One of the missions of Texas Freshwater Fly Fishing is to promote fly fishing here in Texas. In promoting the sport, education is needed for those that are new. A lack of education and the fear of approaching experts was a major reason that it took me soo long to get into the sport. So, providing easily accessible, honest advice to those just getting into fly fishing is something I am going to strive to provide.
When first getting into fly fishing, you need to focus on acquiring five things. All of these can be expensive, but they don't have to be! There are less expensive ways to go about getting started if you want, and hopefully Texas Freshwater Fly Fishing can walk you through this process. Here is what you will need:
- Fly Rod
- Fly Reel
- Line Set-Up (Backing, line, leader, tippet)
- Accessories (flies, storage, net, etc.)
- Knowledge (where and how to fly fish)
Choosing the Right Rod Weight
- 0-3 weight: Light or even ultralight fly fishing. Typically used to fish with small flies, on small creeks/bodies of water, targeting smaller fish (light trout, sunfish, and sometimes small bass). These are great for fishing small dry flies.
- 4-6 weight: Medium-light to medium fly fishing. This is the area where most fly fishing is done, especially when first starting out. These are versatile rods designed for a majority of your fishing needs (bass and trout.) These are versatile rods that can typically handle different styles of fly fishing.
- 7-9 weight: These are medium-heavy rods that are typically used for casting bigger flies. They are most often used in pursuit of larger fish (larger bass, some saltwater fishing, salmon, and steelhead)
- 10-12 weight: These are heavy rods designed to throw big flies and fight big fish (Muskie, tarpon, and heavier saltwater.)
- 13 + weight: These are rods that are typically used in offshore, super heavy saltwater fishing (marlin, etc.)
Choosing the Right Rod Length
Shorter rods (usually 6 - 8 foot long) Advantages:
- Easier to cast in tight spaces. Many of the rivers, especially in the hill country, are covered with trees. A shorter rod can allow you to move and cast in these tighter bodies of water.
- Easier to land a fish. A longer rod can prove to be difficult when landing a fish, especially if you are fishing from a kayak or something. A shorter rod can make it easier to bring the fish in closer, helping you to net the fish. They can also be beneficial when trying to put a lot of pressure on big fish (thinking about offshore rods.)
- Lighter and less space. Shorter rods, because they have less material, are usually lighter rods, making full days of casting less tiresome. They are also shorter and easier to pack if you are taking a hike or traveling a distance with other gear, when heading to your honey hole.
Longer Rods (9.5 + foot long) Advantages:
- Casting distance. Longer rods are going to get your fly delivered longer distances. If you are fishing open lakes from a boat, or saltwater flats or the surf, longer rods will let you get your fly in the face of fish further away.
- Increased height. If you are fishing from a float tube, or if you are wading a river where the banks are covered with reeds or tall grasses, the increased length will allow you to keep you fly higher and up out of the grass behind you.
- Line control. Longer rods will give you more ability to mend, or move, your line. If drifting your fly down a creek and there is stick in the way, a longer rod give you more ability to lift the line up and move it around the obstacle.
Choosing the Right Rod Action
|Bamboo rods typically have a slow action,
and will flex the length of the rod.
- Slow or Full-Flex Action. These rods are designed to bend at least three-quarters or more, sometimes down the full length of the rod, from tip to handle. These are usually your fiberglass or bamboo rods, but you can also find graphite rods with slow action as well. Slow action rods require you to slow down and take longer on your casts. They also can allow for softer, more delicate presentations of your fly. They excel when you are fishing small streams, with small (usually dry) flies, and do not want to spook the fish.
- Medium or Moderate Action. These are rods are built do flex about a quarter to half way down the rod. They have plenty of flex in the tip, but have are stiffer near the handle. It provides a middle ground, between the slow delicate casts of the slow action rods, and the rapid casting of the fast action rods. These are versatile rods that can cast and fish small dry flies and larger streamers.
- Fast or Tip-Flex Action. These rods are usually built of graphite and designed to only flex at the tip. They are quick, cast quick, and built to fight strong fish. They are ideal in situations where you need to quickly present a fly to a target fish (like when targeting a cruising bonefish on a flat.) Fast action rods also help to punch casts through winds that you can experience on open water. They are also good for anglers who tend to cast "too fast" and can't seem to slow down, like in the case of many people who are transitioning from conventional fishing to fly fishing, but are not good for all beginners because they do not "absorb" casting mistakes.
|I still fish with this rod (my first.)