If you haven’t tried fly fishing as a recreational activity, it is time to check it out. Although the majority of the country’s population does not live within close proximity of gold-medal trout waters, there are still many great opportunities to catch trout on a fly within a half-day’s drive of the northern two-thirds of the US. Plus, traveling to a world-class destination is not as expensive or difficult as it may appear. Almost every city west of Denver has great trout fishing opportunities nearby – even Phoenix and Los Angeles. Many potential fly fishermen are put off by the apparent high costs of getting geared up, but in reality, purchasing everything needed to get started in the sport does not have to be a painful process. It is smart to start cheap and wait until you are sure that you enjoy fly fishing before buying really expensive equipment. The following tips were created to help people who are interested in learning about exactly what is needed to productively fly fish – from a gear perspective, anyway.
Understanding wader options
There used to be just two options when it came to fly fishing waders: heavy or hot. Now, with the advent of breathable waders, there is finally a product that allows for a respectable amount of comfort while wading. This piece of equipment is mandatory if you may find yourself fishing any sort of moving water situation for trout. The old styles of waders were made out of binding neoprene or bulky rubber, and there is hardly ever a need to purchase either of those kinds of waders anymore. With breathable waders, it is possible to layer up for cold weather, and this style of product is a pleasure to wear when it is warm out. The early models were expensive, but now there are quality lightweight waders that can be found for under $60-$75. Try shopping online or at one of the big outdoor sports retailers for the best prices. Waders are not a piece of gear that should be skimped on, and keep in mind that you will need to purchase boots if you buy a bootless set. In the long run, buying bootless waders and separate boots is the more comfortable way to go.
Rod and reel basics
After waders, the fly rod and reel are the most essential tools of the sport. There are far too many options for beginners to make informed decisions on which products to buy. For typical trout fishing situations, an 8.5-foot or 9-foot, five-weight rod will do the trick. When just starting out, try not to spend more than $200 for a rod alone, in case you do not really take to fly fishing. The reel only becomes important when fishing for big trout, and a model in the $25-$75 range will suffice when learning the sport. There are many high-quality and inexpensive reels currently available.
The type of fly line you will need is also worth paying close attention to. A weight-forward, floating line is what you are looking for. Try to find a fly line that is dull colored. The best lines retail for $45 to $70, but deals can be found by searching Internet auction Web sites.
This is where things get complicated, and there are entire fly shops devoted to selling every possible piece of tackle that a fly angler could possibly need. It is a good idea to get a vest of some sort to hold everything while you are fishing, and you will need some flies and boxes to put them in. Stock up on terminal tackle like tippet (extra monofilament for adding to leaders), 7.5-foot leaders, split-shot and strike indicators. Be sure to get some basic tools like scissors and pliers, and a good pair of polarized sunglasses should be worn at all times while on the water. Ask plenty of questions if you are getting geared up at a brick and mortar store to ensure that you find everything that you need, but the essentials I have covered above will pull you through your first experience. After that, you will have a pretty good idea of what tackle and gear you really need.
Hiring a guide
The absolute quickest and least expensive way to cut down fly fishing’s learning curve is to hire a guide the first time or two you go fly fishing. These professionals are not hard to find on the Internet, and their lives are devoted to helping beginners become better fly fishermen. Although guide fees may seem steep, a good teacher will tell you exactly what you need to have in order to catch fish, and that will end up saving money in the long run. Plus, the chances of actually landing a trout the first time out increases significantly if a guide becomes involved in the process.
Getting started in fly fishing does not have to be an overly-complicated or financially traumatic experience. With the myriad of decent quality, price-conscious fly fishing products on the market, the sport has never been more accessible. If you are searching for an activity that will bring you closer to nature and provides hours of relaxation, fly fishing may just be right up your alley, and you could discover an activity that you will enjoy for the rest of your life.