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Q:
Hello all. I am new to fly fishing and have recently purchased a starter kit to see if I like it. Knowing what all gear that is needed has been a little overwhelming, but I am keeping at it. My kit only came with tippet and float line and I was told that I need backing line also. Is this true? Any other advice will be greatly appreciated, especially on the essential gear to get started. I am teaching myself through reading and videos, so I will probably be asking a lot more questions. Thank you for any help and advice.

Question by earlyriser81. Uploaded on October 06, 2009

Answers (8)

Top Rated
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from dplummer wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Backing is important if you plan on hooking fish that run a long distance (like steelhead). If you are fishing for smaller trout, panfish, etc. Backing is unnecessary. Look into getting yourself a tapered leader to use on your fly line as well. Tie tippet on as necessary to the end of the leader. Most tapered leaders thin out to a specific tippet size. That tippet will slowly shorten as you lose flies, break off, or just cut it from changing flies. As it shortens, add the tippet that came in your kit.

As for equipment... you have a rod,reel, line, leader, tippet- all you need now are flies. Make sure you use fly patterns that are native to your area. This will ensure you catch more fish. Practice makes perfect. I started with a kit as well. Practice making your casts and soon you will be as hooked as the rest of us who enjoy fly fishing!

Good luck and happy fishing!

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

I agree with dplummer on all his info. I have backing on my reel, but since I only fish average trout and such in the east, I doubt I've ever even had half of my line out...let alone backing.
Make sure you understand the knots and when to use/change tippet materials. Using a poor knot from line-leader or going too far up the leader before replacing can lead to discouraging results.
If you don't already have it among your gear, a vest/gear bag and net are very handy when wading out from the bank. There are so many nicities too that you can pick from later that you need/want such as fly float/sink, nippers, strike indicators, etc. Good luck!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Oh, and glasses...whether they are sunglasses or otherwise...there's always a risk of your fly getting hooked in you during casting...and you want to protect your eyes. Good polarized glasses will help you track your fly on the surface and see below as well.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from dplummer wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

WVOtter... Your glasses comment brought a memory about when I first started fly fishing. I was casting out and took the hat right off of my head!!! Glasses are an absolute must when fly fishing! Hats are optional!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Keep fly fishing simple. Buy a rod, reel, line, leader and tippet. Tie on a fly and go. Starting with bass and bluegill is great because they are easier to catch and will teach you good mechanics.

Backing also makes the arbor to your reel larger giving you faster pick up of your line.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BioGuy wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

I got into fly fishing when I was 12, much the same way that you are doing. One of the best things you can do is find a fishing buddy to show you how to properly read water (a lesson I had to learn on my own). You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by learning which sections of stream likely harbor fish, and which ones to avoid. All the equipment in the world won't help you if you don't put your flies where the fish are located.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LesserSon wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

All above advice is sound. Casting form is what this style is all about. Don't put a fly on until you get the line to do what you want. You can practice in an open lawn. Keep the cast straight over your head. Work on your timing; keep it slow enough for the line to stretch out on your backcast, but not hit the ground. When you think you can do it without hurting yourself or ruining you gear, forget it: go after panfish to get the feel of fish on the line and figure out how to retrieve. They will take dryflies and small poppers. Good time to practice the roll cast, twitch it here, twitch it there.
Once you can cast, hook, retrieve, and release a sunfish without dropping your rod, practice your casting again, and THEN head for troutstreams. Big water is easier to cast on, but small water will teach you where the fish are. If you do get into tight places, don't expect to do much casting; just get the fly onto the water without making your presence obvious to the fish.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from LesserSon wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Oh yeah, the retrieve. The reel is just a place to keep the line. Use your finger to pinch the line against the grip. Use the leverage of that long rod to bring the fish to you.
I am right handed, but I adopted a non-traditional "spinning rod" style pretty early by reversing the line/reel for left-handed retrieve. This keeps the rod in the right hand at all times, and minimizes the number of fish you lose trying to switch hands after a strike.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from dplummer wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Backing is important if you plan on hooking fish that run a long distance (like steelhead). If you are fishing for smaller trout, panfish, etc. Backing is unnecessary. Look into getting yourself a tapered leader to use on your fly line as well. Tie tippet on as necessary to the end of the leader. Most tapered leaders thin out to a specific tippet size. That tippet will slowly shorten as you lose flies, break off, or just cut it from changing flies. As it shortens, add the tippet that came in your kit.

As for equipment... you have a rod,reel, line, leader, tippet- all you need now are flies. Make sure you use fly patterns that are native to your area. This will ensure you catch more fish. Practice makes perfect. I started with a kit as well. Practice making your casts and soon you will be as hooked as the rest of us who enjoy fly fishing!

Good luck and happy fishing!

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

I agree with dplummer on all his info. I have backing on my reel, but since I only fish average trout and such in the east, I doubt I've ever even had half of my line out...let alone backing.
Make sure you understand the knots and when to use/change tippet materials. Using a poor knot from line-leader or going too far up the leader before replacing can lead to discouraging results.
If you don't already have it among your gear, a vest/gear bag and net are very handy when wading out from the bank. There are so many nicities too that you can pick from later that you need/want such as fly float/sink, nippers, strike indicators, etc. Good luck!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Oh, and glasses...whether they are sunglasses or otherwise...there's always a risk of your fly getting hooked in you during casting...and you want to protect your eyes. Good polarized glasses will help you track your fly on the surface and see below as well.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from dplummer wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

WVOtter... Your glasses comment brought a memory about when I first started fly fishing. I was casting out and took the hat right off of my head!!! Glasses are an absolute must when fly fishing! Hats are optional!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from LesserSon wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

All above advice is sound. Casting form is what this style is all about. Don't put a fly on until you get the line to do what you want. You can practice in an open lawn. Keep the cast straight over your head. Work on your timing; keep it slow enough for the line to stretch out on your backcast, but not hit the ground. When you think you can do it without hurting yourself or ruining you gear, forget it: go after panfish to get the feel of fish on the line and figure out how to retrieve. They will take dryflies and small poppers. Good time to practice the roll cast, twitch it here, twitch it there.
Once you can cast, hook, retrieve, and release a sunfish without dropping your rod, practice your casting again, and THEN head for troutstreams. Big water is easier to cast on, but small water will teach you where the fish are. If you do get into tight places, don't expect to do much casting; just get the fly onto the water without making your presence obvious to the fish.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Keep fly fishing simple. Buy a rod, reel, line, leader and tippet. Tie on a fly and go. Starting with bass and bluegill is great because they are easier to catch and will teach you good mechanics.

Backing also makes the arbor to your reel larger giving you faster pick up of your line.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BioGuy wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

I got into fly fishing when I was 12, much the same way that you are doing. One of the best things you can do is find a fishing buddy to show you how to properly read water (a lesson I had to learn on my own). You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by learning which sections of stream likely harbor fish, and which ones to avoid. All the equipment in the world won't help you if you don't put your flies where the fish are located.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LesserSon wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Oh yeah, the retrieve. The reel is just a place to keep the line. Use your finger to pinch the line against the grip. Use the leverage of that long rod to bring the fish to you.
I am right handed, but I adopted a non-traditional "spinning rod" style pretty early by reversing the line/reel for left-handed retrieve. This keeps the rod in the right hand at all times, and minimizes the number of fish you lose trying to switch hands after a strike.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

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