For me, fly fishing is a modest compulsive obsession, and therefore every conversation eventually ends up coming around to fly fishing. Because of this, conversations with non-anglers often result in blank stares or half-hearted attempts on their part to feign interest in the discussion. It should come as no great surprise that when at social gatherings where I am the only fly angling person in attendance, I often end up alone in the corner with my waders on.
Occasionally I’ll happen to engage someone who will inevitably say, It looks like fun always wanted to try it. When that happens I always discourage them by suggesting, Try golf instead. Again, more blank stares.
In discouraging others I assure you I am not being territorial by hoping to keep new anglers from crowding the waters I like to fish. In fact, that couldn’t’ be farther from the truth. Conversely, it’s my caring nature my compassion for others that motivates my discouraging words. Your employer, family, and credit card will thank you.
When Jen contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to participate in her series of guest post tips for beginners, the first thing I thought was, It’s too late for that. Its fairly obvious that Jen has already been seduced by the temptation sucked into the dark abyss that is fly fishing. All that I or anyone else can do for her now is to make her comfortable and offer encouraging words to help ease the pain. Like any addiction, it’s important to have a support group. Assuming that she won’t take my advice to get out while you still can, here are a few helpful hints, worth every penny of what she paid for them:
- Don’t be proud.
As much as wed all love to save every tangled tippet were sure to encounter, wasting time to decipher the delicate and seemingly impossible intricacies of a bird’s nest is a waste of time. Remember: you’re not going to catch fish unless your fly is on/in the water, and most of the time you can cut the tangle out, splice your tippet and be back on the water much faster than had you attempted to de-snarl the mess. Yes, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with having mastered a daunting task, but often times it makes sense to take the easy way out.
- Win the Lottery.
Quality fly fishing gear doesn’t have to be expensive, but the price per gallon of gas isn’t getting any cheaper. Even if you have a favorite local piece of water that doesn’t require driving a bunch of miles to get to, eventually you’ll embark on trips requiring considerably more driving to chase fish on rivers and lakes that beckon you to come hither. And gas may not be your only transportation consideration. How reliable is your vehicle? Are you confident in its ability to get you to where you’re going, and then back home again? I’m not suggesting that you have to go out and buy some swanky four wheel drive rig (although 4wd is a nice insurance policy), but a reliable vehicle that can be trusted to get you into the backcountry on roads less traveled, out of cell range, is important. As your fly fishing obsession worsens, and it will, you’ll be engaging in a fair bit of driving, and possibly even travel involving airfare. You may even seek to become the owner of your own de Havilland Beaver so you can drop into remote bodies of water and pursue whatever it is that anglers are after. It’s inevitable don’t fight it. Start buying Lotto tickets now.
- Get more rods, now.
No matter what anyone tells you, one rod will not do it all. Many beginners start out with a 5-weight rod, which is a good all around choice for trout fishing. But it’s not going to suffice once the obsession has sunk its fangs in deep. You’ll want a lighter rod for skinny waters and small fish. You’ll also want a heavier rod for chucking big streamers in the wind and fighting bigger salmonids and warm water species. There’s a convenient formula for determining which rod weights to have: 4, 6 and 8; or 3, 5, and 7. So, if you have a 5-weight rod, it’s recommended that you get a 3- and 7-weight as well. Itll open up your angling possibilities and increase your overall enjoyment. Just as you match the hatch with the right fly, match the catch with the right rod.
Having a collection of fly combo rods is often referred to as having many rods in one’s quiver. While quiver is a term used to describe a case in which an archer stores their arrows, in the case of fly fishing it’s a reference to having several rods, the collective price of which makes one shake and tremble. And remember that 3 rods will only suffice for a while and eventually you’ll find a need for very specialized rods. Start amassing your collection now while there’s still some money in the bank (refer back to #2, above).