Fly Life Magazine

Guide Recommended’s 10 tips to getting started in fly fishing

By David Humphries for Guide Recomended

If you’ve recently made the decision to start fly fishing, you’re in good company. Fly fishing is a sport that is growing rapidly in popularity; it is a challenging, exciting sport that will push you to new limits each day. It’s a great way to get outside and get some exercise, and while it may seem like an intimidating (even costly!) hobby to undertake, it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re just starting out on the water, consider our beginner’s guide of tips to help you get started.

The 10 things you should do to start fly fishing

  1. Educate yourself

While you can spend time puttering around on your own, you will be much more effective if someone shows you what to do first. While YouTube videos and virtual novice trainings are a good place to start, it’s better if you can find a guide or teacher who will take you right out on the water.  I actually hired a guide to teach my wife and sister.  I knew it would be alot more fun and cheaper.  I could just visualize my wife getting mad at me while I tried to teach her to cast.  That would just ruin a day that was intended to be fun and relaxing.

Many local fly shops offer free or inexpensive trainings. These are pretty straightforward and train you in the basics of fly fishing. While they won’t always get you out on the water (although the very best will), they will train you in everything from knot tying, fly selection, casting, and more. These classes will allow you to get feedback from a professional before you get out on the river.

Best yet, consider hiring a guide. This is especially helpful if you plan on fishing regularly in a specific area, as the guide will be more familiar with the flies, casts, and techniques necessary to land fish in that area. Many people are intimidated by the idea of hiring a guide, but they don’t have to break the bank. Many guides offer free or reduced excursions, especially if you’re a local or beginner.

Getting good at fly fishing is fun!

  1. Select your rod, reel and line—preferably all together

You don’t need to break the bank, but invest in a good fly fishing rod, reel, and line package. This can be a daunting task, as there are hundreds of styles of each available, each with different features, sizes, and lengths. Consult your local fly shop or a seasoned guide for advice, or, if all else fails, purchase a nine-foot, five-weight rod. This is generally a safe bet for beginning fly fishermen.

Combo packages are also a wise choice for beginners, as they provide a full set-up for less than $100. Many offer lifetime warranties, and buying a combination package ensures that you will match your fly rod and lines—an absolutely must to make sure it works correctly. You should also invest in some sort of storage tube to help protect your equipment while you’re trekking back to a remote river.

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