow you to bring your flies from the downstream dangle up to a 45 degree angle out into the current for the next fishing cast in a river.
Ever stood on a platform fishing for trout and with your cast directly out in front of you a trout shows to your left or right?
As a beginner you only know the overhead cast so you can’t directly cast to it so you have to retrieve the fly line in by hand and start to false cast and turn out towards the risen trout which takes a few seconds or longer by which time the trout is most likely no where close to where it just showed.
So you now have time wasted changing direction and frustration has set in because of your lack of skill. This continues for a while until you give up chasing ghosts and either just concentrate on the water in front of you or pack up and go home. Now I know that later is a bit extreme but I have been there when trout have been jumping all around and not been able to get my flies into the target zone quickly enough.
That is when I decided I needed to learn how to cast so I could change direction quickly. That’s when I found the snake roll fly cast man its so easy to perform I was wondering why I hadn’t come across it earlier. So let me now also show you how to perform the cast so you too can change direction quickly and target that fish that has just jumped to your side. (more…)
In our last post we discovered how to perform the single haul which can be either in the back cast or forward cast to improve casting distance or help in difficult windy conditions. Now we are going to take it one step further and put the two hauls into one cast to create double haul fly casting.
The timing on this cast is a bit tricky but with a bit of practice you can master it and be able to shoot long casts out into wide pools targeting fish that your fishing buddies can’t reach. The basic principle has four stages where your hands are together, apart, together and apart again widely used in the UK where in the US its down up down shoot. You will see this in a minute. (more…)