November 4th, 2002

How To Fly Fish
By James Castwell

Buy a rod, fly rod. Those kit sets will be just fine for now, they have all you need and then some, get about a five weight (5), or one marked 4/5 or 5/6. This will work for most trout and panfish. If you buy your gear separately, go for the rod, a cheap reel, cheap line, cheap leader and forget tippet stuff. Tie the fly right to the leader. When you start out, try to practice first, use a piece of yarn, not a fly. You will quickly ruin the leader, don't worry about that, keep casting, a few knots in it will not hurt much, especially how you are casting at first. Use a 3X leader, it is about 8 pounds, will hold all you are going after, and will cast most flies, except really big ones and really little ones. This How to Cast article makes casting simple.

You can put some backing on the reel if you like, it just fills the reel up to the top some, making the coils of line on it bigger instead of all crammed down by the spindle. Most guys will break the first rod they buy, deal with it, it will probably happen. But not by casting, most likely stringing it up, ripping a snagged fly from a tree or stepping on it.

By then you will be able to cast better. Go buy a better rod, the reel is still OK. As your casting gets better and you actually know the difference between a floating Adams and a bead head nymph you may be ready for a new fly line, one of those fifty buck numbers, probably a WF5F or a WF6F, match the line to the rod you get. If it's another 5/6 either line will work. The 5 will make the rod seem faster, the 6 will make it cast slower (it's heavier). If you spend a few bucks on a rod it might only be marked with a 5 or a 6, if so, get a line exactly matched for it.

Buy a spool of tippet stuff, start using it, it will extend the life of your leaders, which you are going thru rather fast. Use a section of 4X tippet on the end of a 3X leader, works for most conditions. Learn to tie your knots better, you may actually catch a nice fish, be a shame to lose it. There is good knot instruction here.

By now if you are not yet stopping your rod on the front and back casts, start doing it. That will make the line go out faster and farther too. You will be able to fish in the wind if you learn this. If the fly hits the water behind you when you cast, this is an absolute at this time.

Do not start tying your own flies yet, that costs a whole lot more than buying them at this time. By the time you are ready to tie flies, you will hardly ever lose one. Kinda of a paradox, but true. Spend your money on good rods, lines, eels and leaders now. You are no longer a beginner. Welcome to our world, treat it responsibly.

P.S. If you really want to you can learn to tie flies now. It's fun, and it's a long winter. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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