What is Fly Fishing? A Complete How to Guide

man fly fishing

Fishing can be traced back to prehistoric ages around 40,000 years ago. From old school wooden sticks with sharpened spears attached to the top, compared to today’s more traditional fishing rods and fancy reels. These were the earliest forms fly fishing.

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Things have changed a lot since then. Fly Fishing has become a premier way to catch fish generating over a billion dollars annually in the fishing industry.

Knowing how to fly fish is a skill that takes time, but also patience. Don’t expect to pick up a fly rod and become an expert overnight. These skills take time to learn and a lifetime to perfect.

How will you find fish fly fishing?

How will you Catch them?

Follow along as we dive into great detail discussing what fly fishing is, gear, components, tips, tactics, and resources at your disposal.

What is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is the art of using a fishing pole, reel, and fly to imitate bugs, insects, and fry in order to catch fish.

With various types of cast and flies the angler can imitate insects fly above the water, larvae, and other aquatic life forms.

Fly Fishing may be utilized in both freshwater and salt water situations, although different gear will be needed for both.

What Fish Can You Catch?

When using a fly rod fisherman can target every species of fish imaginable.

  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Bass
  • Redfish
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Pike
  • Tuna
  • Steelhead
  • Bone Fish

These are just some of the most popular fish available. The possibilities are endless as to what fish you can target.

As with any style of fishing techniques will change with the seasons and so will locations.

If your not sure what fish you should go after when fly fishing call a local sporting good store or guide service. Often times these individuals will have first hand knowledge of the current fishing activity.

Fly Fishing Near Me

How can someone go about finding an area near them to fish?

Start off by researching waterways in you area. Google Earth is a great place for that.

Waterways to look for include

  1. Lakes
  2. River
  3. Ponds
  4. Streams
  5. Brooks
  6. Oceans
  7. Aquaducts

Some of these places may sound obvious to some. For others that are just beginning to fish they may not be so obvious.

Now that you have identified waterway that may hold fish, lets look into where to target fish.

Where to Locate Fish Near Waterways

Rivers and streams are among the most popular places to fly fish. This is for good reason.

Rivers and streams hold fish that are more prone to eating on the surface. Sometimes the only food source is one that lands on the surface.

Specifically try targeting the areas listed in the image below.

areas to target fish graphic

When fly fishing as a beginner I believe a great place to start fishing is stocked trout ponds.

These ponds are stocked regularly and are usually maintained around the shorelines. This allows for ample room to practice casting.

An online British magazine believes that….

“small, stocked still waters are ideal because you do not need to cast far.” (Pride of Britain.com, 2017)

What Fly Fishing Gear Do I Need?

You will want to make sure you have a reliable starter kit. Note that most starter kits can be cheap and lack the control that you may get from more expensive fly rods.

This does not mean that you have to spend a fortune to get started. Decent combo kits can be bought on a budget.

Any decent fly fishing beginners starter kit will include;

Fly Fishing Starter Kit

  • Fly Rod – 4-6 wt is preferable. The weight of the rod refers to the line that is used for it.
  • Fly Fishing Reel – Make sure there is fly line on the reel or at least backing.
  • Fly Line – This line will not be the best quality but it will suffice for now.
  • Fishing Flies – All starter kits should include fishing flies. Don’t worry too much about spending extra money on better flies just yet.
  • Rod Holder – A rod holder will house your rod in order to protect it. This is your investment into your new hobby, lets protect it.

Recommended Article >> Fly Fishing Gear For Beginners – What you Will Need

The next step is to learn the correct fly fishing knots to use.

For beginners, one of the easier knots to tie is called the ‘half blood knot.’ The image below is a picture of what that knot looks like including how to make it. (Angling Knots.com, 2016)

Fly Fishing Basics – Setting Up a Fly Rod

The next step is to set up your fly rod. This may already be done for you if your starter kit cam as a complete set.

For those of you wondering how to piece together you fly fishing beginner rod, the video below will explain in perfect detail.

Fly Fishing Basics – Casting

There are so many types of fly fishing casts out there today that we don’t have time to cover them all. In fact we shouldn’t even if we wanted to.

Trying to read and understand fly casting can be very difficult. So I have added another video below to help us out.

Still have questions about casting a fly rod for beginners?

Feel free to drop a comment down below.

Additional Fly Fishing Gear

Now to be fair most of these items are not completely necessary in order to start catching fish with a fly rod. They will however make life a whole lot easier on you while your out there.

1. Lanyard – A fly fishing lanyard is a necklace of sorts that holds additional tools, flies, and floatants.

2. Fishing Net – Nets come in all shapes and sizes. Things to consider is size of the net, depth of the net, and cost of the net. A smaller compact net is ideal when walking up and down a shoreline all day.

3. Fly Box – Fly boxes are worth their weight in gold. They house all of our flies that cost us dearly at times. I like bright colored boxes as they are easier to find if you set them down.

Want to know more about Fishing Flies? Click the link to learn more.

4. Waders and Boots – Now waders are not a requirement by any means. However, standing in water all day can really take its toll on your skin or even body core temperature. Comfort is important in order to focus. If your budget will allow it, pick yourself up some fishing waders and a good pair of wading shoes.

Final Thoughts

man holding fish in water

Finally, if you feel as though this article has in fact helped you broaden your knowledge and understanding of what fly fishing is, then all you need to do now is take the next step.

Talk to other angles and fishermen/women when you are out fishing. You can learn so much from others just by having a chat or asking simple questions.

Ask questions here if you like. I will do my best to answer in a timely manner to help you out.

Fishing is a hobby so make sure you enjoy it and do it right to avoid any harm or danger to you or any fish in the process.