First we will start with my story and then talk about some tips to get you going. I started out in the late1970’s with a very cheap rod and reel and a few flies. I went out on a stream with a beaver dam and from the highest point started trying to cast after 3 days of trying I managed to catch a fish or 2( luckily they were hungry). I have been at it for 40 + years and still do not get the best casts but I catch fish regularly. Over the years I have up graded to better equipment, I try to stay with mid range price for budget reasons. Nothing better than seeing a trout take a dry fly off the top of the water that is what hooked me. One thing you will have to decide a some point during the journey is weather to strip the fish in( using your hand to pull the fish up to shore) or use the reel. I like to strip them in as I find I have better control of the fish but a lot of people use the reel.
History of Fly Fishing
There does not seem to be an official record of when flyfishing began but there is an account by a Roman, Claudius Aelianus at the end of the second century. Here is that account
“Macedonians have planned a snare for the fish, and get the better of them by their fisherman’s craft. . . . They fasten red wool. . . Round a hook, and fit on to the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in color are like wax. Their rod is six feet long, and their line is the same length. Then they throw their snare, and the fish, attracted and maddened by the color, comes straight at it, thinking from the pretty sight to gain a dainty mouthful; when, however, it opens its jaws, it is caught by the hook, and enjoys a bitter repast, a captive.’
there is another account in a book “Fishing From The Earliest Time,” by William Radcliff, he said that Marcus Valerius Martialis (born more than 200 years before Aelianus), mentioned flyfishing in one of his early writings. He wrote “…Who has not seen the scarus rise, decoyed and killed by fraudful flies…
Rod and Reel
If you are just trying flyfishing for the first time, I would not go out and spend a lot of money. A better way is to find “that friend who fly fishes” and get him to take you out, believe me if he fishes a lot he will have more than enough gear to let you try. Another way is to take a course in flyfishing this will give you the basics of how things work and what type of rod and reel to get if you like it. the course will also give you some basics of how to cast and match everything up so it works the best. You should be able to find a course in most Cities around the world
Line and Leader
The best way to set up your Reel is at the store were you got it at least the first time, they will insure you get the right weight of line and proper backing. If you plan on doing it your self you will need to know what weight your rod is, it is on the rod, normally by the handle should be 2 numbers like 3/4,5/6 etc. You should make sure your reel works with the rod then you will need to get backing, line and some leaders, leader material and then put it all together.
There are a few different ways to fly fish, they each have a technique all their own and there own followers some of us fish all of them some only fish one of them. Each technique has a time of the year when it works the best. Let start with.
A dry fly is one that ideally floats on top of the water and the fish grabs it from there. there are lots of different styles but some of the more popular are patterned after mayflies, caddis fly, midges,stone flies,grasshoppers,and damselflies, there are different types of each one depending on water conditions and time of year.
Wet flies imitate water bugs and hatching bugs (Caddis, mayflies) that hatch on the bottom and then go to the top of the water to dry out and fly away. there also shrimp, fish eggs, worms in the water along with a few other aquatic bugs. there are 2 distinct types of wet flies they are Nymphs and Chrominids. Wet flies usually require some weight to get the fly to the fish and knowing you have a bite is either by way of strike indicator or by feel.
Streamer are large flies imitating bait fish, leeches, crayfish and other small animal. They are cast out and stripped back in by the fisherman. Used more for predatory fish. I use streamers in the spring when the fish are hungry and usually more aggressive. It is a lot of fun to feel a big fish grab the streamer and try and pull it out of your hand
So to wrap this up if you decide to take up flyfishing as a hobby don’t get rapped up in the hype that you need expensive gear and lessons to learn to cast. Just get some decent gear and go have fun. Don’t get me wrong if you get into it like a lot of us have it will consume your life in a good way all holidays revolve around fishing and all you want for Christmas is gear.
I think every fly shop should have a worning on the door telling you those who enter here will be forever chasing the next fish no matter the cost. Of course there are more ways to get into this hobby as you can also start tying flies but we will leave that for another time.