Fly fishing is arguably more difficult than spin fishing. It requires the angler to control his fishing line against wind and current precisely to present an authentic looking bait in a way that floats through the water naturally. A fly fisherman pits skill and finesse against his prey.
Whether you are an experienced fisherman or just getting started, read on for a list of solid fly fishing tips that will give you the advantage when squaring off against fish who are keen and choosy when it comes to taking your bait.
- Be equipped to observe. Be sure that you are ready to look over the scene with polarized sunglasses that allow you to look deeper into the water and a good hat for keeping the sun’s rays from blinding you.
- Match the hatch. This saying carries a bit of wisdom with it. When selecting what flies will be used for fishing that day, it’s helpful to gently turn over some rocks and capture a few of the critters and larvae that are living in the area to be fished. Note the type and color of these tasty morsels and choose your fly type and color to suit. Some anglers bring a “nymph net” to help them scoop up a few of these bugs for easy observation.
- Do not grip your fly rod too tight. Proper casting and loading of the rod requires a supple grip.
- Keep in mind that the magic in fly casting is all about “loading the rod”. A fly rod is usually long and extremely springy for a reason. Loading the rod entails putting a bend in it as you cast back and forward to get your fly out to its target. If you are not utilizing these energy packing bends in the rod, you are not casting properly.
- Snap to a quick stop at the end of the back cast and the forward cast. While the stopping motion is a quick snap, the acceleration into motion should be ramped up like a golf swing.
- Point your thumb in the direction that you want your line to go. Wherever your rod-hand thumb points is where the tip of the rod will go. The tip of the rod determines where the line will go.
Check your rig frequently
- Check your tippet and line for wind knots roughly once every six casts. A knot in your tippet will weaken it by approximately 50%.
- Frequently check your fly to be sure it has not become disheveled or covered with a weed. Be certain that you check it after fighting a fish. In addition, check your tippet to be sure that fighting the fish has not produced any nicks.
- Check your hook to be sure that it is “sticky sharp”. There are a number of things that can dull a hook such as brushing a rock or snagging a stick. A dull hook will lose fish. One way to test your hook is to gently rest it on your thumbnail. Attempt to gently slide the hook off the edge of your nail. If it sticks and scrapes, it is sharp. A dull hook will slide off easily.
- Carry a small diamond stone when fishing. Just a few proper strokes on a good sharpening stone will restore a razor sharp point.
- Drag is when there is tension on your fishing line that does not allow the fly to float down stream naturally. Fish will spot this unnatural scene right away and reject your offering.
- Don’t lift the tip of your rod after your line has hit the water. This may straighten your line and cause it to drag the fly along.
- When casting across faster water to a slow water target, use a cast that doles out a bit of extra upstream slack. This upstream bow will prevent the faster current from dragging the line in the lead and in turn dragging your fly. A “reach cast” will provide this needed slack. A reach cast involves rotating your torso towards upstream and reaching your arm out at the end of your forward stroke. Finish by gently lowering your rod tip towards the water.
- Use a “serpentine cast” to add wavy slack in the line when it hits the water. This slack will extend your drift time and ensure that the fly floats along unhindered by the line. Simply add some side to side waviness as you lower your rod tip after your forward cast. This will add gentle waves in the line as it sits in the water.
Where To Fish
- Fish the seams where fast and slow currents meet. This is a great location where fish can rest in slow water but still dart into the current for a meal.
- In a lake, fish from a boat while casting towards shore.
- Locate the spots where there is food, rest and protection for fish. These are prime fishing locations. Add shade to this list because shade attracts bugs and plants.
- Fish at the mouth of tributaries that provide cool, oxygenated water to the stream or lake.
- Note that trout feed 80% of the time below the surface.
Learn To Read The Rise
- A “riseform” is an undulation or disturbance in the water that is caused by a fish coming up to feed.
- A bigger riseform may indicate a bigger fish that caused it.
- Bubbles in a riseform mean that the fish ate a bug off the surface.
- Remember that a riseform will drift downstream. The fish that caused it may be resting upstream a bit.
- Never cast directly into a riseform. Cast a yard or more upstream and let your fly drift naturally in front of the fish.
As you ponder these potent fly fishing tips, be sure to remember that the fish will often tell you quite a bit about how to catch them. If a fish shows interest in your presentation but turns away at the last moment, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the fish missed the fly. A more likely scenario is that the fish came, checked out your fly and backed out at the last moment because something did not look right. Always be willing to listen to the subtle clues that the environment and fish give. Go catch a big one!