The Beginner's Guide to Fly Fishing
As you might have noticed on our Instagram and Facebook, we invited a few select guests back to Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club to reconnect with nature and themselves after a stressful New York Fashion Week.
One of the ways our friends relaxed during our NYFW Decompress event was through fly fishing. An activity that our CEO Kristina Lindhe encourages everyone to try. Hence, this little guide below.
You’ve found your new calling, and it’s fly fishing. You love the idea of getting your feet wet and tackling the trout of your dreams. But where do you start? Well, you start with the prize. Knowing what kind of fish you’re trying to reel in will help you decide on the type of equipment to use.
Choosing the right rod for your needs
As a beginner, you’d probably want to go to a professional store to figure out the type of rod you’ll be using. Normally, the rod you need depends on both the water you’ll be fly fishing in and the fish you’re trying to catch. According to Redington, a fly-fishing gear maker, smaller, rivers, streams and brooks require short fly rods between 6-9 feet, while fly rods between 9-11 feet are ideal for lakes, flats and larger rivers.
The weight of the rod correlates with the type of water you’ll be fishing in as well. Generally, fishing in smaller rivers and streams calls for lighter rod weight, while heavier rods are suited for larger rivers.
What’s your casting style?
The next thing to think about is the type of casting you’ll be doing. That will help you choose the action rod best suited for your needs. There are different types of action rods, and they’re all described differently. For beginners, most fishing experts recommend a medium (moderate) action rod. This action rod is the most versatile with a good all-round performance. It’s suited to the widest range of fishing conditions making it perfect for most rookies. Regardless of which action rod you decide on, you’ll have to get a feel for it before you commit. We suggest testing the waters with an experienced fly fisher who has multiple gears.
Line, Leaders and Tippets
First-time anglers are normally recommended to choose a floating fly line to start and then adding the intermediate and sinking lines to their collection as they become more experienced. As the name might suggest, a floating fly line is used to set the bait (dry fly or wet fly) right on the surface or just below the surface of the water. Intermediate fly lines and sinking fly lines will help the angler reach fish in deeper water. However, sinking fly lines are available in different sink rates.
Once you’ve decided on the type of line, you’ll have to match your line to your rod and reel. The easiest way to do that is by looking at the number on your rod. Your rod should display the recommended size of the line normally above the handle. If you receive professional help while shopping for your gear, the clerk should be able to give you recommendations based on your rod and needs.
The leaders and tippets are the cheapest part of your equipment and can even be DIY’d — something we don’t suggest if you’re just starting. For a successful fly fishing experience, you’ll need to consider three things: length, the breaking strain and if you want the leader to float or sink. We might sound like a broken record by now, but again what you choose depends on the weather conditions, your fishing location and target fish. According to troutcatchers.co.uk, shallow water calls for longer leaders, while smaller streams and brooks require you use short leaders.
The breaking strain, which means the amount of force it takes to break the line, is, guess what, dependent on the type of fish you’re trying to catch. The larger the fish the bigger the breaking strain should be, and, of course, a smaller fish calls for a line with a smaller breaking strain.
The very basic info on flies
As you know, there are a plethora of flies in nature, so it’s no surprise that there are hundreds of fishing flies available to anglers today. Your local fly-fishing store is your best resource, and the staff will help you find the right fishing flies for your salmons, carps, pikes and trout. To narrow you’re your options, you’ll need to know your target fish and whether you’re fly fishing on the surface of the water, just below the surface of the water or in deep water — all things you should know by the time you get to shopping for fishing flies.
Congrats! You’ve now successfully matched your fly-fishing equipment. But before you get “reelly” excited, read part two of this guide which is a different kettle of fish.