August 12th, 2002

Your New Rod
By James Castwell

Ok, so here you are. You got the new fly rod, been out whipping up some foam on a hunk of water, had a great time and you now realize there are a few things yet to learn about the game. You may already have found some of the fly fishing shows on TV. Great place for you to learn the right way to do things. Things like casting, reeling, playing a fish, landing a fish, losing a fish and how to break a fly rod. Yup, it's all there for you. Your job is to sort the 'wheat from the chaff,' so to speak.

Here are few things you might see on those shows. Some guy with a fish clear out at the end of his fly line, or farther, and he wags his rod to the left and the right to change the angle on the fish. Big deal, at long distance the only thing that will notice that is the camera man. Nothing changes out on the fishes end.

There is the guy from the old western movie, he 'fans' his reel to pick up the slack he has stripped in (instead of winding it on his reel). This line is wound very loosely with lots of overlapping coils and spaces. If the fish takes out any it will most likely jam into itself and break the fish off. Not on a tiny fish, but one you might actually want to land.

Try to get the fish on your reel as soon as possible and avoid the problems of tangling the line around the fish itself, your feet, the landing net, weeds and some jerk who is going to help you land it.

I love this scene. Our hero has stuck a fish which is, or goes downstream. He stands, holding his ground, and winches the thing upstream to him. Lots of luck Charlie. They often are surprised when it breaks off. If possible, try to get below a hooked fish, or at least even with it, you will get a lot closer to your quarry, maybe even land the thing.

When you want to put pressure on a fish, keep the rod low and pointed at the fish. Keeping the rod low and off to one side does not accomplish anything. There are times when you may want to raise the rod as high as you can over your head, that's to keep the line off of the water and avoid undesired drag from the water, but that's a special case.

When you are about to land a fish, try not to have your fly rod pointed 180 degrees from the fish. If he shakes his head or flops, you may end up with a broken rod tip. Try to hold your arm way out, elbow straight, bent at the wrist, rod pointed a bit at the fish, if he wiggles, the rod can absorb it.

Oh yes, do not put your other hand up by the first stripping guide to put more force on the fish, you will be sending it in for repairs very soon. If they wanted you to grab it up there, they would have put another handle up there.

If you get a hit on a dry or a nymph, try not to remove it's lips or rip it's teeth out on the strike. In fact, forget about striking all together. Just 'pick up' the slack, make the line tight and enjoy. The rest will come naturally. Fly fishing is not a right, it is a privilege, at least many of us look at it that way. Try to treat it as such. ~ ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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