hello all, since i can remember, fishing has been one of my biggest hobbies, all the fishing ive ever done is lake fishing though. never used a fly rod. i want to get into fly fishing (and have wanted to for a long time), but i dont know anyone that does it and i have no gear. ive seen tons of posts on this site about fly rods and the like but i was wondering if someone could give me advice on learning how to use a rod. im great with a spinning rod or baitcaster but never even held a fly rod. is it easy to learn?
like i mentioned earlier, ive seen many posts regarding fly rods on this site but i was wondering what i should look to spend on a rod. i dont need to have the best out there but i also dont wanna get something im gonna wanna replace after ive used it a few times. whats a good price range? most of my other rod reel combos range from $100-$200 if that helps at all. on a side note, i would like to bring my rod backpacking so im sure a lighter weight rod would cost more right?
I kinda started out like you, but I even had very little spin casting experience. I've backpacked for some time, and here in Colorado I was constantly passing and camping around hi mountain lakes and streams filled with trout that I could see with my own eyes. Three years ago when I really started pounding the trails seriously, I naturally just picked up fly fishing on my own. I'm no expert on the subject, but fly fishing takes some effort to learn and then even more to do well. This was my plan of attack during one off season:
First, find serious fly fishers in your social network and start hitting them up for all the advice you can steal from them. Coworkers, friends, relatives (even those you historically didn't like), customers, etc......as soon as you show interest in their favorite hobby they will talk your ear off about the subject.
Secondly, you gotta either read up on fly fishing or watch some videos. I am a subscriber to netflix, and they have tons of videos you can rent and watch at home. Bottom line, you have to learn the basics of fly fishing (tying knots and casting) before you can ever get on the water to start practicing. These videos will show you how to get started.
Thirdly, you're gonna need a rig setup. You don't know what an expensive rod and reel are supposed to feel like, so start off fairly inexpensive. I first bought a rod/reel/fly line combo from Temple Fork Outfitters for $199. The rod and reel were not very high quality, but it was of decent quality and even came with a carrying tube. And the combo rigs come with everything you need to get started right out of the box. The reel comes with a flyline and leader already spooled on, so just tie a fly onto the leader and you're ready to catch fish.
Fourth, I practiced tying knots at home and practiced fly casting all winter in the park. Come spring, I tagged along with some other experienced fisherman on some day trips and they showed me how to catch fish.......like setting the hook and landing/playing trout.
When it comes to prices on fly fishing gear, the sky's the limit. But most fly fishing rods are made of very light material, and the rest of the tackle for that matter. In fly fishing, weight is rarely an issue (unless you're a die hard ounce nazi), and extra spending doesn't necessarily mean huge savings in ounces. High costs in rods and reels usually equates to action and performance. Even my first cheaper rod was very lightweight. And most rods break down to either 2 pieces or 4 pieces which make them perfect for backpacking. And don't think you're gonna need all of the typical gear when you backpack....like vests, waders, nets, tons of tools, etc. When I backpack or even fish waters close to my car, the only other tackle I take can fit on a lanyard I hang around my neck and the rest can fit into a small camera carrying case.
As for me, I prefer fishing high mountain lakes to cast to trout that rarely, if ever see humans. Just because you fly fish doesn't mean you have to fish moving water. Streams and rivers are fun to fish, but I guess what I'm saying is....lakes can be just as fun.
As I always say, I don't envy anyone who is just starting out this is the sport because the expense can become astronomical-- you can drop $40 on just 20 flies for an afternoon on the river. However, once you are all geared up the cost is minimal (gas money etc).
For learning how to cast: look on YouTube, there are some excellent instructional videos on there. Join social networks (meetup.com etc). This is a great way to make new friends, learn new techniques and waters as well work out what equipment you really need.
At home, head out into your garden and cast, cast, cast. You could probably get the backcast and roll cast down (at least good enough to catch fish) in a short afternoon. Besides casting, practice your knots: namely the improved cinch (tippet to fly) and Surgeon's Knot (tippet to tippet or leader)-- again, there are great videos available.
However the best advice I can give is to call into your local fly-shop and inquire about any courses/clinics being offered that will teach you the basics of knot tying, rod rigging, fly selection and casting basics. For your first time out, I would also consider hiring a guide who knows the waters, can offer information, work with on your technique, provide some gear and put you onto fish!
As for rod/reel combos. Look on Cabelas.com for some budget deals and again call around your area for deals. My local flyshop currently as an Orvis Clearwater II rod, Ross Flycast 2 reel, Rio flyline and a Rio leader for $250. For a first rod, I would go to an actual store and try them out-- what feels good in my hands, may not in yours.
When you are BP/FF ounce counting becomes a fruitless exercise. The gear I take weighs around 8lb-- I could knock off around 5lbs if I switched to wet-wading.