Fly Fishing Tips
Like many endeavors and sporting activities it can be said about fly fishing that it takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master. Here we are going over just a few simple tips to enhance your enjoyment of this great sport. Of course you should focus on the type of fishing you plan on doing most such a trout fishing, saltwater fly fishing or salmon fishing. At some point you may want professional instruction so you may want to consider professional fishing guides, fly fishing courses or reading additional fly fishing resources. There is always a lot more to learn. Here are just a few tips for the freshwater fly fisherman.
Casting – the art of casting a fly line can be a complex and detailed skill but it can also at times be simple and become second nature. One great idea is simply to practice. Many fly casters only cast when they are actually out fishing and this is definitely a mistake. You should consider it a ritual of spring to get your rods in working order. Check and replace lines if needed, check the cleanliness and mechanics of your reel and then go out on the lawn and simply practice fly casting. This will help get you ready for the fishing season, improve your technique and help develop that second nature aspect of casting. Practicing on flat ground is fine although casting onto water (such as a backyard swimming pool) is a bit better as the pick up of the line off the water is simulated. One of my favorite instructors is world renowned fisherman Lefty Kreh. He has some excellent information on the mechanics of casting. He is the author of many books and articles, internet videos and often conducts demonstrations at various fly fishing shows. I have been fornunate to attend his presentations at various fly fishing shows held in the winter. He certainly can prove to be very helpful in improving your casting.
Using proper sunglasses can be another important fishing tip. Polarized sunglasses will prove to be extremely helpful when fly fishing to protect your eyes, reduce glare off the water, help you spot fish and increase safety while wading. If you don’t own a good pair of polarized fishing glasses then you won’t really see whats going on around you! So be sure you’ve got some cool looking and practical shades! Make use of a wading staff for stream fishing. After many years of fishing without a wading staff I eventually picked one up. The very first day I wished I had done this years before. It makes virtually all wading easier and safer. It also helps as you work your way through thick brush on shore. The collapsible shock corded staffs are easy to carry and snap together almost instantly and are tethered to your belt so they don’t float away. Do yourself a favor and get one before your next trip to a stream.
Is your vest made of mesh? Virtually all top fly fishing manufacturers product a line of mesh vests. The number of pockets and carrying capacity is generally the same as with other vests. Since you virtually never would expect a fishing vest to keep you warm (you would wear regular warm clothing for that of course) why not where a mesh vest as it will be able to help you keep cool in hot weather. Yhis is just something to think about next time you are in the market for a vest.
Wade minimally on the stream. When approaching a section of river you plan to fish, it is often best to approach with stealth, keep a low profile, move slowly and quietly so as not to spook the fish. Standing high on a rock overlooking a pool and casting your shadow onto the water is considered a good way to scare fish. It is a very common mistake that an excited fisherman will charge into the river, frightening the fish before the very first cast. I wish I had a new wooly bugger for every time I have seen a fisherman standing in the middle of a nice pool or run, standing in the exact spot where he should be casting to! Obviously those fish are long gone due to the fisherman’s over anxious actions. Read the water and position yourself appropriately. So remember to wade slowly, don’t scare the fish and make a good casting presentation!
Have you ever had a problem while stringing your line through the rod? Say you just got out of the car and out on the stream you can already hear and see the hungry trout rising. You can’t wait to get fishing! You hurry to string your rod but as you pull on the end of the line or leader, it slips from your hand and every bit of that line retreats back through the eyelets. This can be very frustrating. The simple way to prevent this is to initially put off a length of line from the reel, make a single loop of several inches and than pull that through the eyelets. If it slips from your hand the loop opens up and catches before it goes back through all the eyelets. Get in the habit of doing this and it solves this annoying little problem.
Check your rod ferrules before and during fishing. When fishing with multi piece rods it is a good idea to periodically regularly check the ferrules. The more pieces you have, the more chances you have of one of the ferrules becoming loose. The last thing you want is to have a portion of your rod come loose in the middle of a cast or with a fish on the line. Also check that your reel is secure to your reel seat. Everything should be tight.
Be observant while you are fishing. This will help immensely with your fly selection. If possible scout the river prior to going fishing. Look for the stretches that will hold fish and can be accessed for fishing. When you are on the river fishing you should observe the insect activity. Lifting up submerged rocks will provide insight into the aquatic insects of the stream. Some fisherman use seins or small nets to scoop insects from the water to see what is on the menu. Birds (such as swallows) will sometimes be feeding on the same bugs as the fish. Being aware of the environment and fish feeding activities will always steer you in the right direction for choosing the correct fly.
Multi- fly rigs – If one fly is good then more is better, right? Yes, this can be true sometimes. If you are fishing a nymph with a strike indicator, or using a dry fly and getting no action, then you may want to use a dry fly as the indicator and a nymph on a dropper leader. The dry fly then will act as the strike indicator plus it will increase your chances of hooking a fish. An example of this would be to have a bushy dry fly, such as a size 14 Humpy as the dry. Tie a length of tippet material to the bend in the hook of the Humpy. For example we suggest about 20 inches on 5X tippet. To the end of that tippet you would add a small beadhead nymph. You are now ready to fish with both flies. Cast rather carefully to avoid tangling issues and use the dry fly to indicate hits on the nymph. You never know -you might just end up catching two fish at one!