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Flyfishing for dummies

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Flyfishing for dummies Empty Flyfishing for dummies

Post by Biltong Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:46 am

Evening guys, I need some advice.

My boy has made me sell my motorcycle (he says I soend too much time on it) and now he wants to start camping and do some regular fishing.

If you remember I was telling you earlier in the year he caught his first fish and now he has become relentless in his quest to go fishing at every opportunity.

Problem is I find normal angling rather one dimensional to the point of it becoming boring.

So I convinced him that we must get into fly fishing as it provides more challenges and therefor more enjoyable.

I have started reading up on the various types of rods, lines, leads and flies.

From what I have ascertained thus far is I need to look at 6-7 weight Rods and lines, but then a mate of mine who says he knows a lot about fly fishing (he hasn't done it for about 10 years), that I can get that weight for my son, but for myself I should get a 8-9 weight rod, but one higher weight line as I won't "feel" the line otherwise.

I found some online sights that suggest that you should start with a starter kit, but my concern is it might be a waste of money to buy something and then you might want to buy a decent rod soon after, is it better to buy decent immediately?

Another thing is which manufacturer of rods and reels that doesn't break the bank but is still quality should I be looking at?

Is a tapering line the best for a novice?

Any advice welcome.
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Post by barrystar Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:27 am

It all depends upon what sort of fish you are fishing for, what sort of water, and what sort of conditions.

For trout I think a good General Practitioner (GP) rod is a 9 foot #6 with an action between the middle and the tip, and I'd match that with the line (My GP #6 is a Sage Flight which at 9' is a good tough rod that can handle a longish line or heavy flies but also present a dry-fly OK as well if a little stiffly - Sage is an expensive make, but the "Flight" is an 'entry-level' Sage and you can get it for £160 odd +/- on Ebay).

More Generally:

a. Personally I don't like rods which say that they cover a range of different weights unless they are at the top end of power ratings (i.e. I'd avoid 5-6 or 6-7 but perhaps accept 10-11) and I like to match lines precisely to rods. Others might think that a nonsense attitude, but I tend to think generally that greater specificity usually = greater quality.

b. The things that most affects the weight of rod you need are:

(i) what you are casting - a heavy sinking line and/or a huge fly that absorbs absorbs a lot of water on the end (i.e. tarpon or pike fly), and #6 is definitely too small, even #8 may be too small - many pike fly fishermen use only #10 and above.

(ii) how much wind you habitually expect to cope with

(iii) how far you need to cast - big waters need more powerful rods.

(iv) how delicate your presentation needs to be - on most smaller waters you won't want to be landing a #8 line on the surface unless the nature of the quarry and snags make it essential to do so, also dry-fly on a #8 is fairly unusual.

(v) the size of quarry, but other than with fish at either extreme of tiny or huge it's what you are casting, how far, and in what conditions that really matters.

c. If a line matches a rod and you are casting properly my take is that you'll always feel it enough unless the rod is really too stiff for it's rating so that the apparent match is a false match. If you want to mis-match lines with rods, whilst I know that suits some people, I'd do it by my own feel not on someone else's say-so.

d. The line to use turns on a number of things:

(i) I would recommend never using a completely straight line, awful to cast with duff presentation and no advantages really.

(ii) Double Taper (DT) lines are good for predominately dry-fly fishing or fishing in small waters which it is easy to disturb because they give you better presentation. They also enable you to save money by turning the line around when it starts to get cracked and worn. They are decent GP lines, but I can find that if I want a longish cast a DT line can be frustrating when I know what the comparison with a WF line feels like (see below) - I have had experiences when I know I can cast to spot X with a WF, but with my DT I can't.

(iii) Weight Forward (WF) lines help getting the line out a lot and are great in windy conditions or if you are fishing wet flies in big waters and you just want to get the fly out there to where you want it. They have to be changed once they wear out at one end. I never use them for dry fly.

(iv) for a novice I'd go for DT or WF for the same reasons I'd choose them for myself - casting is important, but ultimately it's how you present and fish the fly that catches you the fish. Money is also a pointer!

(v) Shooting heads and so-on get pretty specialised - I don't use them, perhaps I ought to...

e. If you can afford it I'd always buy decent straight away. My rule is that I would not kit out my wife or child with something I would not use, because if I would not enjoy it why should I expect them to? I would not buy a 'starter kit' because if you start with bad equipment you get less enjoyment and they tend to skimp on quality too much. The precise level at which you enter is much to do with your own budget (I use Sage and Thomas & Thomas Rods, I have one Loop, and I like Hardy Reels, but am happy to use my old Orvis Battenkills). Reddington are a decent make, so too are Grays - they are junior 'sister' companies of Sage and Hardy, so they have certain standards in mind. There are plenty of makes on the internet which are not so well known but you'll get an OK rod. I got a nice little 7'5" #4 for my son for £35 on the internet from an unknown make, and Leeda Reels have never let me down (in truth reels tend to be just line holders unless you are going for pretty powerful quarry). I'd spend my money on the rod first. With a rod I'd look for finish, in particular I'd avoid a plastic reel seat and I prefer snake-eye line guards. Also, look for whether the rod-maker understands how the rod will be held - ie. the reel is fixed hard against the cork handle with the tightening mechanism on the reel seat tightening it into the cork handle so you are holding cork not half cork and half reel seat (e.g. Shakespeare make quite nice blanks, but many of their models break these 'rules' and I don't like it). With a reel I'd look for all-metal (disc check) or, in some cases, all hard plastic hard, but non-brittle. I don't like reels involving metal for some parts and plastic for others. After a while their different expansion coefficients mean that they just don't work as well. You also want to make sure that both the reel and a spare spool are within budget rather than just the reel. If you are saving money, do it on the reel unless it's bonefish or tarpon you want.

f. Travel Rods are great - 4-piece makes a 9' rod easily transportable and a protective tube manageable to carry, but then the need for quality is a bit greater than with 2-piece rods. The more pieces the greater the risk that lower quality adversely affects the rod.

Good Luck.
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Post by Biltong Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:25 am

Barrystar thanks for your post.

It will be mostly in small dams and small rivers, from what I understand I won't often need to cast very very far, somwhere in the region of 30 to 40 feet.

Here are some of the rods available in SA

Sage vxp 9 weight 9 foot - price about 400 pounds
Sage Vantage 6 weight 9 foot - price about 300 pounds (perhaps for my boy?)
Horizon 10 weight 9 foot - price about 180 pounds
Horizon 7 weight 9 foot - price about 180 pounds (my boy?)

Reels
Sage series 1600 price about 35 pounds
Sage series 1800 price about 50 pounds to 100 pounds
Sage 4500 series around 300 to 400 pounds

Bearing in mind I have to double up on everything, I don't want to spendmore than about 1000 pounds initially. Do you know anything about Horizon rods and reels?

The Sage rods looks to be quite expensive (I suppose the quality is the best) I'll see about other makes avaiable as well?

We will mostly be fishing for trout and Bass and wind could be an issue during certain times of the year.

I think intially I am not going to bother with waders, but obviously flyjackets will be necessary?

Sorry for asking so many questions, but when it comes to salesmen they tend not to always provide unbaised advice, so I need to strike a balance between buying the necessary quality without listening to their "snob" value and value for money. i definitely do not want to buy twice, so your advice is very welcome indeed.









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Post by barrystar Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:47 am

By the sounds of it you are in territory that could be adequately covered by a 6# or a 7#, possibly a 8#, maybe you want to get slightly different between you and your son? I'd be surprised if you want to go to a 9# for trout and bass unless you anticipate huge winds, monstrous fish, and perhaps the occasional shy at a pike or a bonefish. If the latter, you want to spend up on your reel accordingly.

As far as Rod makers are concerned - one important factor is the availability of distributors in your country who will do repairs. In the UK Thomas & Thomas no longer have the back-up they had, so I no longer buy them knew, only off ebay.

I don't know a Sage Vantage - here is an exhaustive review and it sounds pretty good for what it is:
http://www.epinions.com/review/Sage_Vantage_Series_Fly_Rods_epi/content_498404593284?sb=1

Sage are one of the premium large-scale rod makers in the world, makes like G-Loomis are more expensive, but Sage do have v. good back-up in my experience.

I know nothing about sage reels I have to say - I would have thought you really don't need to go crazy I have reels north of £100 - they are hardy ultralite disc and hardy sovereign 2000 and I love them, but reels at that price are not essential - I'd go for a solid aluminium disc-check wide arbor reel. Make sure when you buy that you have a really good feel of the check and how it is adjusted - adjusters which really need a hand to grip and turn them (i.e. ones which are just a small reasonably flush disc which needs gripping and turning on the back of the reel like a volume knob) are better than ones which could change if they were just knocked whilst using the reel (i.e. some have little flat parts standing proud like the handle of a small key that you grip between thumb and forefinger, I'd say to avoid them). Also, look at how easy or not it is to turn between RH and LH wind.
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Post by Biltong Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:19 am

Barry, went and bought the equipment yesterday, and this morning my son and I went for a bit of a fist tryout at a spot nearby, it was more to practice what we saw on the instructional DVD in his starter kit.

I didn't do too badly with the casting and felt quite comfortable, even my son got in the swing of things.

No lick today with catching anything but at least we enjoyed the challenge and will be going for a lesson next weekend.

Cheers for all the advice.
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Post by Biltong Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:21 pm

Went for our lesson yesterday.

Wind was rather strong, so learn't roll casting and wagging the tail.

I found it easy when there was no fly on and I didn't have to worry about focusing on fishing, when we added the fly and started fishing it was more difficult as you try to focus on more things, but got it right.

My son struggled a little but is getting there.
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