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Silent_Light, Kimo, can we make this a sticky topic?

So you want to learn how to flyfish, eh? This question comes up often around here and while we have many great forum members that are willing to chime in and offer up advice on where to start, I myself find that all too ften I don't have time to chime in with a couple of paragraphs of solid advice. There are plenty of ways to get started in fly fishing whether your on a tight budget or have loads of money or your self taught, book learning, hiring a guide or taking a class, no one method is the most correct way to learn. So I figured rather than being the sterotypical forum(not just this one) member and telling you to use the search button, I'll put my 2 cents in here and let the other forum members put their advice.

I don't have answers to all the questions but the question of what type of rod should I get is one of the questions that I feel strongest about. So what do I use.

A fly rod, fly reel and fly line. The rod does all the casting work, and the reel is nothing more than a fancy line holder. All to often I've heard folks getting setup with a $500 outfits and they don't know what they got or why they got it, nor do they know what they are doing with it. My recommendation is to get a starter kit that includes a rod, reel, and line already setup. A 5 weight or 6 weight setup will do nicely for most situations that you will encounter in colorado with some larger fish requiring heavier gear. My reason behind the in-expensive gear suggestion is that as a begginner, you don't know the difference between that $70 setup and the $500 setup. The inexpensive setup will allow you time to learn the craft before spending money on an expensive rod, and you will know what you are looking for when that time comes rather than jumping head first and not knowing what your $500 is buying. I still barely have $100 in any rod and reel and line that I have and I've been fly fishing for 13 years.

Knots:

You'll see loops on the end of every line type for loop to loop connections, I've never used them and I always clip them off. I use 4 knots when fly fishing.

For backing to flyline and flyline to leader I use the nail knot, this one took a few tries to get it right, but I've never had it come undone on me ever.
http://www.animatedknots.com/nailknot/index.php

For leader to tippet I always use the blood knot, this is a difficult knot to tie, esspecially with cold hands. I've heard of some type of jig tool to help with this but have never seen one.
http://www.animatedknots.com/bloodknot/index.php

For all flies and small streamers I use the improved cinch.....and I'll use this for attaching a dropper fly.
http://www.animatedknots.com/improvedclinch/index.php

For larger streamers I use the trilene knot.
http://www.animatedknots.com/trilene/index.php
 

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Not to be senecal, but if you have been fly fishing for 15 years and still are fishing with a 100 dollar setup I implore you to at least go down to a fly shop and cast a 700 dollar rod, eg. Winston, T&T, Sage. While your advice is sound for the begginer I just couldn't imagine not feeling the quality in these types of rods even if you didn't buy one. Fly fishing is more than just hucking line, rods like these really make you appreciate all the years of practice you have put in.
 

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I won't go to the only place in town that would let me test a $700 rod, they twice let me walk out of there with $$ left in my wallet that I had intended on spending. I'm building my rods from here on out, so I should have a 4 piece 8wt loomis GL3 blank for beans(~$40) here shortly.

You could pick out any number of new guy questions and post some good advice in here.
 

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ptaft said:
Not to be senecal, but if you have been fly fishing for 15 years and still are fishing with a 100 dollar setup I implore you to at least go down to a fly shop and cast a 700 dollar rod, eg. Winston, T&T, Sage. While your advice is sound for the begginer I just couldn't imagine not feeling the quality in these types of rods even if you didn't buy one. Fly fishing is more than just hucking line, rods like these really make you appreciate all the years of practice you have put in.
For the record, I have a Sage, a winston , T&T, and many others, and I also have a three rivers custom which cost me 90 bucks... My Winston is my favorite rod but the Three Rivers is second, and my Sage Z-Axis is about to be sold because I am simply not impressed. There are plenty of less expensive rods that will last a lifetime and cast inside 50' with every bit of accuracy, feel and "performance" as the expensive stuff..I also have a St. Croix Avid that I paid 120 for brand new and it is becoming a favorite as well. I love my Sage RPL too... point is, the dough doesn't make the rod.

Personally, I feel like your statement is what is wrong with fly fishing, not what is right. I would be interested to have you do a blind casting test with a bunch of rods and see if you really could tell.
 

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I agree with Oyey.....

Aside from what's been said, the one piece of advice I will offer to EVERY beginner....ALWAYS take toilet paper. You never know when you'll need it, and don't depend on the outhouse to have enough. Trust me on this one.
 
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You can catch just as many fish on a $20 rod as a $700 rod. If all you want to do is cast, stay on the grass.
 

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Let me clarify. Of course you can catch as many fish with a 20$ rod, heck I could catch fish with a piece of pvc and a wad of yarn, that's not the point I was trying to make. Any analogy will fit here, sure you can drive down the road in a bug but wouldn't you rather be driving a Lambo? And any bow will kill an elk but I gurantee my Bowtech is a hell of a lot more fun to shoot than my old PSE 15 years ago. My point is sure a TFO will catch fish but I enjoy the feel of some high end rods and granted not all high enders are on the same level, case in point Oyeys z-axis. It's all personal preference, and by the way I have casted virtually all types and price ranges of rods and while some low enders do cast well I can certainly tell the difference, and anyone that has fly casted for any decent amount of time should be able to tell. Use whatever you can afford or enjoy, I could care less, my comment was to Koldcut as I assumed he haden't had the opportunity to cast a high end rod, and like the Lambo analogy I think people should take advantage of experiencing nicer things if they get a chance, that's it. Or don't and everyone stick with the bug. ::)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In time I'm sure I'll get around to it, but at the ripe old age of 28, with a 2 and a half year old and wife in school, now is just not the time. Some day I may venture back into that fly shop but they sure don't cater to those who care, only to those who have more money than I do.
 

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I like your analogy of bug to lambo... I guess I just think that there are plenty of bugs with a lambo price tag and a few lambos with a...well, not bug price, but maybe a nice 4 runner! I see your points, and agree that it is nice to have some high end gear. Anyone who knows me knows how much gear I have in all price ranges and it can get obnoxious. I just don't like the mindset that more expensive is better....better is better and that can come at a lot of different costs.
 

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I think the best advice here is to cast a bunch of rods. When you find the one that works for you and your style then you worry about the price.

I build most of my rods and it's a great way to save some cash. My two favorite rods are a Loomis GLX 9' 5 wt 4 piece and a $20 no name eBay blank 9' 3 wt 7 piece. Both rods work well for me and are a joy to cast.

My advice to a new fisherperson is this. Cast, mend and then fish. If you are not getting a good drift you aren’t fishing!
 

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I lack the background to jump in on any of the rod debates, but regarding the initial intent of the post, I'd add a thing. One of the things that helped me once I started doing it, was trying to hit as many different streams as possible at different times. This gave me the experience of different hatches and thinking through different scenarios.

Looking back,the first few times I went were basically in the summer during the late mornings, and I'd wonder why I didn't see any fish. ;D When I began to hit places at different times I began to see conisistantly rising fish, and many of the things I'd read began to make a lot more sense, at least when it came to fishing dries.
 

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When I started fly fishing, I got the lambo right off. At first I couldn’t really tell if it was a good rod or not, but as I improved I was not limited by my rod; only my casting style. Even now I think I have not maxed out the limitations of the $700 rod, but it feels REALLY nice to try and hone my casting skills knowing the rod will never hold me back. I personally would have gone through more less expensive rods and probably spent the same or more by time I was satisfied. Try all the rods you can and buy what you can afford, but I wouldn’t discourage buying an expensive rod, just because you are novice.
 

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If we are talking about "all the advice a new fly fisher needs", then the flyrod itself is not the only point of discussion, even though that's where koldkut started.

A new fly fisher has many questions. What we all take for granted, like line choice, leader, tippets, knots and flies..... the beginner can't even comprehend. Many won't ask the right questions, not out of fear, but because they don't even know what to ask.

Case in point... A new friend of mine asked me what he needed if he wanted to take up fly fishing for warm water species like bass, crappie and maybe some salt water stuff. How do you answer the question? I could coax him into a middle of the road flyrod, maybe a 5 or 6 wt, and keep the initial investment down around $200 to $400 bucks (think of EVERYTHING you would need to start). But then what? How much time am I willing to invest in this venture, and what if the experiment fails? I told him that if he wanted to take up fly fishing, then he'd need to tag along when I went out. In time, he would figure out if he wanted to make the investment, and all the while, he'd be using my gear. I wouldn't do this for everyone that asked, but if someone I know and respect is serious, then what the heck.

Think of this from the true beginner standpoint, and remember how long it took you to even start the learning curve.

The best advice I could give a beginner is to find a true friend that has climbed up that learning curve, and grab on to his or her coat tails. For me, fishing is more fun when I can either learn or teach, and there's plenty of opportunities for both.

Peace 8)

BHR
 

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First, the rod thing. Almost all of you know me in some way, shape or form, and while many do not like me, most can not argue that I do not put in some serious time on the water. I fish for trout with either a $60 complete combo or my most expensive rod, a $120 combo. I am very demanding of my gear and I have had the chance to fish the high dollar stuff, it is not for me. My 8wt pike rods both cost $20, one has a $40 reel and the other a $60 reel and the $40 reel has a superior drag. I have 2 Orvis Battenkill reels and I will fish a $25 Okuma over them every time. The point I try to get across to complete outsiders that just know the sport has the reputation of costing a fortune is that there is decent equipment to be had on a budget.

Waders - $30 from Albright
Boots- $30 at Sportsman's
Fly line - $7 a spool
Leaders - here I don't skimp, but search out the best price $9.50/ 3 pack
Tippet - same as leaders
Net- $11 at SW


I can hit the water with everything I need for less than some guys spend on a net
 

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My advice, have fun with it and enjoy the journey. Don't expect to be an ace your first time, week, month or even year in this sport. AS cliche as it sounds, everyday I learn something new (and I really do).

AS far as gear is concerned, you will get to a certain point when you want a rod to do a certain thing and perform to a specific function. You may not notice these differences the first time you cast one of these rods until you go back and fish with what you were using previously. Really is a night and day difference. Case and point for me is the 8'8" 4wt Scott G2. This rod was specifically made for fighting big fish on light tippet. It is just long enough to have the backbone to turn a big fish when you need to, and soft enough to absorb a head shake a 5+ pound fish puts on 6x-7x. I will never fish a big fish/light tippet tailwater with any other stick. Reels, again I point to tailwaters. Usually your sight fishing on a short line. Almost as soon as that fish takes on such a short line you're on the reel. To me, it's worth having a good, reliable drag.

Beyond that, this sport is really simple. IT requires a 5th grade level of entomology, knowing the difference between an indicator or fly that looks like it's attached to a string and one that looks like it's drifting naturally (not attached to anything), and finally--an incredible ability for improvising, and some common sense. The common sense part is huge. Examples of my biggest guiding peptypieves ...
1. If your nymphing a heavy rig and you let your flies drift through an inch of water between casts your going to get hung up.
2. if you tangle, shaking the rod will not make it mirraculously untangle. Also, if a tangle takes you longer to untangle then it would take to tie a knot, retie.
3. Keep your line in your trigger finger when it's on the water
4. on the down stream drift don't push line out of the guides inch by inch--shake it out/let the current take it.
5. follow the indicator or fly with your rod tip.
6. If your line is down stream of the indicator (most the time) your not getting a good drift.
7. SET THE HOOK DOWN STREAM!!!! Seriously, if you set up stream you're pulling the fly away from the fish and you're probably better off not even setting the hook.
8. If the fish runs, don't pinch the line and try to stop them.
9. Manage your slack line...you can't cast, set the hook, or do anything effectively with a pile of line everywhere.
10. If your fly gets hung up, and it came in from one direction...everything has an equal and opposite reaction. TRANSLATION: Walk your lazy ass upstream, and wiggle your flies out from the direction it went into.



BONUS: If you set the hook and come up empty, get those flies back down. Don't stand there like...uhhhh...duuhhh...what now? (as you flies are landing in the bush behind you).

I PROMISE--The sooner you can understand these ten things (regardless of whether you decide to fish with a Scott S4 or walmart special) you will catch more fish and be better off than most people who first try this sport.
 

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One thing about rods. If weight is a concern, or a factor, for the most part, a higher end rod will weigh less. It does not look like a lot of difference on paper, but like PD4 said, it may not be until you cast different rods that you notice the difference. A 9' 5 wt rod that weighs 3.2 oz or heavier is heavy in my opinion. A rod that is 2.9 oz or lighter is a light weight rod. Over the day, it makes a difference. For example, A TFO 9' 5wt rod that weighs 3.8 oz is a huge difference than a Winston B2X that weighs 2.7 oz. Put a low cost reel on that TFO and you have an 11oz combo to fish with or put a nice reel on the Winston and you have a 6 oz combo. Not a huge difference on paper, but a huge difference on the water, hour after hour, day after day and year after year.

Juan
 

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Koldkut said:
Silent_Light, Kimo, can we make this a sticky topic?
So you want to learn how to flyfish, eh? This question comes up often around here and while we have many great forum members that are willing to chime in and offer up advice on where to start, I myself find that all too often I don't have time to chime in with a couple of paragraphs of solid advice. There are plenty of ways to get started in fly fishing whether your on a tight budget or have loads of money or your self taught, book learning, hiring a guide or taking a class, no one method is the most correct way to learn. So I figured rather than being the sterotypical forum(not just this one) member and telling you to use the search button, I'll put my 2 cents in here and let the other forum members put their advice.
I know this reply is different than original post but, I think that a stick topic & an on going topic for the fellers that are trying get into fly fishing would be a great idea.

Yes/No????
 

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Juan Ramirez said:
One thing about rods. If weight is a concern, or a factor, for the most part, a higher end rod will weigh less. It does not look like a lot of difference on paper, but like PD4 said, it may not be until you cast different rods that you notice the difference. A 9' 5 wt rod that weighs 3.2 oz or heavier is heavy in my opinion. A rod that is 2.9 oz or lighter is a light weight rod. Over the day, it makes a difference. For example, A TFO 9' 5wt rod that weighs 3.8 oz is a huge difference than a Winston B2X that weighs 2.7 oz. Put a low cost reel on that TFO and you have an 11oz combo to fish with or put a nice reel on the Winston and you have a 6 oz combo. Not a huge difference on paper, but a huge difference on the water, hour after hour, day after day and year after year.

Juan
I have a totally different view of this issue. I don't really care at all about the "curb" weight of my rods. Whats important to me is using a reel that balances the rod at the right spot (about an inch into the cork for me, this usually means a heavier reel than most people use) and a low "swing" weight. It doesn't matter if a combo is heavier if it feels lighter in the hand.

Then again I usually prefer different rods than a lot of people around here. The real take-away point is "to each his own."

Also, listen to BeadHeadRed, he's smarter than he looks. ;)
 
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