A Guide To Fly Fishing
The first time you go fly fishing, you'd think you had just joined a cult, the way that some fly fishers get when talking about their eternal quest for the perfect sport fish encounter. The jargon is thick, and most practitioners go to the stream more regularly than church. This can seem rather daunting for someone getting into this particular type of fishing for the first time, but it shouldn't.
The fact is, fly fishing is often the least expensive and most potentially rewarding type of angling to be had in the UK. Of course, shore-fishing and loch anglers have adherents that are just as dedicated, but with a relatively small up-front investment, anyone can equip themselves with the much of the gear and basic information that will last a lifetime.
The first thing you'll need is some gear. For starters, a mid-weight fly rod that is capable of handling both trout and salmon is a good place to start. Such a rod will usually be classified as having "mid-action," meaning that it doesn't bend to slowly or too quickly, lending both accuracy and strength to your set-up. A good quality rod should last 50 years or more.
Next, you'll want to outfit it with some good quality line. At the bottom of the reel you'll use a very thick or braided type of Dacron or nylon line, usually called the "backing." This should be about 50 yards long, giving you a smooth base for your thinner line to rest upon and an insurance policy if you get a really big fish. Most beginners start with line that is rated to about 6 pounds (2.7kg) and work their way down or up as their preference changes. Line usually lasts a few years, while leaders are replaced each year.
Learning how to effectively cast is probably the most daunting part of learning fly fishing. There are many fishing clubs that offer classes or have kindly members who will be happy to give you pointers. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect, and many people perfect their sills on land, without a hook.
You can fly fish on rivers or still-waters ? all that will change is what type of fly you use and how the bait is presented. In the former, you let the moving water move the bait for you, while lake and pond fly fishing requires you to move the bait past the fish yourself, hopefully in a manner that looks like a natural insect.
Most fly anglers will outfit themselves with a basic kit of 7-10 flies and a rigid rod case allowing them to easily manoeuvre between spots. There is a lifetime to learn the intricacies of fish behaviour and making one's own flies, but getting out there among the fish is the best practice of all.