Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Brad Eden

      TO THOSE REGISTERING FOR MEMBERSHIP ON UJ   01/06/2018

      To the Guests who have decided to register for Membership. PLEASE read Terms of Service, not just checking it off. This is covered there: Add more info than just "hunting" or "Upland hunting" or "birds" or "outdoors" or similar nebulous terms in the required INTERESTS field. Despite this Boards strong spam filtering function, some Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Also please do not use a business name as your User Name. Thank you.
MAArcher

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

Recommended Posts

Brad Eden

My thoughts, knowing the OP from his years on UJ. MAA, you are a killer, a procurer of protein no matter how it's done if within the law, and make no apologies about it. It doesn't surprise me that you are ambivelant about fly fishing. Truth is under most, not all circumstances, you could catch the same fish you are flailing at with a fly rod with spinning gear. Easier, with less drama. 

 

This is reminds me of my friend Jamey. He no longer lives near me, haven gotten divorced and becoming a traveling vagabond with a fly rod. He was a fly fisherman to the bone. He now travels the world fly fishing and I get an occasional postcard. We would fish together on local rivers and lakes and ponds. Mostly for smallmouth Bass but also trout. I'd also have a fly rod but always toted my ultralight spinning gear too. He would cast distance with a hairy popper or something over and over while I caught fish after fish with spinning and lures. He'd catch fish but not what I would. He didn't care a whit. If it wasn't caught on a fly he wasn't interested. Now, I'm not a complete Neanderthal and put down the spinning gear when I had located pockets of fish and employed the fly rod.

 

In truth there is nothing like feeling the beating heart of a game fish through the fly line you hold in your hand. You are directly connected, unlike with spinning gear. There is poetry when you finally get the rhythm of casting a fly. Its hypnotic and it is beautiful. Most fish I catch can be finessed to hand "by hand" without using the reel much. It's like the difference between a nice wingshot on a grouse and a ground sluice. No comparison.

 

But like you MAA I am a pragmatic sort and can't fully embrace the flyfishing culture. Reminds me of why I still bust cover with a flushing spaniel rather than a classic Setter. I tend to like to get the job done without a lot of ceremony.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyobirds

In my opinion casting well enough to catch fish is the easy part.  Becoming a good caster takes time and practice.  Line control is very important.  An instructor/mentor can be helpful, as can becoming proficient at tying fly fishing knots.  Learning to "read" water is mandatory for consistently catching of fish as is etymology with respect to the fishes diet.  Fly tying can save you money as well as helping you to learn a little about etymology.  There are many good books on all of the elements of fly fishing.

 

When I fish an unfamiliar stream, I do the following:

1. I place a 15" x 24" fine mesh net , supported on two 18" x 1/2" wooden dowels into the stream bottom so that the net captures swimming insects.  Bear in mind that not all aquatic insects are free swimmers as there are clingers and burrowers, each with there own means of stream movement. 

 

2. While stringing up my rod, I look around me for hatch evidence, such as husks on the rocks or foliage.  Also I look for insect mating swarms above the water.

 

3. Before tying on a leader or a fly, I check my net and if there is no insect evidence, I disturb the bottom of the stream about 3' upstream from my net.  Based on what I find or don't find in the net allows me to make an educated guess with respect to leader type and length as well as fly choice.

It has been written that 90% of a trouts diet is sub aquatic and I mostly nymph fish unless there is evidence indicating the need for dry flies or streamers.

 

Having a mentor is perhaps the best way to learn the sport.

Many years ago before I became a serious fly guy, the owner of a fly shop took me to one of our nearby streams.  He asked me to rig up and cast my fly up stream.  I made a mess of it and he asked for my rod and he shortened my leader to 4', removed my fly, tied on one of his flies and gave the rod back to me.  He told me to cast upstream at the edge of a riffle and control my line so that the line is 90 deg. from the tip and the fly line does not belly, causing drag on the fly.  Easy to say and hard to do, especially in fast moving water.

 

I did as he said and he immediately began counting.  "Why are you counting", I asked.  And he said, I'm counting the number of strikes that you are getting.

When nymph fishing for trout, the "hits" or strikes are negligible and cannot be detected by feel.  You must watch the line where the leader is joined and if it moves in a way not caused by the current, set the hook.  After a while and the "while" is determined by your powers of observation and the frequency of your fishing, you can turn the hits over to your sub-conscious.

 

When my mentor shortened my leader and replaced my fly with his, he did so because he wanted the fly to just tick the stream bottom and the short leader and "weighted fly did the job.  The above shows that subtle changes, coupled with knowledge can make a huge difference in the catching of fish.

 

 

Fly fishing is a sport that can improved upon over a lifetime and one can learn something new on every outing.  Good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooter Brown

Go to Abebooks and get a book called "The Curtis Creek Manifesto" by Sheridan Anderson.

 

Not only will it help you become a better trout fly fisherman, it'll help you catch trout however you want to do it.  And it's hugely entertaining.

 

Don't let the fact that it's presented with cartoon like drawings turn you away.  It's a brilliantly, terrifically helpful book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyobirds

Great suggestion.  I have bought several Curtis Creek Manifesto books and have given them away to budding fly fishermen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MAArcher
On 6/3/2017 at 7:03 AM, Brad Eden said:

Now, I'm not a complete Neanderthal and put down the spinning gear when I had located pockets of fish and employed the fly rod.

Don't know why I didn't think of this.  I should have just used the ultralight and a Joe's Fly until I found fish, then switched to the fly rod, better able to employ some patience knowing that I was in fact casting to fish.  

 

It was bad enough that i was in a catch and release area, but the lack of confidence from not knowing if there were really any fish in front of me was an obstacle between feeling like I had a good time or if it was time wasted.  

 

I should have looked at the spin tackle like it was a trail camera before bow season.  It was right there in my truck too, and I didn't want to use it because I was set on catching something on that little three weight.  

 

Lots of other good advise in the replies, thanks.  I can cast somewhat if I concentrate.  Its really the finding fish and presenting them with the right fly the right way that I struggle with.  Dry, Wet, Nymph?  What pattern?  What size?  I spend more time wondering and staring with indecision at the fly box than i do wetting the line.  I know every fly change takes me off the water for 10+ minutes so I put a bunch of pressure to make the right choice.  It doesn't help that I'm fishing on stolen time, when work finds me in the western part of the state and I can sneak out for half a day, four hours stream side max.  Only happens a few times a year.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wingman
Quote

Many years ago before I became a serious fly guy, the owner of a fly shop took me to one of our nearby streams.  He asked me to rig up and cast my fly up stream.  I made a mess of it and he asked for my rod and he shortened my leader to 4', removed my fly, tied on one of his flies and gave the rod back to me.  He told me to cast upstream at the edge of a riffle and control my line so that the line is 90 deg. from the tip and the fly line does not belly, causing drag on the fly.  Easy to say and hard to do, especially in fast moving water.

 

I did as he said and he immediately began counting.  "Why are you counting", I asked.  And he said, I'm counting the number of strikes that you are getting.

When nymph fishing for trout, the "hits" or strikes are negligible and cannot be detected by feel.  You must watch the line where the leader is joined and if it moves in a way not caused by the current, set the hook.  After a while and the "while" is determined by your powers of observation and the frequency of your fishing, you can turn the hits over to your sub-conscious.

 

This be the word.

 

To me, casting distance is sometimes critical in fly fishing, but control over what the fly does once it hits the water — and where it hits the water — are much more likely to determine how many fish you catch.

 

MAArcher, if you are a bait fishermen for trout, fish a nymph. Drag free drift and knowing when a fish hits is basically the same; nymph strikes just usually more subtle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
grousehunter 61

After reading all the posts it came to me that no one said anything about a balanced outfit. The weight of your fly line should match the rod or be one size heaver. If the line is to light it will not work the rod and will just collapse on the water. I find the weight of the rod more important then the rod length. Not knowing where you are fishing and what for it's hard to say what you should use. There are rods that are fast, med. and slow. depending on what you are using in the way of fly's. A dry takes a fast rod so it will dry the fly and keep it on top, a wet or slower rod is for wet fly's that sink and this brings us to fly lines, weight foward, sink tip, double taper, flotating, sinking, All to match what you are fishing with, and for. .The leader length  is also important, to long and it will give you all sorts of problems, to short and you will scare the fish with a heavy splash down. Now to learn, any long yard, city park, ball park etc.will work, cut the tip off your fly so it can't hang up, your back cast should give you a slight tug on the rod, its call loading the rod, this is where you get the power to make the forward cast, if the line goes behind you and collapses  it's just going to hook you in butt or worse in the ear, wear a hat that covers your ears, nuf said, don't ask how I know.......Cast with the wind until you know what you are doing, make short casts, and don't worry about distance, once you have the feel of the rod and line you can try to get a bit more distance, but not until. Once you get the lawn casting down then find some water, also don't cast on rocks or pebbles  or dirt,it will eat your line. Now don't let what I say to discourage you it's not all the complated. Get the right rig and practice...hope this helped.......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
garyRI

I'm definitely not a fly fisherman. I'm a fisherman who uses a flyrod when conditions dictate it is the best tool to use - which, to me, means when fish are rising to flies on the surface. But even then larger fish could probably be caught on streamers or nymphs.

 

My annual muskie fishing outing is in two weeks with Mossy Creek Outfitters in Virginia. Here is a picture of my best. They guide for fly fishing for muskies too but I don't see how it could be possible to work as much water with streamers as with plugs.

IMG_0255.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bntsetter
19 hours ago, MAArcher said:

Don't know why I didn't think of this.  I should have just used the ultralight and a Joe's Fly until I found fish, then switched to the fly rod, better able to employ some patience knowing that I was in fact casting to fish.  

 

It was bad enough that i was in a catch and release area, but the lack of confidence from not knowing if there were really any fish in front of me was an obstacle between feeling like I had a good time or if it was time wasted.  

 

I should have looked at the spin tackle like it was a trail camera before bow season.  It was right there in my truck too, and I didn't want to use it because I was set on catching something on that little three weight.  

 

Lots of other good advise in the replies, thanks.  I can cast somewhat if I concentrate.  Its really the finding fish and presenting them with the right fly the right way that I struggle with.  Dry, Wet, Nymph?  What pattern?  What size?  I spend more time wondering and staring with indecision at the fly box than i do wetting the line.  I know every fly change takes me off the water for 10+ minutes so I put a bunch of pressure to make the right choice.  It doesn't help that I'm fishing on stolen time, when work finds me in the western part of the state and I can sneak out for half a day, four hours stream side max.  Only happens a few times a year.  

Go to a fly shop and buy what they suggest.  Easiest way to get an idea of what to fish.  They will usually give you pattern and size.  Knowing your in MA if your fishing the swift good luck - the fish there can be hard for someone with little experience on the water to catch.  Other places are difficult in their own ways.  Nymphing with an indicator is an easy way to start in the game and is very effective as the indicator is a visual representation of what is happening.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyobirds

 

When asked by a wanna be fly fisherman as to what rod/reel should they buy, I always respond with "the least expensive rod and reel combo in a weight suitable for the type of water you will fish."  I also recommend rod and reel combos that I'm familiar with.

The reason is that a new fly caster cannot tell the differences between rod action or feel until they learn to cast, but once they learn to cast and feel the rod they will be able to indulge their preferences to accommodate their casting style.

 

Sportsmen shows usually have an indoor casting pond and many of the manufacturers of fly rods will allow you to cast their rods and that is a good way to select a "favorite rod" without having to buy the rod.

 

A note on reels: Most trout and pan fish fishing can be accomplished with inexpensive reels, it is only necessary to have a smooth drag when fishing for big running fish in either fresh or salt water.

 

The following rods are custom made with different actions suitable for dry fly, nymphs and streamers and they are expensive.  The reels are also expensive.

 

DSC_0038_zps4380c70e.jpg

DSC_0039_zps2986878f.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Britlab

Keep it simple.  Short casts, line control, patience.  Enjoy where you are.  Trout live in beautiful places. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave in Maine
10 hours ago, garyRI said:

I'm definitely not a fly fisherman. I'm a fisherman who uses a flyrod when conditions dictate it is the best tool to use - which, to me, means when fish are rising to flies on the surface. But even then larger fish could probably be caught on streamers or nymphs.

 

My annual muskie fishing outing is in two weeks with Mossy Creek Outfitters in Virginia. Here is a picture of my best. They guide for fly fishing for muskies too but I don't see how it could be possible to work as much water with streamers as with plugs.

IMG_0255.jpg

You're wearing the right hat.  Nice fish, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BisManDan

Just get some poppers and go chase smallies. No need to make it difficult in the beginning you can still have a heck of a lot of fun while learning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bobman

go to Colorado buy some "pipe tobacco" and it will make it all better

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
UplandSasquatch

I thoroughly enjoy Fly Fishing, but I am by no means a 'Real' fly-fisherman.

 

I started in a club at Penn State and learned on the creeks around there with tiny patterns and delicate bites.

It drove me crazy and my big fingers made tying the flies almost impossible.

 

Then I found out you can fish for big fish with flies.

 

I started tying bunny streamers and Wooly Buggers in big sizes and haven't looked back.


I love catching Bass, Pike, Musky, Salmon, etc on flies that I tied.  It's a blast.

 

If figuring out the intricacies of fly-fishing for trout is dragging you down, I fully suggest you go up in fly size and chase some bigger fish.  You won't catch as many as with spinning gear, but it's a TON of fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×