Because the technique required is so different, many beginners may find fly fishing to be a bit confusing. However, fly fishing is a very accessible fishing hobby with a very easy learning curve.
All that is required is a bit of practice and proper guidance. If you are new to the sports, here are 9 fly fishing tips to help you get started.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the fly fishing tips, we got you covered:
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- 1 What Exactly is Fly fishing?
- 2 9 Fly fishing Tips for Beginners
- 2.1 Tip 1: Invest in Your Boots
- 2.2 Tip 2: Dress Right
- 2.3 Tip 3: Get Yourself a Pair of Polarizing Sunglasses
- 2.4 Tip 4: Don’t Break the Bank on the Fishing Equipment
- 2.5 Tip 5: Apply for a License
- 2.6 Tip 6: Know Your Knots
- 2.7 Tip 7: Learn to Read the Water
- 2.8 Tip 8: Practice Your Casting
- 2.9 Tip 9: Avoid Popular Spots
- 2.10 Types of Fly fishing
- 3 Related Questions
- 4 Parting Note
What Exactly is Fly fishing?
It is best to have a brief overview of fly fishing before we move on to the tips to grant a better understanding of how and why these tips can be helpful.
Compared to other fish angling methods, fly fishing uses a special weighted line instead of a weighted lure to carry the hook through the air.
The fisherman will try to drop a lightweight lure (called a fly) towards the target, imitating a flying insect getting stuck over the water. The fly lure can either be made to float or sink, and comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
In North America, fly fishing is a popular method for catching trout, grayling, and salmon. Thanks to improvements in the design of rods and reels, fly fishing is also becoming more common for catching large ocean-going fish like sharks, marlins, and tuna.
Alright, now that’s out of the way, let’s continue on with our fly fishing tips.
9 Fly fishing Tips for Beginners
Tip 1: Invest in Your Boots
Many novices make the mistake of not investing in a good pair of waders or fishing boots. In fact, waders are arguably one of your most essential fly fishing gear.
When fishing, expect your boots to get wet. The last thing you would want is for them to be leaky and submerge your feet and socks in cold water, and by the end of the day, make your feet smell like a Florida swamp in the middle of a hot summer.
Not to mention, the dirty and damp conditions of the boots will make the risk of an infection occurring far higher. Keep your feet dry, give quality waders a try!
Tip 2: Dress Right
The element of surprise is vital to successful fishing.
If you come to the fishing venue in wearing bright, vivid colors, the fish will easily spot you and swim away. Choose an attire that blends easily with the surroundings, having muted or earthy colors.
Additionally, your attire should have a lot of pockets for obvious reasons. A fishing vest is recommended but not necessary.
Also, be sure to keep in mind that you are in the great outdoors, layering is crucial to protect yourself from the elements and to maintain your comfort throughout your long fishing session.
Tip 3: Get Yourself a Pair of Polarizing Sunglasses
When fly fishing, accidents can happen, such as the hook getting stuck in your skin or worse, injuring your eyes. This is why you should always wear a good pair of polarizing sunglasses.
Not only will they help protect your eyes from wayward casts and hooks, but they remove the glare of the waters to help you better spot your target.
Tip 4: Don’t Break the Bank on the Fishing Equipment
Your fly fishing gear such as reel, fishing rod, and lure are important. With that said, you don’t need to break the bank to get quality gear. For under $300, you can get a good quality reel/rod combo to yourself started with fly fishing.
When it comes to filling your fly collection, you would naturally feel a bit overwhelmed by the vast number of choices on offer – of every shape, size, color, and what not.
If you are new, keep your collection small and ask the shop keeper to recommend you the essential ones. Play it safe and stick to flies with tried and trusted patterns. Resist the urge to overspend.
Tip 5: Apply for a License
In most US states, you will first need to get a permit from the state’s Parks & Wildlife. Department before you can start fishing. The fees generated through licensing are used to conserve and maintain the fish habitats.
Fortunately, the process is easy, quick, and can be done in person, online, or through the phone as well.
Although for lifetime permits, you may be required to send the form through post along with a copy of other documents such as your driver’s license.
Tip 6: Know Your Knots
Familiarize yourself with the basic knots used in fly fishing. The two most widely used are the half blood knot and the overhand loop knot.
The half-blood knot is used for securing a fishing line to the fly lure and ensures the strength of the line is not compromised.
The overhand loop knot is a simple knot that forms a fixed loop in a string. It is used for tying hooks, line strings, and clips.
There are many online resources available on how to properly tie them as well as tutorials for more advance fishing knots.
Tip 7: Learn to Read the Water
Immerse yourself with the rhythm of the water, how it is flowing, the ripples being created, and the foam lines. Pay attention to any disturbance in the patterns.
If there is, there is a good chance it is because of a fish.
Tip 8: Practice Your Casting
If you have no experience with fly fishing, it is important to practice your casting first. Practice a few times on the grass first instead of a fishing pond.
Use a cotton ball instead of a fishing lure to avoid getting the line stuck in tree branches, shrubs, and other obstacles.
This way, you will familiarize yourself with the technique better and would feel less distracted when it comes to the real deal.
Once you got the hang of it, graduate to a fishing venue with calm waters and with lots of open space for easy casting.
Tip 9: Avoid Popular Spots
Fishing venues with lots of people is also a place where your chances of getting a catch are minimal. Fishes are smart and can quickly learn that the fly lure is not a pry item.
Literally, go the extra mile and find yourself a place that is calm and far less crowded. There you will be sure to have success with fishing.
Types of Fly fishing
There are three main variations of fly fishing – Dry, Wet, and Streamer. We discuss more in detail each of these types.
Dry Fly fishing
In this variant, the angler uses a floating fly to imitate aquatic insects and is mainly employed for catching trout.
Because it is straightforward to tell when you have a strike with this technique, it is usually recommended for beginners.
Wet Fly fishing
This involves using a weighted fly that sinks into the water. The angler tries to get the fly to imitate the movement of a small fish through the water to fool their potential catch.
Since this can require a fair bit of practice to get right, it is not suitable for novices.
Streamer Fly fishing
This is a fly fishing method that is often used in unfamiliar waters and is meant for catching the largest variety of fishes such as tunas and carps.
It involves the angler casts a large sinking fly called a streamer and begins retrieving it through the waters. A catch can be made quickly with this technique, but you will need plenty of practice to get it right.
What is the Best Fly?
There is no universal best fly out there.
A lot of factors such as the time of the year, the location, the size of the fish, what they eat, and even the type of insects native to the geography can influence, which may be the best fly for the situation.
Talk to the local fly shop owner and they will be best able to guide you on which fly will be most suitable for your needs.
With that said, for beginners, we still recommend the following flies, which can be effectively employed for a wide variety of catch.
- Worm – Size 8
- Mayfly – Size 16
- Ear Nymph – Size 16
- Wooly Bugger – Size 4 to 6
- Stimulator – Size 10 to 12
Is It Possible to Fish without a Permit?
Yes, it is possible, but the eligibility criteria can vary from state to state.
Usually, it includes all individuals under the age of 16 and state residents in active military service or above the age of 65.
Perhaps the most important tip we can give to novices is to have fun and enjoy your experience. Don’t be frustrated if you are unable to land a catch on your first few tries.
On your first few trips, be sure to go with an experienced guide who will act as your mentor and teach you things you otherwise would have taken several seasons to figure out yourself.