This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
February 19th, 2007

New to Fly Fishing?

It seems many new to the sport, as they get to know a few old-timers, (or start visiting the local fly shop) are a bit overcome by the vast amount of gear it takes to flyfish. Horse-pucky! It is not needed, just accumulated. Well, and sometimes collected.

Remember when you got your first new suit? Now you have more than one and perhaps a couple of sport-coats as well. Cars don't count, you trade them in. But how about guns? One shotgun at first, then you find a need for more than one gauge and maybe a rifle too. And so it goes. You buy some things, inherit some, and buy some more.

It's like that in fly-fishing too. As you continue, you learn which rods work best for what, your interests in fly-fishing expand, your casting develops and the stuff piles up. The rod you have now, the 'one-and-only fly rod' will be just fine . . . for now. Time and experience will dictate if you continue, develop and buy more.

Straight-up, you need a rod, reel, line, leader and a few flies. That's it. We all started with just that. You don't need a vest, use your shirt pockets. You don't have enough to put in a vest yet anyhow. If you get a vest you will need to buy all kinds of silly things to stuff into it.

Waders? I started fly-fishing without them. I will admit, I soon got some. It depends on how cold the water is you fish in. Try not to spend too much on the first fly-rod if you haven't already done so, good chance you will break it. Inexperience, period. These are made to cast, not drag snags out of the stream and break branches off trees. They are more fragile than spinning-rods, and supposed to be.

Full guarantee? Great, but what are you going to do with the rest of the day if it breaks? You will need a spare leader or two, these things mess up fast. Sorry, no fix for that other than learning how to cast better.

The snow will melt, the leaves are in bud, the season is near. Go buy your outfit and have at it. How much to spend? You cannot get a bad fly rod for $75 and up, spend at least that much. Less than that and it gets 'iffy.' Reel? Just a line holder, right? Right, use your head. The fly line is important, more than you may think. A great rod will not cast a crappy line, but a fair rod will perform fine with a good line. Look at about $50 or so. If you check the sponsors on this site you will find everything you need.

I'm not saying to necessarily buy 'on-line,' you probably could use some personal help as well. Actually, some manufacturers refuse to sell 'on-line' anyway. That call is yours.

Finally, keep coming here. Read the columns for beginners, (Fly Fishing 101) hit the chat-room, great bunch in there, all willing to help you. Take a friend with you fishing, join a local club, get out and get wet.

Go fish! ~ The LadyFisher

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