Are you interested in learning fly fishing but think it’s hard to do? First, you need to understand that learning fly fishing is an excellent decision. If you don’t know, fly fishing is fun, and relaxing, and offers a host of health benefits to anglers. One of them is that it provides a total body workout – a result of casting and wading your fishing equipment.
Across various social media fishing platforms, we have come across some people saying fly fishing is hard to learn. Why that’s partially true, you need to understand that the mode of fishing isn’t as overwhelming as many people think.
Undoubtedly, Fly fishing is a little bit challenging. However, once you’re able to learn the basics and opt for the proper gear, you won’t have a problem with the mode of fishing. Fly fishing involves casting the weight of the line to place your artificial fly in front of the target fish.
As a beginner, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed about learning fly fishing – we also felt the same way back then. To keep you on track with this mode of fishing, we’ll share everything you need to know about fly fishing in this article. This post will include how you can select suitable gear & tackles, how much you need to get started, and a few basics of the fishing technique.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight down to business.
Is Fly Fishing Harder Than Regular Fishing?
To answer the burning question above, we’ll say that fly fishing is both easy and hard to do. It’s easy in the sense that – with the right level of determination, anyone can learn the fishing technique. That’s not all; fly fishing is also easy because there’s no wrong time or place and casting is much easier.
However, unlike the conventional mode of fishing, fly fishing involves using the weight of the line instead of the weight of the bait. That’s not all; the fishing technique requires anglers to apply more energy in creating the necessary momentum to convey the artificial fly to its destination. The energy comes from the rod and the weight of the fishing line.
Furthermore, being successful as a fly fisher depends on a couple of factors; the ability to learn the basics and put them into practice.
Choosing the right bait
The fly fishing basics start with getting familiar with the different fly types – Dry Flies, Nymphs, Streamers, and Emergers.
The dry flies for fly fishing are imitation flies that usually float on water surfaces. Nymphs, on the other hand, are fly-fishing flies that imitate the naturally occurring insect larva commonly found in the bottom of streams, ponds, and rivers.
Furthermore, like nymphs, streamers are wet flies ideal for landing large fish species. Lastly, emergers are fly-fishing flies designed to imitate insect larvae, especially those about to transform into flying insects. That said, you need to understand that your choice of flies plays a pivotal role in the overall success when using the fly fishing technique.
Reading the water
Another important aspect of fly fishing is that it requires you to read the waters carefully – this is often hard for beginners.
So, what does reading the water means for you as a beginner?
In fly fishing, reading the water is an important skill that you need to learn. Although it’s easy to learn, the technique requires continuous practice – the hardest part of this fishing mode.
If you don’t know, fish often go around looking for two things; a source of food and shelter to hide from predators. By reading the water, you’ll be able to understand where to go to land more fish.
Some of the best ways to read waters for fly fishing include the following:
- Look for properly oxygenated runs in the water.
- Ensure to check for slow and deep pockets.
- The weather condition also has a great effect on the water. So, check it before fly fishing.
- You can also check the river flow.
- Pay close attention to the clarity of the water.
Selecting the right gear
Apart from the bait types and reading the river, the fishing technique (fly fishing) also requires opting for the right rod and acquiring the necessary skills. That is, knowing how to set up your fly rod, casting for different water conditions, dedication, and practice.
The most difficult aspect of fly fishing that makes it pretty much harder than conventional fishing techniques is – it has a learning curve that requires a lot of practice. If you can acquire the necessary skills and practice very well, you’ll find it easy to land more fish with the fishing approach.
Can You Teach Yourself To Fly Fish?
Another burning question is; is it possible for you to teach yourself how to fly fish?
The direct answer to the question is yes; you can always teach yourself to fly fish. Gone are the days when you always have to meet experts (in person) to teach you the basics of certain fishing activities. Today, social media has taken over, especially YouTube and Instagram.
Professional fly fishing anglers now make and post different tutorials regarding fly fishing basics on various social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Since that’s the case, you need to do a little search online and opt for the right resources to teach yourself fly fishing. That’s not all; apart from getting the necessary videos and materials, the most important part is “practicing the skills continuously” – until you’re perfect, using the fishing technique.
To learn how to fly fish by yourself, you will need to slow down many times and learn how to position your hand and cast regardless of the situation and conditions.
What Does A Beginner Fly Angler Need?
As a beginner planning to learn to fly fishing, you need to understand that choosing the right gear and tackle is important. That said, you can check below to see some of what you need for this fishing mode.
We mentioned this earlier, and we’ll say it again – your choice of flies will determine how successful you’ll be while fly fishing.
As we now know, there are different types of fly fishing flies that you can opt for to attract and catch your target fish. However, the four most common ones are dry flies, nymphs, streamers, and mergers.
In case you don’t know, flies are pretty much important for fly fishing, as they disguise the hook to help you snag and reel in your catch. So, for better results, we’ll advise that you choose from the flies listed above to attract and catch your target fish. We are saying that because most fish species have great senses – they can quickly sense artificial flies.
2. Fly rod and reel
Apart from the artificial flies, another tool you need for fly fishing is the fly fishing rod and reel. Interestingly, there are lots of options available out there for you. However, before selecting a fly fishing rod and reel, you first need to consider the use case. What exactly is the fishing rod going to be catching?
Providing answers to the question will go a long way in helping you decide the suitable rod action and weight that you should opt for. That’s not all; it will also enable you to match the fishing pole with the proper reel and fishing line.
That said, let’s have a quick look at some of the things that you need to consider before choosing a fly fishing rod.
The target fish
Before considering buying a fly fishing rod, the very first thing that you need to consider is the type of fish you’re planning to catch. Of course, this is essential as every other factor relies on the target fish species.
That said, you need to understand that the type of fishing rod you need for saltwater fish species may not be suitable for freshwater creatures.
Get familiar with the fly rod’s functions
We are sure you know that fly fishing rods are engineered for different purposes. However, if you don’t know, the fishing tools come designed for three main purposes; casting, line control, and striking & landing your target fish.
If you’re going to choose a fly rod, ensure you opt for a product that allows you to cast pretty well – with power and accuracy. In addition to that, the pole should also enable you to present the bait (fly) and fishing line in the best possible ways.
Do you remember that you’ll be using the weight of the line and not the weight of the bait? Since that’s the case, ensure to opt for a fly fishing rod that provides you with excellent control over the line that’s out of water.
Lastly, the flying rod you’ll be opting for should have enough strength and flexibility. What that means is it should bend easily under different conditions without breaking.
The fly rod length
The rod’s length is another essential factor that you need to look out for when choosing a suitable product. So, depending on your target fish species, we will advise that you opt for a reliable product about 8 or 9 feet in length.
3. Fly lines
Apart from flies, rods, and reels, another essential piece of equipment you’ll need for fly fishing is the fly lines.
As with other gear on this list, you need to consider some factors before choosing your fly lines. They include the backing, tippet, fly line, and leader.
Let’s start by talking about backing, an essential part of a fishing line. Many anglers don’t notice the backing of a fly line as it hides inside the reel. If you don’t know, it’s the end that joins the fly line to your reel. That said, ensure you opt for a fly fishing product that has an extra line in its backing.
Apart from the backing, another section of a fly line you need to consider is the “fly line itself.” As earlier mentioned, the energy needed for creating the momentum to convey the bait to its destination mostly comes from the weight of the line. Since that’s the case, it’s paramount that you opt for suitable fly lines that enable you to cast your flies better.
Tippet is the small and clear monofilament line, which is attached to the end of the leader. It’s very flexible and comes in very handy, especially when planning to tie multiple lines. Since tippets come in several different weights, your choice of picking a suitable one depends on the size of fish you’re targeting. That said, a stronger tippet is ideal for large fish and vice versa.
Furthermore, the leader is the length of the line that connects the fly line to the bait (fly). For the best results, we’ll advise that you opt for a leader that has a smaller diameter at its tip for trying the bait and a larger diameter at the butt end, which allows you to attach the fly line.
4. Polarized sunglasses
Since you’re considering getting suitable gear for fly fishing, we’ll advise that you also buy polarized sunglasses.
Like conventional fishing, polarized sunglasses offer many benefits to fly anglers. First, the fishing equipment helps to reduce glare for X-rays, which prevents you from reading water for better results. That’s possible because the lenses of the sunglasses come with polarizers that can block reflected light.
Furthermore, by opting for polarized sunglasses, you’ll be able to see your fly clearly and know the right time to set your hook.
Polarized sunglasses can help you increase visual contrast during fly fishing, which is pretty much good for you. With this offering, you’ll be able to spot schools of fish clearly beneath the water.
You can always find the lenses of polarized sunglasses in different colors. There is a grey variant, which is ideal for preserving the contrast levels. Furthermore, it’ll help you keep the colors true and reduce eye fatigue.
There’s also an Amber or Copper variant, the most popular of all types of polarized sunglasses for fly anglers. They are handy when you find yourself fly fishing in low-light conditions and can help to improve contrast and depth perception.
Other types of lenses that you can opt for include Yellow (if you’re looking for the highest degree of contrast enhancement) and Rose.
5. Waders and Boots
There’s no way you’ll talk about fly fishing without mentioning Waders and Boots. That’s so because they are an essential addition to your fly fishing gear.
One of the benefits of waders is they’ll provide you access to banks or deep pockets of a river. In addition to that, they also ensure that you remain warm and dry.
There are two different waders and boots out there; they are the Boot-foot Waders and Stockingfoot Waders. The former (Boot-foot Waders) is designed so that the boot comes welded to the bottom of the water.
As for the latter – Stockingfoot Waders – has neoprene socks welded to it. Moreover, the product also requires that you purchase wading boots, which you’ll use along with it.
Furthermore, waders are classified into a. several different categories, according to the materials used to design them. Most companies utilize a range of breathable fabric technologies, such as gore-tex, H2No, and vapor-tec. Some manufacturers also use non-breathable waders materials, such as neoprene, PVC, and nylon.
6. Fishing Net
Another type of gear that you’ll most likely need for fly fishing is the Fishing Net. Taking a landing net with you for a fly fishing trip is something that we can’t stress enough.
Since fish are delicate species, handling them too much before releasing them back into the water might not be a great idea. And that’s one of the many areas where the landing net comes into the scene. One of the benefits of having a net is that it helps to limit how you handle your catches.
Furthermore, there are tons of different nets out there that you can choose for fly fishing. However, while choosing one, ensure you go for the product that allows you to have better control over your catches. One of the best-selling products out there that you can rely on is the SF Fly Fishing Landing Net.
The product comes with a soft, clear rubberized net material. With that, you can always rest knowing that your catches won’t get hurt. Furthermore, the product comes with a solid and sturdy wooden handle and a laminated bamboo and hardwood frame. You can check here for more information regarding the product and the rest of its offerings.
How Much Does It Cost To Start to Fly Fishing?
Apart from flies, fishing rod and reel, polarized sunglasses, fishing line, tippet, waders & boot, and landing net, other essential tools that you’ll find handy for fly fishing include the following:
- Fly Boxes
- Vest or pouches
- Hemostats or forceps
That said, to determine the amount of money needed to start to fly fishing, you need to consider all these pieces of equipment. There are a few companies out there that offer fly fishing kits combo at affordable prices.
A good example is the Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo with other accessories. The package, which sells at $94, comes with a 9-foot, 4-Piece, ⅚ weight, medium-fast action fly fishing rod. Interestingly, the rod packs an aluminum reel seat designed with double lock rings, a Western-style cork handle, stainless steel stripper guide, and many more.
Furthermore, the fly fishing package also comes with a rod case with a reel pouch and side storage pouch & zipper. Other items packed by the product include a fly reel and fly box.
As an angler, if you’re to buy the essential fly fishing gear singly, here’s the estimated startup cost that you can put in mind:
- Fly rod and reel combo sell between $25 – $150. You can check below to see the best-selling products.
- Best Fly Leader sells between $5 – $22; check here for the best-selling products.
- Fly Fishing Tippet sells between $5 – $30; check here to see the best-selling products.
- Fly-fishing waders and boots can sell as low as $43 and as high as $150, depending on your taste. You can check here to find the best-selling products.
- Backing (100 yards) costs between $7 and $25. You can check here to find the best-selling products.
- High-quality Fly Fishing Line can sell for up to $50 or more, depending on the brand you’re patronizing.
- You can get two or more fly boxes for $30, depending on where you’re buying them.
- A full set of Hemostats or forceps can sell between $13 and $20.
- Some Polarized sunglasses are expensive, but you can still see one that sells between $20 and $50.
- The average Fly can cost between $2 and $4, depending on where you’re getting yours. You can always get them at any fly shop close to you.
How To Start With Fly Fishing? Big Guide Made In Steps
As we now know, fly fishing isn’t as difficult as many people think. However, it requires getting the basics skills, opting for suitable gear, and continuous practice.
That said, here are some of the things that you need to get familiar with for you to get started with fly fishing.
1. Slow and steady
If you’re interested in getting started with fly fishing, the very first thing that you need is to educate yourself. However, while doing that, you need not rush yourself into getting all the required information at once.
We’ll advise that you take it one step at a time. That’s not all; also, try as much as possible to connect with other fly anglers and ask for advice when necessary.
2. Don’t rush it
For a better fly fishing experience, we’ll advise you to avoid rushing to practice all the skills. Always start from the simpler ones before trying the complex skills.
For instance, instead of starting with a long cast, we’ll advise you to start with shorter casts, where you will be very comfortable. From there, gain more confidence and perfect the basic skills before moving up to higher levels.
3. Opt for quality rod, reel, and fly fishing line
There’s no denying that some rod and reel combos can be expensive to acquire. However, you should also know that many best-selling products exist out there – you can always get them at affordable rates. That said, we’ll advise that you opt for quality gear for fly fishing.
4. Join fly fishing communities
There are lots of benefits attached to joining fly fishing clubs. Many of them will offer you value, and apart from that, you’ll also get to connect with experienced fly anglers and learn more from them.
How Long Should Your Fly Rod Be?
As earlier mentioned, the best rod length for fly fishing is 8- to 9 ft.
If you’re planning on making a long cast, our advice is that you should opt for a fly fishing rod that is nine feet (9ft) long. However, an 8.5-foot rod will suit most fly fishing conditions you find yourself in.
Furthermore, you can always opt for an 8-inch fly rod or lesser if you’re only interested in making short casts. As a beginner, starting with a rod length below 8 inches is an excellent idea for shorter casts.
Best Fly Fishing Rod For Beginners?
Choosing a suitable fly fishing rod and reel isn’t as challenging as many people think. However, if you’re finding it pretty difficult to find the best product, you need not worry too much. Let’s have a quick look at some of the best-selling rods below.
1. PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
The PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Combo is one of the best-selling products out there. The fishing equipment comes with many excellent features that’ll make your fly fishing experience worthwhile. Furthermore, apart from the reel and pole, the product also comes with several other packages, such as a fishing line, 20 fly fishing flies, and a carrier case.
The fishing pole comes with a stainless steel stripper guide. This offering will help you reduce friction and heat, preventing your fishing line from damaging. Furthermore, the fishing pole comes with a cork grip for comfort. You can check here to get more information regarding the product’s offerings and price.
2. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod By Moonshine
Occupying the second spot on this list is The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod, manufactured by Moonshine Rod Co. The product packs many amazing features and specifications, which is why we are recommending it to you.
First, the product comes with medium-action graphite. Apart from that, it also packs other features, such as a high-grade AAA cork grip for comfort and a canvas fly rod tube, which can withstand wear and tear. That said, you can check here for more information about how to order the product on Amazon.
Here are some other best-selling fly fishing rods that you can consider opting for as a beginner:
- Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod and Reel – check here
- Wakeman Fly Fishing Rod and Reel – check here
- Aventik Z 2in1 Fly Fishing Rod – check here