Just where do we start?Anyone deciding to take up fishing today could easily get lost by the sheer amount of tackle available on the market and the jargon that is often used to describe it! With many manufacturers using terminology to support their marketing strategy rather than state what is actually in the tin, the mix of tackle available has become a complete mystery to many when attempting to choose gear to satisfy their requirements.
Heres an example of just a few of the terms that are used by manufacturers :
Sweep lines, Switch rods, Skagit lines, Scandi lines, 3D shooting heads, Rage lines, Frequency Magnum, , Phased 5, large arbor reels........... Probably the most confusing purchase and one of the biggest developments with the most variety is the choice of line.
Line choice is critical to making the rod function efficiently and your fly fish effectively!
THINK about how we function and something as simple as throwing an object
Try throwing a light ping-pong ball in the wind?
Now take a shot putt and look at how far you can throw it, then maybe a tennis ball.
Likelihood is the tennis ball will be the item that you can throw the furthest. It's efficiently matched to your arms length and strength.
Some individuals will be able to throw the shot putt further than others as they will be physicall stronger but ultimately it will be technique that dictates how far (and how accurate) these item are thrown.
When we consider that the fly we are using to tempt the fish iss equivalent to the ping-pong ball then we need some help. Now add a fly rod to our arm and when we choose a line it needs to match the rod and to some extent our physical strength and technique. For example giving a young child a heavy 10' seven weight fly rod is immediately putting them at a disadvantage.
For the experienced angler we can easily decipher the manufacturers message and make the right purchase to meet our requirements but for the beginner, especially if they are purchasing gear on-line, it can truly be a nightmare!
We do have to thank the manufacturers however, as developments have meant that we now have an oportunity to optimise our rod , reels and line to maximise our enjoyment, with the ability to cast further, search for fish at diferent depths easier and secure in the fact that our leader wont snap or hook bend if we do get into that fish of a lifetime.
For anyone new to fly fishing I'd thoroghly recommend the book by my good friend John Symmonds- How to Fly Fish from Newcomer to Improver.
Like any learning experience you will need to mix the theory with practical knowledge and if you are to become competent quickly and enjoy the experience then the more you can learn from books, videos and other anglers then the more you will get from your fishing. After 50 years fishing I still learn new things and thats what continues to drive my passion for fishing.
So where to begin..................
"I want to start fishing and ideally spend some time on some local small trout fisheries with the goal of catching my first trout"
What should I buy? There are some good kits now available for less than £100 and they normally provide everything you need to kick start your entry into the world of fly fishing. You may however want to go through the motion of kitting yourself up.
Okay you need a rod
1. Good rod for a smallwater or river is an 8'6" or 9' 5 or 6 weight (the symbol # is often used to designate line rating e.g. #5/6). This will deal with most eventualities on small stillwaters as we are likely to be fishing with nymphs or smaller flies (many smallwaters have restirictions with flies smaller than size 8's). As accuracy is probably more important than distance and we are unlikley to be fishing bigger heavier lures at depth, then we dont really need a 7 weight or above rod.
2. You will need a reel and a line. There are plenty of good quality reels available that are designated for a 5/6 weight line but it's always a good idea to get a good quality one as it will last a lifetime. The line choice will leave you dazed and confused. As a beginner its best to go for the high end rating of line, that is the #6 as it will load the rod better and allow you to feel this actually happening.. The suggestion would be a floating line, #6 weight and a weight forward taper. You will find that manufacturers now design lines in two colours. This tells us the point at which the line actually loads the rod -normally the fist 30' of line is termed the head and this is what determines the actually line weight so where the colour changes is the point where the line gets much thinner and becomes the running line- the bit that shoots for distance