Buying clothes for fly fishing – my advice

As you already know if you’ve read my previous posts I am an avid flyfisherman. There is nothing that I like better than standing in a freezing cold stream casting for trout and other types of  panfish. Over the years I have bought all kinds of clothing, some worked great and others made it almost impossible for me to move my arms freely. To prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did, here is some advice that will hopefully help you buy the right clothes for fly fishing.

 

 

Boots

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Never underestimate the importance of a good pair of waterproof boots. I happen to think that they are more important than your waders. You will be standing in water and it will be cold, and the last thing you want is to try and fish with freezing feet. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous to your health. Along with ensuring the boots are fully waterproof, you also want them to come with plenty of traction. This way you can safely navigate the wet and slippery terrain.

 

 

Waders

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Even though I said boots were more important, I do own a pair of waders. There are several styles to choose from, but I prefer ones that are chest high. Mine also come with a belt so I can just as easily wear them as pants when the temperature starts to rise. You can also find waders with attached boots, but I still prefer to purchase my footwear separately. I do own a pair of wader that came with socks. This way I have complete waterproof protection and can still wear the boots that I prefer. The main advantage to choosing waders that come with boots is that it can be a little easier on your wallet since you don’t have to buy additional footwear.

 

 

Hat

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There are hats that are designed specifically for fly fishing, but personally I just wear a baseball cap. I already know that it will fit my head perfectly, and the bill does a great job of shielding my face from the bright sun. When it comes to choosing a hat or even if you wear one it will be a matter of personal preference.

 

 

Vests and shirts

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Some fly fishermen prefer wearing a shirt with a lot of pockets and that is perfectly okay. You just want to make sure that the material is comfortable, and that the shirt is not too big. You want to be able to move freely, but you don’t want it to be loose enough that it interferes with your casts and retrievals. I usually just wear an old long or short sleeve t-shirt depending on the weather, along with a fly fishing vest. My vest came with several pockets so I can easily keep my gear organized, and it also has a mesh liner that helps to wick moisture away. This way I can stay cool and dry, even during the heat of the day.

Casting techniques for fly fishing

ti3Even though there are many variations on the same theme, I’ve personally experienced with six major types of casting techniques for fly fishing. Roll casting is something I typically do when there’s not enough room behind me, which is why I traditionally apply this method when I’m on the water. Two-stroke casting is a technique that can be performed when you have plenty of room available both behind you and in your front. Haul casting is what you’re forced to do when the wind is strong and you really have no other way of going about things other than applying a different technique, which consists of casting with the wind. This is what I normally do when I don’t have a lot of time on my hands and I can’t afford to waste it by trying to battle a fierce wind.

 

As for the various surface techniques, I can tell you that there are two: dry fly fishing or wet fly fishing. With the first, the experience becomes two-dimensional as the fly will rest on the surface of the water. This method is not so recommended to beginners and rookies who have not yet acquired a lot of experience when it comes to mastering the works of fly fishing. By contrast, wet fly fishing is three-dimensional and somewhat easier to master, which is why many fishermen choose it at the beginning of their fishing adventures.

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Tight loop and open loop casting styles sound like they’re out of this world, but they’re really not that difficult to perform. In an open loop, also known as no loop, you have to wave the rod so that the tp manages to move in a convex path that’s somehow exaggerated. With a tight loop, also known as a narrow loop, the lines are parallel and close together, and the path of the line on the rod tip is almost straight. A tight loop is significantly easier to perform compared to its counterpart because it requires less energy and manages to be reasonably efficient even when the wind is strong.

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If you don’t have any idea what I’m trying to tackle in this post, you probably need to use the basic forward casting technique. I’ll explain the basics so that even beginner fishermen can have their pick. The first thing you want to do is load your fly rod and grip it as if you were shaking a person’s hand. Start back casting in the position you find most comfortable with because this is the key consideration when starting to learn how to fly fish. When the fly line has left the surface, you have to pause and allow the momentum do its part. Continue by forward casting and try to make the movement as relaxed as possible. Make sure that your line is as straight as possible because otherwise, it will wander and carry your fly, as well.

 

It goes without saying that all of your equipment should be in top shape and you should wear a pair of sunglasses and a hat in order to protect yourself from getting hurt by the fly. Other than that, all I can say is that practice makes perfect, so be sure to try out these techniques as often as your time allows you to.

Here’s some visual aids:

 

 

Choosing your fly rod – my advice

The best fly rod has three primary purposes. It is used to cast by allowing the casting of your fly line with effective power and accuracy. If you already possess good fly casting skills, a premium quality fly rod should enable efficient presentation of the fly and fly line so the fish doesn’t get spooked. You also use a fly rod to get control of the line. Once you learn how to do it properly, the fly rod provides control over your line when it’s already out on the water. You also use the fly rod for hook setting and for fighting and landing your fish. Because of this, the fly rod needs to be rigid and flexible enough to bend accordingly with the pressure while resisting breakage.
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Fly fishing rods used to be made of bamboo, which made them difficult to handle aside from being heavy. With advanced fishing rod technology, fly rods have evolved to become lighter and easier to handle thanks to the use of graphite or fiberglass in their construction. Fiberglass rods are a favorite of beginners and experts alike in most situations. Fiberglass rods tend to withstand wear better compared to graphite models. Graphite fly fishing rods may be more expensive than fiberglass ones but they do provide greater accuracy in casting. My advice: choose the fly rod material you believe gives you greater comfort and convenience.

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How quickly your rod will rebound refers to its action, or simply the flexibility or stiffness of the rod when pulled in a certain direction. Of course, the size of the fish you intend to catch determines the level of action the rod should be equipped with. Your personal technique also influences this factor. Slow action rods are tight3flexible types that are designed for reeling in small and lightweight species. Slow action models are designed with the most bend so beginners may find them difficult to control. Accuracy for short-range casting is guaranteed with slow action fly fishing rods, however. Medium action rods serve well for both long and short range casting. Easy to handle for beginners, medium action rods have greater flexibility compared to other types thanks to how they bend in the central portion of their entire length and also at the tip. Rods that bend at the endmost segment are stiff fast action rods. Not designed to give plenty of give, fast action models will not be easy to handle for a beginner and are also not designed for long distance casting and reeling in of large fish. My advice: choose the rod action that you can handle with your own skill set.

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Fly fishing action is also influenced by the length of the fishing rod. You can expect less action due to less torque generated by shorter rods during casting and reeling. Short rods (less than 8 feet) are perfect when fishing in areas where longer rods would be useless, as in locations with plenty of trees, or with a small stream size or where there’s plenty of obstruction. Medium size rods (8 to 9 feet) are a favorite for most fishing conditions and locations thanks to their longer casting and ability to handle greater weight compared to short rods. Large rods measure over 9 feet long and are preferred by anglers because of their longer casting ability and reliable performance for catching large game fish. My advice: go for the rod length that gives you better control over your casting and that you can match with your choice of line.

Fly fishing: beginner’s kit

A lot of anglers love fly fishing because it improves their fishing experience and offers them the opportunity of learning new techniques while having fun and targeting various species. Nevertheless, the gear needed to attempt fly fishing, is quite different from that used for your usual fishing techniques. First and foremost, what makes this method so different from others is that the line plays an important role when you cast, being specially weighted so that you can achieve optimal casts.

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The lines used in fly fishing are considerably heavier than the ones used for spin or baitcasting gear. This happens because, as the bait for this technique is very light, a heavy line is needed to perform the casting. Similarly to other fishing methods, the weight of the line must be adapted to your type of rod. There are many ways through which you can achieve a perfect line/rod duo. But, if you’re a beginner, you may want to match them by using same weight items. In addition, make sure your line goes well with the bait you are using.

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As a general rule, lines used in fly fishing float and are coated with a range of materials to increase their weight and maintain them above water. However, in some circumstances, you may be in need of a sinking line, used with baits such as nymphs that go underwater. As you can see, choosing a proper line for your beginner’s kit is not simple. Moreover, the fly line is connected to the rod through the leader and tippet that have to be adjusted to the weight of your line too. My advice for novice fly fishermen is to rely on the manufacturer’s choice for their first fly fishing kit. Many brands offer complete packages that include basic rod and reel combos, various lines and simple baits. The difficult part in choosing such a kit is to make the right brand choice. As such, to ensure you get a decent pack, you should check the offer of famous manufacturers and see what the fishing technique they specialize in is.

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If you’re not willing to buy a complete package, because you’d like to have more space to choose the gear on your own and according to your preferences, you may acquire the lines and baits separately, but choose a rod and reel combo that you find appropriate for you, as it is more difficult to team up these two in a harmonious combination and efficient combination. Nevertheless, as a general rule, the shaft of the rod varies between 8 and 9 feet long – this being considered the optimal length for fly fishing.

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Besides the basic items: baits, reels and rods and lines, fly fishing makes use of an entire range of auxiliary equipment. Clothing, for example, is essential, if you want to fish at all during your trip. An important garment you must keep around, if you want to fly fish are waders that will allow you to get in the water and, tight9thus, be closer to your catch. If you don’t have them, a pair of high waterproof fishing boots can be used as a replacement. If you do get into the water, a waterproof vest with many pockets for gear storage can come in handy (don’t forget to check if the zippers are waterproof as well). You may have a hard time in the beginning in assessing the costs of your entire gear, but you’ll learn how to acquire them at an affordable price when you gain experience. However, your first gear purchase may cost you a pretty penny, if you want to buy everything you need at once and be ready for fishing.

 

My passion: fly fishing

I think most people decide to take on a type of fishing for several reasons, from which the most important is the calm and sheer relaxation it provides, that’s interrupted only by the excitement you feel when something bites (or seems to bite). It’s an activity that offers you plenty of time to reflect on your problems and come up with solutions that you could never think of in some other circumstances.

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The type of fishing you choose to practice is entirely based on personal preferences. I’ve seen people fishing only on the border of a lake, while others prefer wading in the surf, not because it’s the most fun, but because it appeals to them more. I started fly fishing with a friend some years ago and I loved the basic cast, the loop that the fly line forms when it’s in the air, the simple motion of the rod and I continued doing it. In time, I got better, learnt new techniques other than the basic cast, improved my gear, and bought all the items and tools that I needed to make my tackle equipment highly efficient. I am now self-trained in all things related to fly fishing and I dare say not many have similar skills.

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Just the other day, I met a fisherman who was new to this particular fishing style. He said he felt quite attached to it since he started practicing it during holidays and I replied that I perfectly understood how that feels like. For an hour or so, I helped him with some basics; he liked my teaching and suggested that I should help others train as a hobby, or at least create a blog about my fishing experiences. It didn’t occur to me until I heard him say it, but that particular idea had an appeal to me. After all, if I have the passion and the knowledge, why not help others get acquainted with fly fishing?

If you’re thinking about starting fly fishing, you can browse the internet for some useful tips and then try your luck. This blog will explain the basics of fly fishing, teach you some useful techniques, do’s and don’ts, pros and cons, busting some myths about fishing in general and inform people on other related  topics that I think could be useful for those interested. Though in the beginning it may seem a bit difficult, fishing gives back much more than you invest in it. It’s really a time that belongs to you alone, with nobody to disturb you, during which you can empty your mind and temporarily put aside all your problems and worries.

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If that hasn’t convinced you, think that fishing is a sport in which you can nurture many skills you didn’t know you possessed. You can even go professional and participate in small competitions and tournaments. There’s even the possibility that you win good money by practicing this sport, believe it or not. That’s all for today, I’ll be back with a fly fishing post soon!