After reading a query on how to properly gear up for fly fishing this week on Texas Fishing Forum.com, the thought occurred that a blog post like this one was in order.
If getting involved in this great pastime has ever intrigued you, then please note that getting off to a solid start in fly fishing begins with good equipment.
In this particular endeavor, that means a serviceable fly rod; a fly reel loaded up with a matching fly line and backing; leaders (monofilament line attached to the business end of a fly line), tippet material (extra monofilament line), and of course, flies to cast to the fish that you want to pursue.
Today, very good quality fly rods and reels can be purchased for reasonable prices from such manufacturers as Temple Fork, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Echo, Gander Mountain, Redington, Ross, Orvis, Sage, Scott, and St. Croix among others.
For the record, my own personal favorites are the Orvis Helios fly rod line – if money is no object – and the Temple Fork TiCr-X fly rod line if you are on a more modest budget like I am.
Because fly fishing is an angling sport where the weight of the line actually casts the fly rather than vice versa, purchasing a fly rod, a fly reel, and a fly line that matches up and is appropriate for the type of fish you will pursue is important.
In other words, you don’t want to buy a tarpon rod to catch bluegills with.
Nor do you want to buy a bluegill fly rod equipped with a tarpon sized reel and fly line.
For most trout, river smallmouth bass, and lake or farm-pond panfish, I’d suggest that you start off with a four, five, or six-weight fly rod.
For largemouth bass, most striped bass, and most redfish, I’d suggest an eight-weight fly rod, although a seven-weight can work for smaller fish of these species.
For bigger saltwater species like the bull redfish that cruise inshore flats along the central Gulf Coast, double-digit stripers in the Northeast, or tarpon in the Florida Keys, a big fly rod ranging from a nine-weight to a 12-weight will often be necessary depending on the place and the species.
As for reels, the truth is that most fly reels that are designed for trout fishing or bass fishing are simply there to hold the fly line, not to fight the fish.
While I generally recommend buying as much quality as your budget will allow, less expensive fly reels can work for trout and bass anglers.
But when it comes to hard-hitting, hard charging freshwater or saltwater species, a high quality reel with a superb drag system and plenty of backing is sometimes a bit more of a necessity than it is a luxury.
So, does all of this seem as clear as mud?
Unless you’ve hung around a fly shop or two in your time, probably so.
So perhaps the best advice I can give concerning fly rods and reels — not to mention fly lines, leaders, and flies — is to do just that.
Visit with the fly fishing experts at a local fly shop, that is.
They can help you assemble a well-balanced outfit to make your start in fly fishing a fun and successful one.
And if that occurs, the odds are it will also be the start of something you’ll enjoy for the rest of your angling life.