Fly Fishing – An Introduction

Over the last 2000 years humans have employed numerous methods of archery, fishing and hunting in order to find food. Over that time, fly fishing has become seen by many anglers as the essential method of fishing requiring skill, patience and stealth. Indeed trout fishing is by far the most rewarding fishing whether boat fishing or bank fishing.

When compared to other forms of fishing and the fishing equipment required at the bank, fly fishing stands out above the rest due to the limited fishing equipment that is needed; allowing greater stretches of a river or lake to be explored in a session. By employing what is essentially a fishing lure presented in such a way as to convince the fish it is a living creature worth devouring encompasses all that relates to the history of archery, fishing and hunting.

Which Rod?

There are several things that you need to think about when choosing the right type of fly fishing. Every reel and fly fishing rod has a certain function and knowing the function is critical to its success.

One of the first things that you need to consider is comfort. Is the rod that you’re using comfortable for you to hold? If you’re shorter than about 5’5″ you won’t want to use a rod that is seven feet. Choose a fly fishing rod length that is easy for you to hold and cast for a few hours at a time.

Most of the fly fishing rods on the market today are designed to allow you to feel when a fish takes the bait. The shaft of the fly fishing rod is called a “blank” and when the rod is first manufactured the blank is made from fiberglass, graphite, or other materials. Each of these blanks has an action that is either: light, medium, medium/heavy, or heavy. The upper portion will also have an action that is either: extra light, light, or regular. Both ends of the blank are assembled and the final result is a fishing rod, complete with a handle and guide. No matter what type of rod that you’re using, the “action” of the rod will refer to the “blank”. The action of the rod will have a great deal to do with the type of fishing that you’re doing.

Now go to your local tackle shop and ask to try out a range of rods in order to decide which best suits yourself. This will be an individual thing and the only way is to try the rods bearing in mind.

Which Reel?

Reels – There are three main types of reels that you can choose from when it comes to fly fishing: (1) baitcasting reels, (2) spinning reels, and (3) spincast reels. The reel that you choose will depend your own personal preferences.

Baitcasting reels: Baitcasting reels have better accuracy and control of the lure than other reels. They are better equipped to handle lines that are ten or more pounds in weight. The one thing to be aware of when using a baitcasting reel is that they often have the tendency to snarl or fight back when the spool starts to spin faster than the line that is being played out. This is particularly true if you are casting into the wind.

To prevent these backlashes, baitcasting reels have a magnetic braking feature but you’ll want to count more on the control of the spool tension, which is a knob that is usually located right beside the handles. You’ll need to set the spool tension knob for each lure by holding the rod straight and disengaging the spool. Loosen the tension just until the lure begins to drop down and then tighten the spool just a bit.

When you’re casting the reel you’ll disengage the spool and then hold it tight with your thumb. When you want the lure to move forward you’ll simply loosen up on the pressure. After some practice you’ll learn to control the speed of the spool so that you have better accuracy.

Spinning reels: Spinning reels are reels that have a spool that is stationary. The line is spun onto the spool as a device called a “bail” rotates around it. Spinning reels can be used for any size of line but more experienced fly fishers will use it for lightweight lures with a weight less than ten pounds. Spinning reels tend to perform a little better than baitcasting reels when you’re casting into the wind. One disadvantage of using a spinning reel is that there is the inevitable twisting of the line which will create tangles and knots. When your line becomes twisted the best thing that you can do is replace the line with a new one. One way that you can prevent some of these tangles from occurring is by using washing up liquid on the line.

To cast the spinning reel, hold the handle of the rod with one hand, making sure that the spinning reel is on the bottom side with your middle finger placed in front of the “foot” of the reel. Slowly open up the bail and pull the line behind the first knuckle of your index finger. Release the line by pulling your index finger into a straight position. You can control how far you cast the line by letting the line move along your index finger as close to the spool as possible as the line unwinds. When you want to stop the line you simply push your finger against the lip of the spool.

Spincast reels: Spincast reels are also known as “push button” reels. They are closed-face and are very easy to use. They are almost impossible to tangle and can be cast in smooth, long arcs without twisting. The main portion of the spool is encased in a covering and it remains in one place while a pick-up pin spins around the spool. When buying a spincast reel make sure that you don’t buy the most inexpensive one since you want to pay for good quality. Many beginner fly fishers do well with a spincast reel.

To cast the spincast reel all you need to do is depress the push button and hold it down. You’ll release the button when you want your lure to move in a forward position. Most spincast reels are able to be used with any weight lure or line size.

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