Photo: @chrisbfreshly Here on the East Coast come July, August and September the weather gets hot and the trout fishing shuts down in most areas. If you’re like me not being on the water for 3 months is excruciating. What I decided to do this […]
For better or worse, fly fishing requires a little more precision with your tackle than traditional bait or spin fishing. You probably won’t notice poorly made gear much while your dragging a worm around on a hook, but you will notice a difference when trying to land a weightless fly 30 feet away from you. This isn’t a bad thing. I think it’s what makes the sport challenging and so rewarding. With that said, digging into the technicalities of the rod, reel, line, and waders can definitely be a deterrent. What we’ve done is simplified these choices to help you get on the water.
Rod/Reel/Line – This is obviously the most critical element in any fly fishing arsenal. The good thing tho, is many major brands are offering combo kits equipped with a rod, reel, line and in some instances a case. You no longer need to do the research of matching the right reel with the right line with the right whatever. Its all done for you. There are a couple caveats that I’ll toss in here. These kits will range any from rod size/weight and quality. I recommend a 5 weight rod/reel setup for all beginners. It will have enough strength to handle large fish and also still deliver a rewarding experience with the stocked trout in your local creeks and streams. I also recommend a setup with a quality reel. In my youth, I had a cheap reel and it showed. The reel was made of a cheap resin and eventually cracked, the drag sucked and it inevitably got dirt inside and would grind uncontrollably every time I used it. Don’t make the same mistake and get a quality combo kit like the Redington Path or Orvis Clearwater kit.
Waders – Great story here. When my father and I first began fly fishing, he gave me his old fireman boots so that I could walk into the shallow water without getting my clothes wet. Fast forward a few years and we graduated to some god awful rubber hip waders. We fumbled through what to do for years until we finally became educated on the value of good quality breathable waders and what a difference it makes to your comfort on the water. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to learn from our mistakes and invest in a decent pair of waders and wading boots like these ones from Hodgman and Korkers.
Accessories – Bad news here is that the options are endless and you can spend hundreds of dollars on crap that you’ll never use. I’ll try and touch on the essentials for you here and let you make the final call.
Nets – I avoid the traditional netting material and go for a rubber coated options. This is better for the fish and you won’t get your hooks tangled as much either which is a huge benefit.
Lastly, you’ll need some basic leader, tippet, indicators and a good quality fly box. These are the products I use regularly and think they’ll work great for you as well.
One of the best things that you can do to improve your fly fishing technique and catch more fish is to pursue the knowledge of others by reading books and watching videos. There are so many resources available to us today, we’d be silly not to tap into this knowledge base. I can attest first-hand that this acknowledgement has changed my fishing game completely. The most influential content I’ve gotten my hands on is Modern Nymphing featuring Devin Olsen and Lance Egan of Fly Fish USA. These guys walk through the introduction to euro-style nymph techniques and why they work. Once you understand why these techniques work, you’ll be able to apply those principles more readily on the water and catch more fish.
How many of you have ever taken pictures of your catch and sent it to your family or friends? Do you do that to brag about how awesome you are or to just rub it in that you’re out fishing while they are stuck at work? To be honest, I’ve done both. Now with Instagram becoming so popular, it’s even more important to land that fish, rummage through our vest and snap a pic with our smartphone so we can share with the world how epic we are. Here are three tips for you AND the fish;
- Most important of all, protect your fish! Wet your hands before touching the fish. This will minimize loss of the protective coating on the fish. Keep fish out of the water only a few seconds. When they aren’t in the water, they can’t breathe and that stress only increases the mortality rate of the fish. If the fish is that amazing that it deserves a photo, then it deserves to go back into the water to be caught another day.
- Look for unique poses. Laying a fish on its side next to the rod not only is boring but bad for the fish. Instead, try snapping a close up pic of a distinguishing feature. Browns and brookies have amazing colors on their cheeks and fins. Find that indescribable feature and capture that.
- Lastly, and probably most important to you is PROTECT THAT PHONE! How many of you have went to take a pic and the fish flops, you go to grab the fish and you drop BOTH fish and phone. Not only did you miss out on the pic, you ruined a 500$ phone. I’ve found a solid waterproof case is crucial to protecting your phone and getting the pics you want on the water. Lifeproof makes great cases for both iPhones and various android devices. These are more or less shatter-proof and waterproof so don’t worry about dropping them on some streamside rocks or in the water.