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Discussion Starter #1
I'm 51, experienced with bait casting and spinning outfits, but never fly fished. I've got a inexpensive Shakespeare rig (1094) reel. I can cast the fly maybe 10 feet. If that's not bad enough, I'm not sure if I could set the hook or reel in a trout if I had too. I don't even know if the reel should be reeled with my right or left hand.

Taking a trip to Colorado end of May to do some stream fishing. I'm from Illinois and to mostly lake fishing, baitcasting mostly.

Any suggestions would help.
 

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You're in the right place!

In addition to what these fellas give ya, check out fly casting and fly fishing videos on YouTube. Excellent library of visual aides there.
 

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I'm 51, experienced with bait casting and spinning outfits, but never fly fished. I've got a inexpensive Shakespeare rig (1094) reel. I can cast the fly maybe 10 feet. If that's not bad enough, I'm not sure if I could set the hook or reel in a trout if I had too. I don't even know if the reel should be reeled with my right or left hand.

Taking a trip to Colorado end of May to do some stream fishing. I'm from Illinois and to mostly lake fishing, baitcasting mostly.

Any suggestions would help.
Why do you feel the need to flyfish? I Flyfish 75% of the time (more because Im crap with other methods) but spinning gear is solid here.

A baitcaster may be a bit much, but a lightweight spinning combo is a great way to have a lot of fun, and fish on CO rivers.

If you feel that you want to try flyfishing, I do suggest a guide for the at least half a day. too much to explain online, and no real way of giving you enough information to teach you much on here either.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm wondering if the rod-fly line-leader is not sized or matched with each other. I can do the 10-1 o'clock motion some!
 

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I'm no expert, but YouTube "single haul fly"...

It'll teach you a very simple method of keeping the rod "loaded"... If your rod isn't loaded, you're just flailing and you'll get alot of 10 ft. casts.

I'm not a fly fisherman, so I'm afraid that's all the help I can be.
 

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Just don't let it get more complicated than it is. Sometimes the big time fancy shops and all the awesome and extensive gear can intimidate a guy. But remember, a "strike indicator" is nothing more than a "bobber".
Pick a spot that doesn't have alot of willows and/or shrubbery to begin at.
Don't dry cast more than you have to, be patient and let your line fly all the way back and "load up" on the back cast before initiating the forward cast.
Dont expect to catch a **** tone of fish at first and just break your flies off and start all over vs. trying to untangle the preverbial rats nests.
 

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Try to keep in mind that fly fishing is a method of fishing and presenting lures.

At times fly fishing can be the most effective method of catching fish, nothing more nothing less. Too many folks get caught up in the act of casting.

Focus on using the correct flies for the application and many times the casting skills will follow, rather than focusing on the casting and hoping the catching follows..

Where in Colorado are you going to fish? If you pin it down a bit more, I'm sure some guys can make recommendations on the best flies and method to use for the area based on the time of year.

Further if you take a liking to fly fishing, there are some excellent shops in Chicagoland. Lot of fly fishers there that may work in the Loop during the week and spend the weekends in N Michigan or SW Wisconsin, so you have advice and further guidance locally if you want to take advantage of it.
 

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Hire a guide for half a day and let them know you're a newbie who wants to learn casting, the absolute best instruction you can get is from someone who knows standing next to you.
 

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Take some lessons on basics before coming here. You don't want to be learning when you're here. You want to be fishing.
 

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^^^^^^THIS IS A GOOD IDEA^^^^^^
 

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Make sure you are casting the line and not casting the fly. The fly line is what has the mass to actually be able to cast. So you need to make sure you have enough fly line out of the tip of the rod to be able to load the rod to even make a cast.
Depending on which water you're fishing and when you're fishing (in relation to runoff), fly fishing in CO can be tough. Of course it can be great and downright easy sometimes too.
 

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Well, I'll try to give you some basic advise. If a fly line is "squiggly" and you try to cast- the line goes no where, you are just straightening out all the squiggles;so, first things first- you need a straight line- that way when you move the rod tip the entire weight of the line flexes the rod and you can cast.
Therefore, learning to execute a good backcast is critical. Most folks are focused on the forward movement but that forward movement becomes real easy if the line is straight out behind you.
The other option is a roll cast, the weight of the line is in the water and you can execute a roll cast pretty easy- maybe try that first.
Some other newbie advice.
1. Try panfish and get the fish "on the reel". Throw out bits of bread until the panfish are cutting up the surface and then toss in a white fly or fly with bread. The idea is you'll hook a fish on every cast. There might be some loops of line and you need to play out the line under finger pressure until you have the fish on the reel. Get into that habit right from the start.
2. Don't fret about distance. My eyes aren't what they used to be. I have trouble seeing a small dark fly at over 30-35 feet so..what's the point of trying to cast long distances? The other thing is drag. Once you are into the long distances there are all sorts of cross currents and drag becomes an issue and if you can't see the fly how do you know what is happening?
Still, I'm a self taught fly caster BIG MISTAKE. If possible get a couple of lessons before you develop bad habits.
IMHO learn to lay down a line softly and pick it up softly. Be delicate so you don't spook the fish.
3. Fish seams. Most trout fishing books show a trout behind a rock in an eddy. The only problem with that is eddys have back currents and there are usually smaller trout in these back currents FACING YOU. So the small trout spook and warn the big trout faced upstream.
I have a lot better luck fishing Seams. If you study the stream there will be fast main flows- maybe a couple. These are sort of chutes through rocks. On either side of these there will be turbulence. So if you are looking up stream and on the left bank and see a chute with seams- the turbulence acts as a visible shield- usually a trout is right next to the seam facing upstream. So, there is a seam nearest you, then the chute, then the far seam, then the trout. You'll have issues with drag so the fly has to land pretty close to the fish- maybe with some squiggles in the line to ward off drag. Figure maybe a 3-4" drift before the trout takes. I like dry flies because you can see what is happening- if drag is setting in- you'll see it.
4. Buy quality flies, poorly tied flies will rest at an un-natural angle on the water or not float correctly. The cost differential is nothing compared to the overall cost of the trip. Also- call local fly shops on what patterns they recommend.
Well, a few tips.
 

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Unfortunately, late May is not a great time for stream fishing out here, at least not what most people have in mind when they are headed out here to try a little fly fishing. That's getting into run-off quickly, and we are looking for a pretty healthy run-off this year, given the snowpack. But run-off is highly variable over it's course, tied to fluctuations in weather. Fishing can be good but location and technique are key. Late May and early June is actually the best time to be fly fishing the warm flatwater around here. That's what I'm doing then, when I'm not guiding people who came out to fish for high country cutts on Memorial Day.

Red Owl's advice about not worrying about distance is sound. Concentrate on good form, deliver what distance you can in two or a max of three false casts. You can't catch anything when your fly is in the air, and when you are making 10 false casts for a 10 foot drift, your fly is spending most of its time in the air.

Also, distance isn't as important in a lot of situations. A lot of times, what you need to do is be stealthy and get close enough to control the drift and make a good presentation, not dragging your flies unnaturally all over the place.

Keeping your casting stroke short, straight back from the target, straight towards it, rod tip high in the air -- 10 to 2, as they say, though that should rotate a bit forward for the shorter casts you're making as a beginning fly caster. Apply power (and a short cast with a trout rod doesn't take much, as a decent fly rod is good at translating energy to the line, if you stop the rod and allow it to), so stop the rod, let the power transfer from rod to line and let it roll off the tip. If you are presenting the fly on that forward casting stroke, then follow the line to the water with the tip of the rod. If you are not, holding the line lightly in your line hand, you will feel it tug if the rod properly loads and you can let it have some line. Concentrate on control of the cast over shooting a lot of line out, to begin with. You'll eventually start to feel the line loading the rod, and you should start to get a feel for cushioning the stop going forward and back so you don't shock the line and can cast with some touch.

Red Owl is also correct that if your back casts suck, so will your forward cast, at least until you learn how to recover a bad cast and then how to use a weak backcast intentionally (backed up against trees, for instance).

As the water comes up with run-off, a lot of places see clarity go down (less so at higher elevations, though in late May there are not yet many good high elevation options), and you can fish some pretty big flies. Stonefly nymphs, Woolly Buggers, all sorts of streamers. I like to fish pretty aggressively in the big water, smacking big streamers into foam mats and hole and such and ripping them out of there.

Reel with the opposite hand you cast with. A right-handed caster reels and tends the line with the left hand. There are fishing situations where this becomes important, as when needing to get a fish on the reel quickly and then when handling big fish close in on the reel, and switching hands with the rod is not what you want to be doing right then.
 

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3. Fish seams. Most trout fishing books show a trout behind a rock in an eddy. The only problem with that is eddys have back currents and there are usually smaller trout in these back currents FACING YOU. So the small trout spook and warn the big trout faced upstream.
The fish right behind the rock can be looking downstream, sure enough. There's a divide behind a rock. Upstream, the water flows back toward the rock. Downstream, the water is moving back downstream.

The best holding position here is often right above where the two currents wrapping around the rock come back together, the divide to the confluence. You definitely don't want to cast dry flies over the divide. They will just drag.

You can pick off these spots from further back before working your fly further up the left and right edges of pocket. Depending on the size of the obstruction creating the pocket or pool, there may be drifts in the middle worth exploring, or it may be sand and you can see there's no trout in the middle. If current piles up on the upstream side of the rock, that can also make a good hold. Lay your fly three or four feet above the rock and give the fish a chance to turn and chase it as it goes past them and around the rock before lifting to recast. This is more the type of behavior you will see later, after run-off, though, when the fish are scattered in the pocket water better.
 

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xz7- I don't think I explained clearly what I was trying to say. In fact for a newbie trout angler what follows is a good idea. Find a small mountain creek once the snows thin out. You are not necessarily going to be fishing on this trip- just learning. This creek may be small enough to step over but keep following it upcurrent and soon there will be a small pool, maybe only as big as a small car to several bath tubs. Stay hidden and peer through the grass/brush. In most instances the biggest trout in the tiny pool will be right where all the books say he ought to be, facing up current and in the best spot. There will almost always be some little 4-5" trout in the same pool but they might be off to the sides of the back eddy and facing downstream. The point is, a lot of guys think trout won't see them from a downstream approach but that doesn't apply with multiple fish.
You'll notice the trout are mostly eating nymphs and not that selective.
One you stand up they're gone and you would never know that tiny pool even held a fish.
 
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