coastalfreak

Brand new to fly fishing.

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Hello all, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. 
 

Im looking to get into the sport of fly fishing. I’ve been fishing with conventional tackle my whole life and fly fishing seems like such an organic form of fishing for me to pursue. Months ago I asked about some beginning tackle on here and had some very helpful responses, but I’m still kinda lost.

 

Ill be moving to Louisiana in the fall, and fly fishing is huge there for redfish and other inshore species. That being said, I imagine that reds are not the ideal first species for a new fly fisherman. 
 

A couple of questions:

Which weight fly rod is the easiest to learn on?

What species should I start fishing for?

What would be the easiest way to transition into the saltwater game? Freshwater is great but my passion lies in saltwater.

 

Thanks in advance,

Kevin

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35 mins ago, coastalfreak said:

Hello all, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. 
 

Im looking to get into the sport of fly fishing. I’ve been fishing with conventional tackle my whole life and fly fishing seems like such an organic form of fishing for me to pursue. Months ago I asked about some beginning tackle on here and had some very helpful responses, but I’m still kinda lost.

 

Ill be moving to Louisiana in the fall, and fly fishing is huge there for redfish and other inshore species. That being said, I imagine that reds are not the ideal first species for a new fly fisherman. 
 

A couple of questions:

Which weight fly rod is the easiest to learn on?

What species should I start fishing for?

What would be the easiest way to transition into the saltwater game? Freshwater is great but my passion lies in saltwater.

 

Thanks in advance,

Kevin


you’ve got some great questions and I’m sure the guys will chime in herewith valuable tips. I’ll stick to just a couple of things. 
 

id day the easiest rod to start with is a 5 wt and the best way to come up the curve (after watching a few good YouTube videos over and over) is to practice to one foot square at 30 feet, then 40 then 50. 
 

I can tell you I’ve been fly fishing for over 40 years. This year -again-  I started the season fly fishing for trout with a light rod (4 and 5 wt), for weeks, most of it Was tight precision casts. If you can’t land a fly on a home plate at 40 feet in many cases you just weren’t going to catch the trout. 
 

yet again I came back to the salt, I picked up My 9 wt and reliably threw 100 feet. No way in hell my casting could have improved like that otherwise. 
 

likewise I’m sure after I get back to bad habits my SW casting will deteriorate a bit 
 

my 2 cents anyway 

Edited by JohnP

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Kevin, my opinion, the easiest to learn with will be what you'll be fishing with the most. Since you want to fish saltwater, and species such as Redfish, Seatrout or Flounder would be what you should start with. You already have fishing experience, all you need to do is relate it to using fly gear.

 

The basics of fly casting are the same regardless of the weight of the outfit. However, because of the physical difference in the gear, there's adjustments. It's no different than casting an ultralight spinning outfit, then picking up a heavy baitcaster. The basics are the same, but there's differences too.

 

For the type of fishing you want to do, there's a range of line weights that will work fine. It depends on how big you want to go with the flies, and perhaps to some extent the size of the fish you may be targeting. A big bull Red can stress tackle, but the average Red would be fine on lighter gear. You'll get varying opinions on what weight is best. I tend to stay on the heavier side than lighter, but have caught Redfish on an 8 wt with no problems. If I was targeting the bigger fish, I might want to have a 9 or 10 wt, but even an 8 wt can handle them in the hands of an experienced angler. Some may tell you that even lighter gear is fine, but here again, it's an opinion and we all do what we feel works best for us. I've caught many Stripers on my 6 wt, but it's not my first choice for targeting them. 

Edited by Jim H

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I agree with Jim H. I don't think you'll have any issues if you start off in the salt. I started off fly fishing to Stripers using an 8wt and then went to fresh. I've never fished for Redfish or Seatrout so let the other guys give you gear advice but I had no problem starting off on the "heavier" rods and then going to the fresh water weights. In my opinion though I think the best investment would be to get some casting lessons. They help immensely.

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Learning on Trout weight rods can work but there  is no reason not to learn on an 8 wt rod.

 

Learning on your own is not the best way. The issue for me with light rod wts is that they are so easy to move around that bad form is more likely.

 

Another massive myth is that rods with certain actions are more forgiving. No rod can mask or aid a poor cast. It does what the caster makes it do. It can’t correct anything at all. 
 

Having said this it is not unusual for casting instructors to teach using 9 foot 6 wt rods. The instructor I am currently working with uses a very fast rod.  I did not ask for a few lessons what we were throwing as it was not that important compared to trying to achieve the correct strokes. The fast rod was nice no probs at all.

Rather than  species or size of them my criteria for line wt selection is the likely wind speed going to be faced and size of flies. Unless fishing for large Pelagics. So if NE coast of USA my general purpose rod would be a 10 wt. Not one of these 10 wts that in reality is more like a 11 or 12 wt. sadly they are out there.

Even for a new guy a 10 wt is not anymore difficult to cast than say a six wt.
I find them fine as the weight of a 10 wt line is easy to feel.

If you really want to move forwards effectively then the very best advice I can suggest is that before you blow money on an outfit that you invest in a few lessons with a qualified casting instructor. Even better if he or she is a regular salt water Angler.  We don’t mostly cast the same way as guys fishing rivers.

 

It is not complicated or difficult if you start off with help. Whilst casting is not everything it is just so fundamental that we get our flies to the fish. They dont always swim in as close as many love to claim.

 

Great new adventure for you. It’s addictive and immense fun. Enjoy.

 

Mike

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Mike is correct in many ways, the fastest way to learn to fly cast is have someone teach you. You can learn on your own but it would take a bit if time, frustration and potential for bad habits. A couple lessons would get you in a good place. Regarding rod weight, again not super important, you do need to be sure everything   Is in sync. By that I mean line is properly matched to rod. For fish, I’m not sure what Louisiana offers but red fish are great on the fly and since that area is know for Reds I would say go for it. They are a great game fish, strong and they take the fly well. Most likely you would use a 8-10 weight rod for Reds

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An intro lesson always helps, use their equipment. Look for an outdoor club or FF shop. Supplement with video, and practice lots in water if you can. I have a $20 line dedicated to lawn casting, but it means having a second spool for your reel.
For a first rod in circumstances you describe, I like an 8 wt. My opinion only, 9 and 10 weights tend to be an order of magnitude less sensitive. Also these larger rods pair well with intermediate and sinking lines. Using these lines brings in a different complex dynamic to learning. You can always add them later as needed.

  8 Wt can fish your local pond or river, lake at the park, most salt. More time fishing any water = shorter learning curve.
  A rod like a 6 or 7 wt could work, and a 6 would be my second pick. 
  Use a weight forward floating line for learning. I did recently notice that a severely tapered WF line, like a Wulff Triangle Taper, gave learners some additional feedback when the load was at optimum to begin their casting stroke. Also, these lines (Wulff) have a color change at the head, alerting you when it’s time to pick up and cast. 

  I’m not an instructor and I don’t know all makes and models, this is just my experience.

 

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Whatever rod weight you chose go with a beginner actioned fly rod. Buying a stiff super fast fly rod is not what you want to begin learning to fly cast with. Most entry level priced fly rods will be moderate action so don't feel the compulsion to buy up for the first fly rod. One example is the scientific angler starter fly rod packages that retail for  $120 that include everything you need except the flies.

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17 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Learning on Trout weight rods can work but there  is no reason not to learn on an 8 wt rod.

 

Learning on your own is not the best way. The issue for me with light rod wts is that they are so easy to move around that bad form is more likely.

 

Another massive myth is that rods with certain actions are more forgiving. No rod can mask or aid a poor cast. It does what the caster makes it do. It can’t correct anything at all. 
 

Having said this it is not unusual for casting instructors to teach using 9 foot 6 wt rods. The instructor I am currently working with uses a very fast rod.  I did not ask for a few lessons what we were throwing as it was not that important compared to trying to achieve the correct strokes. The fast rod was nice no probs at all.

Rather than  species or size of them my criteria for line wt selection is the likely wind speed going to be faced and size of flies. Unless fishing for large Pelagics. So if NE coast of USA my general purpose rod would be a 10 wt. Not one of these 10 wts that in reality is more like a 11 or 12 wt. sadly they are out there.

Even for a new guy a 10 wt is not anymore difficult to cast than say a six wt.
I find them fine as the weight of a 10 wt line is easy to feel.

If you really want to move forwards effectively then the very best advice I can suggest is that before you blow money on an outfit that you invest in a few lessons with a qualified casting instructor. Even better if he or she is a regular salt water Angler.  We don’t mostly cast the same way as guys fishing rivers.

 

It is not complicated or difficult if you start off with help. Whilst casting is not everything it is just so fundamental that we get our flies to the fish. They dont always swim in as close as many love to claim.

 

Great new adventure for you. It’s addictive and immense fun. Enjoy.

 

Mike


hi mike I’d agree but the problem I see over and over is too much emphasis too early on trying to throw a lot of line before getting the timing and accuracy down with an easy to handle rod, at modest distance. More than ever I see timing, accuracy and being able to get the line to unroll and put a fly down properly, all going hand in hand. If not mastered at modest distance it just compounds with bigger rods and more line in the air. 
 

I spent money in the past with casting lessons, but nothing improved my SW cast more than 6 weeks of required precision casting with a rod that was physically easy to cast

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21 hours ago, coastalfreak said:

Hello all, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. 
 

Im looking to get into the sport of fly fishing. I’ve been fishing with conventional tackle my whole life and fly fishing seems like such an organic form of fishing for me to pursue. Months ago I asked about some beginning tackle on here and had some very helpful responses, but I’m still kinda lost.

 

Ill be moving to Louisiana in the fall, and fly fishing is huge there for redfish and other inshore species. That being said, I imagine that reds are not the ideal first species for a new fly fisherman. 
 

A couple of questions:

Which weight fly rod is the easiest to learn on?

What species should I start fishing for?

What would be the easiest way to transition into the saltwater game? Freshwater is great but my passion lies in saltwater.

 

Thanks in advance,

Kevin

Kevin,

 

So I would argue that you should get a 6 or 7 wt rod mid flex rod with saltwater component rod and do what @JohnP is suggesting in freshwater ponds or on the grass just practicing to learn fly fishing mechanics.  You should also fish for redfish too but use light tackle spinning gear and work on identifying areas you can consistently pattern redfish with a tool you are most familiar with.  Trying to do two new things at once will lead to a lot of frustration and slow your learning curve.  Next year after you have built some fly fishing mechanic skills take that same fly rod setup to fish areas you have dialed in redfish patterns using your light tackle gear.  

 

Dan

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8 hours ago, JohnP said:


hi mike I’d agree but the problem I see over and over is too much emphasis too early on trying to throw a lot of line before getting the timing and accuracy down with an easy to handle rod, at modest distance. More than ever I see timing, accuracy and being able to get the line to unroll and put a fly down properly, all going hand in hand. If not mastered at modest distance it just compounds with bigger rods and more line in the air. 
 

I spent money in the past with casting lessons, but nothing improved my SW cast more than 6 weeks of required precision casting with a rod that was physically easy to cast

Hi John

 

I forget sometimes that I have been around the block and what might be ok for me is not the case for another and especially a new Fly Fisher.

 

The casting Instructor I am currently working with has the same philosophy as yourself. I asked him to try and re build my single hand fly cast going back to square one.  A light rod and short range casting has been his approach.  Along with loop control. It is surprisingly  difficult  to cast technically correctly to a level that would enable passing the Instructors qualification. It can drive you nuts and it certainly does that to me. But it is fun and a challenge. I need both even more these days.:howdy:

Yes agree bad form at modest range will be magnified when longer range is attempted and with more powerful rods.

Many years casting ten weights have tuned up my right arm and shoulder but one day the rotor cuff is going to break down.

Many of today’s ten weights are greatly under rated.  They are real pigs to blind cast for any period of time. Rods like these would be about as bad as it could get to learn on. I would not ever wish to own one unless I ever got lucky to fish for Tarpon or Tuna.

I wish you could have cast my favourite 10 wt an old CTS Affinity MX. These day’s some rod makers would probably mark it up as an 8 wt. Yet it casts a 10 wt Airflow Intermediate as sweet as a nut.
 

If the OP does get some lessons then the Instructor will bring along hopefully a selection of rods and it is a great opportunity to learn a lot about them.

Cheers

 

Mike

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4 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Hi John

 

I forget sometimes that I have been around the block and what might be ok for me is not the case for another and especially a new Fly Fisher.

 

The casting Instructor I am currently working with has the same philosophy as yourself. I asked him to try and re build my single hand fly cast going back to square one.  A light rod and short range casting has been his approach.  Along with loop control. It is surprisingly  difficult  to cast technically correctly to a level that would enable passing the Instructors qualification. It can drive you nuts and it certainly does that to me. But it is fun and a challenge. I need both even more these days.:howdy:

Yes agree bad form at modest range will be magnified when longer range is attempted and with more powerful rods.

Many years casting ten weights have tuned up my right arm and shoulder but one day the rotor cuff is going to break down.

Many of today’s ten weights are greatly under rated.  They are real pigs to blind cast for any period of time. Rods like these would be about as bad as it could get to learn on. I would not ever wish to own one unless I ever got lucky to fish for Tarpon or Tuna.

I wish you could have cast my favourite 10 wt an old CTS Affinity MX. These day’s some rod makers would probably mark it up as an 8 wt. Yet it casts a 10 wt Airflow Intermediate as sweet as a nut.
 

If the OP does get some lessons then the Instructor will bring along hopefully a selection of rods and it is a great opportunity to learn a lot about them.

Cheers

 

Mike

I only wish you could have fished with me for a number of weeks targeting trout Here. It’s so humbling to discover ones cast aint worth a **** because the distance was Perfectly good...but yet The final delivery of the fly was not Perfect. So The entire thing complete ****. So it requires a full revisit of the mechanics of your entire cast. 
 

I simply love discovering how much there is to learn 

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damn, i was going to suggest he start on a 3wt.  you learn timing, to feel the line and load the rod without having to use a ton of muscle.  just my experience, but I've seen a lot of guys starting out with saltwater outfits get into the bad habit of trying to force a cast out through brute strength.  casting takes some strength,  but the essence of (good) fly casting is finesse and precision.  makes sense to start with something light and sensitive, to me.  who here learned how to cast a spinning rod by throwing 8oz on a 12 footer?

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This is my first season fly fishing so don't have enough experience for gear and technical advice, but one thing that helped me a ton was following program and keeping the practice sessions short and concise. I blended the steps from Saltwater Flycasting and Master the Cast from George Roberts.  The sexy loops videos also had some great exercises.  Focussing on a single specific part of the cast then building on those fundamentals was very productive for me.

 

IMO fishing for largemouth is perfect practice for saltwater (not sure of the seasons or availability of those inshore options in your area) but seems every area has a stocked pond or lake.  It's a fun way to practice accuracy, consistency and turning over bigger flies and poppers.  Also a quick way to develop the habit and timing of a good strip set and fighting fish around heavy cover and structure.  I got bored of largemouth on conventional gear but have been having an absolute blast with them on the fly rod.

Edited by Bait Tailer

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