Fly fishing is a great sport. Before you head to the fly fishing shop, though, learn everything you need to know about what to buy.
Your Fly Rod
The fishing shop will have quite a few rods for you to choose from, and you should get the best quality that you’re able to afford on your budget. Here are some things to consider:
- The length This will decide how well your rod performs. If you are planning to fish small streams, rods between five feet and eight feet long are the best. If you will be fishing a larger river, you might get a longer option. For beginners, though, your best bet is a rod between eight feet and nine feet long. This gives you flexibility.
- Rod weight The weight of your rod and its line are what determine which types of fish you can catch effectively. If your line is too heavy for the weight of fish that you are catching, you will load the rod and make it too difficult to pull in. If the line is too light, the rod will not load properly. Try starting out as a beginner with a five weight.
- Rod breakdown Rods at the fly fishing shop tends to break down into either two or four pieces. The more pieces it breaks down into, the easier it is to travel with. These will also be more expensive. You should make this choice depending on how far you know you’ll need to travel with your rod.
Your leaders are an important piece of fishing equipment, and while it may be tempting to go cheap here, but good leaders last longer and don’t break. Your leader should match the length of your rod, so about nine feet is usually appropriate. The tippet is the end of the line that connects to your fly. For a beginner with an eight to nine foot rod and five weight line, a tippet size of 5X is excellent. You’ll also need to decide whether you want a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader. The first is stronger and stretches better, but the second is harder for the fish to see. If you’re fishing for trout, fluorocarbon is a good idea. If you’re fishing for bass or bluegill, monofilament is probably safer.
You’ll see a lot of fly reels at the fly fishing shop. If you are fishing for a smaller species, your reel doesn’t do much more than just hold the line. If you are fishing for larger species, you’ll seriously depend on your reel. A self-lubricating wheel is an excellent choice. Disk drags will work well also. If you’re just starting out, don’t invest too much in your reel. Save your money for other things like a good rod and leader. If you find that you love fly fishing, you can always go back to fishing outfitters and get a better reel.
The right line is very important. You can do a lot with a freshwater, weight forward, floating line for trout. Many people recommend a 5.5 line for beginners.
Waders and Vests
It can be bewildering to choose among all the possibilities at the fly fishing shop. Waders come in breathable, rubber, and neoprene. Rubber is inexpensive and durable, while neoprene is durable and much warmer if you plan on fishing mostly when it’s very cold. If you’re fishing on warmer days, breathable waders are the most comfortable, and if things get cold you can always add some thermal layers underneath. Vests are a great way to carry all your fishing equipment without cramping your cast, and they come in many styles. This is a very personal choice, and you should try them on to see which one is comfortable, can carry all the things you need, and is within your price range.
Don’t be put off by all the types of gear that go into fly fishing. It’s a lot of fun, can be good exercise, and provides mental stimulation and relief for those of us who the stressful lives most of the time.