March 20th, 2006

So You're New
By James Castwell


Each spring it is this way. I see them on the bulletin board and I get email from you guys. Funny thing is you only want a little clarification on which gear to use for what and when and where. The answer is that it's no big deal. Let me try to simplify that.

Does it matter if the feathers you buy come from a craft store for a buck a bag instead of big Bob's Bass Boutique? Nope, not right now it doesn't. Not for you. Not yet at least. It will later, but not right now. You also see it that way because you know of some stuff you can get to spray on the flies you are tying and it will make them float just fine. For now... go for it.

The 'real' fur in the fly shops falls into the same category. Why blow big bucks when the fake stuff from the Emporium looks just like it? You're right. Tie up some flies and hit the water. The truth is, fish will eat darn near any and everything... sooner or later. Will your flies look exactly like the ones in the books or the pro-shop? Not a chance, but will they catch fish? Well, not as often as the fancy ones, but, something will probably hit them. Who knows, maybe even better. The best part is, they are yours and that counts for a whole lot.

Now, if you feel you are willing to pay the bucks for the real things and will have far more confidence in them, well, lay out the cash. Might be worth it. But, remember, you are just getting started and the main object is to get you in the water and your fly on the water, or the other way around, whatever.

Leaders? Yes you can use just plain old spinning line. No, it will not lay out your fly quite as nicely as a four buck tapered leader with a fancy tippet, but right now you don't have a clue which one to buy, don't know what tippet is and can't see any need to learn a bunch of fancy knots. Bass, Trout, Carp. You name it. For now, just go fishing.

Do you know the difference between a tapered weight forward line and a double tapered one? Of course not and are too embarrassed to go into a high dollar fly shop to ask. No one wants to look like a jerk and I don't blame you. Use what ever line you can afford, just try to get one on sale if possible.

Don't sweat the rod thing either. Got a hand-me-down? Terrific. If it's an old cane one it might bust, but there is only one way to find out. Most were really cheap things and if used a lot are already broken. If it looks like it was used much, probably a fairly decent one or it would have broke by now. Be careful with it. Remember, they aren't spinning rods, you can't make a hoop out of them more than once.

Chances you have a plastic rod. They are less likely to break, but if you put your mind to it, you can get 'er done with one of those too. The main thing is to tie a fly, wet or dry onto a hunk of something resembling a leader which is knotted to the end of the fly line and go fly fishing. You will have many years to learn all of the other little parts of it.

In fact, that is what is so much fun. Learning how to do it. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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