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MAArcher

I want to be a fly fisherman, but I suck.

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MAArcher

I always thought fly fishing was supposed to be serenity for those that did it.  But every year I try and when I'm done flailing at the water, having spent more time trying to tie knots with invisible leaders and microscopic flies than fishing; at the end of the day, usually with a sprained ankle and no fish, I question my own sanity.  I wan't to be a fly fishermen.  I have the equipment.  I've watched "A river runs through it" a hundred times.  But I still hardly ever catch fish.  Is fly fishing just one of those things that looks good on TV and in books, but in reality, its never what its cracked up to be?  

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shoot-straight

fishing is just like hunting. its matching your wits against mother natures. in some cases, fly fishing makes catching more difficult. in other cases it makes it easier. in the end its all about location and presentation. if the fish are rising, location is easy, but presentation may be tough. if you can catch fish with other tackle in the same spot, then its your presentation that needs work. 

 

small streams sometimes offer lots of willing fish, but can be a nightmare for a novice caster. bigger streams make casting easier, but location can be difficult and if its fished hard, the fish may be very "smart".

 

you can figure it out on your own for sure, but you can fast track things by booking a guide for a day. you will learn alot in 8 hrs. 

 

is it all its cracked up to be? catching rising wild trout on a dry is a magical thing in my opinion. its just awesome. so visual. as i wrote in the other thread, bonefishing gives me a similar feel. i fly fish alot for striped bass and other species too, and its not the same for me.   

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salmontogue

It's not that difficult.  The key is to learn from an experienced flycaster.  Videos are marginally helpful but experienced coaching is essential.  I started at age eleven, the day before yesterday.

 

Perk

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Fire Marshal Bill

Fly fishing is fun! But it can be challenging also. Leaders, knots & flies can and should be practice at home not stream side. Next I would go to a pond, it doesn't matter if there are fish in the pond. Your goal is to practice your casting and line retrieval. In the meantime go to the local library and get books on Trout, what type of water do they prefer, what is their food etc. Next get a book on insects. Study the various types and learn to recognize them. I know it sounds like a lot to learn and it is, but once you get the basics down you will have more fun and in the process you may even catch a fish!! Once you master the above you will begin to experience the severity you are looking for. By the way, when you feel you have the casting down go to a stream and practice. Stream casting IS different than pond casting. But when you have the technique down adjusting to casting in a stream will be a lot easier. Have fun,good luck!!

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Salmo

Fly fishing can indeed cause serious cases of serenity, some guys get so caught up in the beauty of their own casting they can get annoyed when a fish interrupts them by grabbing the fly. Seriously.?  

 

In truth there has been more claptrap and psychological hooey written about fly fishng than any other sport which is no help to the beginner or anyone else struggling with the mechanics.  My farming family were bamboo pole, black line and worm fishermen but for some reason I got the fly fishing bug early.  Most of my first pay cheque from my first summer job went to Woolworth's for a Wright and McGill rod, a Pfueger Medalist reel, a Cortland 444 double taper fly line, a dozen flies and a plastic box to put the flies in.  I was, and still am, largely self taught, from books because I'm that old, struggled mightily and flailed the water (when I wasn't up another tree trying to save another caught up fly) until some kindly older gents took me in hand one evening at a local pond and showed me the basic mechanics.  It took some practice but the lesson stuck. So if you are truly flailing the water I would second Perk's recommendation to get some coaching, shouldn't be too hard to find in New England, then go buy a pair of Flip Focals to help with the knots.  To start with just use a few simple flies like Elk Hair Caddis dries and a few of the traditional Maine brook trout wet flies. You then need to find a nice beaver pond with lots of open space around it so your back cast doesn't get caught up in trees and holding a head of Eastern Brook Trout, eager takers that are not shy and very forgiving of sloppy casting and are not very selective of what they eat.  Worry about moving water, small flies and fussy eaters such as brown trout later. (Or not. There's a lot to be said for small Brookies, keeping it simple and having fun.). Don't worry about distance! I say that because of all the marketing hype about the latest and greatest rods and lines and how far you can expect to cast while your teeth get whiter and the girls line up on shore, faint with admiration. Accuracy and a gentle touch with the fly at close range will put more fish on the bank than any rocket ship graphite rod and $100 line shooting your fly off to the horizon.

 

Keep at it and success will come, maybe even some serenity, Grasshopper.

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PartridgeCartridge
5 hours ago, MAArcher said:

  I've watched "A river runs through it" a hundred times.  

That's mistake number 1.

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Bullwinkle

Find yourself a nice open farm pond..  Try some decent size ants or smaller rubber/foam grasshoppers. Catching bluegill is fun and great casting and roll casting practice.

 

Get yourself some These and strong cheap readers.

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Dave in Maine
23 minutes ago, PartridgeCartridge said:

That's mistake number 1.

Yup.

 

I saw it in NYC, either in previews or right after it opened, I forget exactly which and it doesn't really matter in the end.  I was already deep into flyfishing by then, so it didn't mess me up.  But, it was one of those screenings where the movie studio hands out surveys to fill out.  They even gave out pencils - this was the era of paper and pencil.  I was on the end of the row and got to glimpse at a whole bunch of survey sheets.

The screening had a whole lot more women - lots of them young and pretty good-looking (it was Manhattan, so...) - and they filled out the surveys.

From the surveys, the #1 reason to see the movie:  Brad Pitt.

One woman had answered every question "Brad Pitt".

There were one or two with hearts drawn on the paper.

That, not the fishing, was that movie's target.

 

The body/casting double for Pitt was Gary Borger's son (Jason, IIRC).  (If he's half the caster his dad is, he's better than anyone in this room.  I once saw Gary Borger smack a rabbit on the butt with his fly line, like you'd snap someone with a towel.  Not easy:  Borger was casting a whole line to do it.  I think it was a bet he was winning.) The stunt casting never works in real life.

 

The fish were hatchery fish they'd attached to the lines by piercing their jaw, sort of like piercing an ear, then tying them on.

 

The sad part in making a star-making vehicle out of the movie was that it took a great story, extremely well-written, and didn't do it justice.

 

And, for years afterward, there was all that "he's a post-movie flyfisherman" thing.  It almost killed the sport.

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atticus

Here's a few thoughts from a still novice fly fisherman

 

It's fishing not catching. Enjoy the time on the water. 

Dont try to cast too far. 

If you get frustrated, sit on the bank, smoke a cigar, enjoy a beer and see what's happening on the water

Buy a set of flip down magnifiers for seeing the tippets and flies better

Take a lesson.  There are several guys in the Merrimack valley 

You can fish very successfully with only a loop to loop connection and a cinch knot. 

Take a look at the Orvis guide to beginning fly fishing by Tom Rosenbauer. It's a great beginners how-to 

Relax and have fun. 

 

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Dave in Maine

Yup.  You can avoid years' worth of frustration by spending a little money on casting lessons from a good instructor.  Ask the guy at the fly shop who he would send his wife or girlfriend to for casting lessons.  If he says "me" and he's not one of the famous names in the sport - the guys who talk and/or demonstrate at fly shows - find another fly shop (or person to give referrals).  No sane man teaches casting to his wife/girlfriend.

The easiest way to add distance to your casts is to learn to wade stealthily and make up the distance wading, instead of going for a hero cast.

 

 

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WyomingArt

No need to worry about casting far.  A 9 foot rod, a 9 foot leader, 10-12 feet of the tapered end of the fly line will get you in range of many fish in ponds, streams or lakes.  An exception being fishing large Eastern rivers like the Delaware R or out west on the Yellowstone or Snake..

 

If you have someplace to fish for Bluegills, Crappies with a small popper you'll learn a lot just by trial and error. And those species are pretty forgiving if you slap the line down near them. As mentioned above Brookies are near suicidal and will teach you a lot in a hurry.

 

Are there any junior colleges near by that offer a fly fishing course? Most fly shops will have a staffer who can teach. Any fly fishing clubs near?

 

I've been fly fishing for 63 years, guided on some great western waters, and still learning and  enjoying it. 

 

Caveat: Homework for tonight, learn about removing hooks with the line loop technique. It's cheaper and faster than going to the ER.  Practice on an orange or similar with a tough skin.  By the way, a rule of thumb fishing guides use is never give the client a fly larger than you'd want to be hooked with.

 

Good luck in your quest and don't give up.

 

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Jakeismydog2

I spent a summer teaching "fly fishing" to teenagers at a summer camp. Really it was just fly casting as no trout was interested in feeding with 10 teenagers splashing around and slapping the water. Here was my observation from that time. 

 

The girls were were so much easier to teach. They had no clue how to cast so they would listen and watch then do it. The boys all  considered themselves fisherman. So they paid very little attention to the instruction, then went out in the river and tied knots in their leader and caught their poles over and over.

 

i know that's not useful or relevant information but I have always found that experience interesting.

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browndrake

Ad many have said, keep casts close.  The larger part of the fish I catch are within 10' of line...with many of them much less.

 

Also, as said above, (for me) it isn't about how many fish but the overall experience.  I will fish with fewer fish to have fewer people around.  I will also stock fish to catch larger ones, foregoing catching more.

 

I like to spend time enjoying the river, learning the bugs etc...

 

Sometimes I say Thai it's because I have caught enough fish that it matters less now.  Other times, when the fishing is hot, I think my previous statement is a lie.

 

That all said, the waysi learned were observation and experimentation.  I think I spent half of the time, my first year fly fishing, untangling 7x tippit.  40% of the time watching experienced fishermen, that were actually catching fish.  Maybe 10% of the time was my line wet.... It may not have been quite that bag, but it seemed like it.  No matter,  the little time in the water was sufficient to keep me coming back. Back then, I was I the river 5-6 days a week.

Trying to get back up to where I can again drown myself in such vices.

 

Be patient, go with more experienced friends, hit some good hatches with stupid fish.....and you will be hooked for life..even if you still can't fish.

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hayslope
9 hours ago, Dave in Maine said:

And, for years afterward, there was all that "he's a post-movie flyfisherman" thing.  It almost killed the sport.

 

Yeah....but sometimes they are fun to watch!!

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hayslope
9 hours ago, Bullwinkle said:

Find yourself a nice open farm pond..  Try some decent size ants or smaller rubber/foam grasshoppers. Catching bluegill is fun and great casting and roll casting practice.

 

Get yourself some These and strong cheap readers.

 

 

Those midge threaders are the cat's azz!!  I recommend them to everyone (and good readers add even more ease to the task!!).

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