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
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…)
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.
The Fly Fishing Line is a lot thicker than traditional monofilament fishing line. To get your fly out into the water in an attractive gentle method takes practice and some skill.
These can be learned but the fly fishing line is critical to the cast, get it wrong and you may as well not bother fishing at all.
A bad cast will collapse and crash onto the water surface spooking any fish that are in the close proximity, this is not a good thing as once spooked it’s very hard to get them back.
There are many variations of fly line however the options we will be concerned with here are weight, density, taper and color. So let’s delve deeper and get fly fishing lines explained to us.
Fly Fishing Line Weight
AFTM or the Association of Fishing Tackle Manufacturers came up with a standard to measure all fly fishing tackle including the line ratings.
This scale means if you buy a seven weight line from any manufacturer it will fit any seven weight rod and reel from any other manufacturers…cool right! That being said there are always exceptions to the rule but we will not concern ourselves with this now.
The line rating is worked out on the first 10 yards of line or 30ft which is about what you would use to load the rod to make a cast on the old traditional lines.
Loading the rod means flex it enough to perform a cast. Your rod needs a certain amount of weight outside the tip ring to allow it to throw a line. As the line rating number gets higher the line weight gets higher and will require a larger stiffer rod to cast it properly.
As a beginner we have been working on the 9ft 5 AFTM rated setup.
Fly fishing reels explained will show you that the reel is more than a container for your fly line to keep it off the ground when playing a fish. Unlike conventional bait rods the line will have to be retrieved in by hand to entice the trout to take your fly and as this happens the line will be increasingly lying at your feet unless you are using a fly line tray.
This is not so bad when you are on a sandy beach or clay bank side but if there is a lot of undergrowth then the line will get caught up on the vegetation and when that trout of a lifetime decides to take your fly you don’t want to be trying to pull the line free to play it in. Many a prize trout was lost this way believe me.
The reel is therefore to reel up the line before you try to play the trout. This can be done with ease with a bit of practice as you hold the line tight to keep tension on the trout as you reel up the line with your other hand. This may sound difficult but it is not.
You can play a trout without reeling in first but this is only advisable when on a snag-free environment, even sitting in a boat is not the place as oars, bags, your partner can all get tangled up with your fly line very easily.
Once you have the line on the reel you can let the trout fight and take line and reel it back on with the knowledge that you are free to move in any direction it decides to go.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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…)
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. (more…)
How to make a fly fishing leader
When it comes to setting up your fly rod for fly fishing the last piece of the puzzle is how to make a fly fishing leader. As a beginner you will need to master this fairly well as you don’t want to lose caught fish due to poorly prepared leaders. Like all aspects of fly fishing it depends on the target species to what your leader will look like. As we have been on the process of learning how to trout fish we will stick to a leader for a 10ft rod of seven weight set up. How to make your own leaders for fly fishing and make them well will add to your enjoyment of the sport and get you out of difficult situations when you are having problems with your fly fishing leaders.
Generally speaking a trout leader setup is made from lighter material than the fly line. This is due to a couple of things, one we want to present our flies with a nice flutter down onto the water and not a splash and secondly we need to use something that the trout find hard to see.
You may wonder how effective a trout’s eyes really are. I can tell you they have very keen eyesight and can spot a small dark fly in the dead of night. When fishing for sea trout the darker the night the better and those trout could pick up your fly when it was difficult to see your hand in front of your face. So to try to counteract this we need to decide on line diameter and color.
How to Spool a Fly Reel in Steps.
Now that you have hopefully bought your rod, reel and line you will need to know how to set up your fly line and put it all together so you can go fly fishing.
Get Best Fly Fishing Reels Here
Fly fishing is a sport involving many skills, fly casting, river craft, entomology and knot tying among others. To be considered a proficient fly fishing angler you need to be able to be accomplish these with good precision. In this post we will walk through the task of setting up a fly rod so we can go fly fishing. (more…)
Stillwater trout fly fishing in winter can prove to be difficult. Not only is the air and water cold and you will need to wear appropriate clothing to protect you from the elements. As the water is colder fish mainly trout are moving a lot slower and tend to keep to a certain depth. (more…)
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…)