A beginners guide to fly fishing
Fly Fishing equipment and tackle specification is dependent on the type of fishing intended. We appreciate this can be overwhelmingly technical for newcomers to the sport so we have put together a brief summary of the key points for any beginner to consider.
Dependant on the conditions, time of year and species you are chasing. They can be split into four different types:
Dry Fly | Buoyancy is key with dry flies. Materials such as waxy deer's hair or feathers with a coating of silicone spray are used to ensure the fly lands and skims lightly across the surface. They replicate an adult fly that has either made it to the surface after hatching, or landed during flight. When fish are rising, the dry fly is a good choice. Seeing your fly disappear into a trouts open mouth is the most rewarding method of fishing.
Wet Fly | Designed to sink beneath the waters surface, patterns represent numerous stages of a flies life including large nymphs, pupa or drowned insects.
Nymphs | Nymph patterns are tied to replicate immature forms of underwater insects that are natural food for trout and grayling. Takes when using these types of fly are usually towards the bottom where the fish are feeding from the floor or weedy areas. In large feedings areas, it is quite common for a take on the drop.
Lures or Streamers | When fishing for larger species such as pike or large water trout, lures are used to tempt the territorial nature from the fish. Usually tied as smaller fish, or artificial patterns designed to pulse and move like an injured fish. An exciting way to fish and gets the adrenaline flowing!
Rods are designed around two main variables, length of rod and weight of line. The factors that influence these are the species of fish you are going after and the type of water you are fishing. The guide below covers most trout and grayling fishing in the UK. This includes mid to large rivers and open water reservoirs fished from either a boat or the bank.
9' | 5 WT - Most trout and grayling fishing covered including mid to large rivers
9' | 7 WT - Heavier line to allow for casting of larger flies and streamers for reservoir trout
It is important to ensure the line and rod weight are matched as this will have an effect on the casting balance. Once you have decided on the size of rod required using the guide above, use the selected WT to choose the reel.
5/6 WT - Most trout and grayling fishing covered including mid to large rivers
7/8 WT - Heavier line to allow for casting of larger flies and streamers for reservoir trout
Line weights should be matched for the weight of the rod and reel you have chosen. Cassette reels have the benefit of carrying a range lines to cater for different conditions over a short space of time.
How the line sits in the water:
Floating - For dry fly fishing, when fish are rising and taking flies from the surface
Intermediate - For slow descent in the water, when fish are feeding within a few feet of the surface
Sinking - Taking the fly down to the bottom at varied speeds (Inches per second), typically used with nymph's and buzzers in colder months
Effect on casting:
Weight forward (WF) - Used widely in trout fishing, the first 10 yards of the line has a thicker and heavier section, allowing the action of the cast to carry the fly out further distances. Typically used on wider rivers or large open water.
Double Taper (DT) - A very gradual taper designed for lighter presentation of the fly, for use on smaller rivers where distance casting is not required and fish are being stalked. This line type is also tapered from both ends, making reloading your reels a little less painful.