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Fly Fishing Equipment 101

Fly Fishing Equipment 101

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Fly Fishing Equipment 101

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  1. Fly Fishing Equipment 101 Presented November 20, 2008 by Lew Ricker

  2. Where To Begin • A person new to the sport of fly fishing will need to answer the question: What species of fish will I be targeting? • Answering this question is the major step required to decide on the equipment required. • Other factors are the size of flies, size of the water, and typical wind conditions • Another factor is how you will be fishing; such as from a float tube that usually requires a longer rod for easier casting

  3. Fly Rods Sizes & Usage • Fly rods & lines have a weighting system from 0wt up to 16wt (0wt being the lightest). • Rods are typically matched to the line although some range can be tolerated (+ or - 1wt) sometimes specified by the manufacturer (or other special needs).

  4. Fly Rods – A Rule of Thumb • 0wt through 2wt (not common) would be in the class used for very small trout, and panfish on small streams • 3wt and 4wt are popular for small-stream fishing because they are shorter (6-7.5ft) • 5wt is often considered the all-around rod for trout & is typically 9ft long • 6wt and 7wt are used on large rivers and for fishing with heavy flies & streamers for bass & pike • 8wt to 9wt might be used for steelhead or salmon in medium rivers, as well as for bass fishing with large flies and as lightweight salt water use

  5. Fly Rods – A Rule of Thumb (2) • 10-11wt rods and lines would be used for pursuing large salt water game fish under conditions of high wind or surf. • The heaviest rods (12–16wt) are mostly used for bluewater species (billfish, tuna) while fishing from a boat

  6. Rod Action • Rod action refers to the flexibility or stiffness of the rod • Rod actions are described as extra-fast, fast, medium-fast, medium or slow • Fast rods are somewhat stiff & slow rods are quite flexible • Medium-fast & medium rod actions are good for most fly fishing • If possible, try before you buy!

  7. Fly Lines • Fly lines are described by their weight, floatability and taper • The line weight usually matches the rod weight • Some fly lines float (F), some sink (S), and some have sinking tips (F/S) • A floating line is versatile and can be used with both dry and wet flies on flowing & still water. It is easier to cast & manage than a sinking line • Deeper fishing on lakes & ponds requires a sink tip or full sinking line

  8. Fly Lines (2) • Sinking lines come in different densities and thus sink at different rates. A clear intermediate sinking line is a good line to have for lake fishing • Most fly lines in use have a taper - either weight forward, bug or bass taper or double taper • Weight forward lines (WF) have the fattest part of the line nearer the front than the middle. They cast a bit farther than double tapered (DT) lines and are preferred for casting bigger flies • Line care – don’t practice casting on pavement; only on grass or preferably water

  9. Fly Reels • A fly reel should match the weight of line & rod because balance is important • When fishing small fish, the reel is mostly a line storage device • A fly reel should have an adjustable drag • A fly reel should have available additional spools • The reel plays a significant role when fishing for big fish, where the drag and line retrieval can mean landing that trophy or snapping your leader.

  10. Fly Reels (2) • Avoid reels with inner plastic parts that can wear out • Salt water – ensure reel can take it and rinse well in fresh water • A large arbour reel is recommended for big fish • A reel can last a lifetime so it’s better to spend the extra $ for a good reel initially

  11. Fly Leaders • Leaders are tapered to ease their casting • Leaders are typically 5’, 7.5’, 9’ & 12’ long • A heavy butt section is attached to the fly line and it tapers down to a 18”-24” section called the tippet where the fly is tied • For leader-shy fish, leaders are made of fluorocarbon or a piece of fluorocarbon is tied on the end of the tapered leader

  12. Fly Line Backing • Fly lines are normally 90’ long • Large fish can easily run out this amount of line so backing is required under the line • Backing is made of braided Dacron line • Backing takes up space on the reel spool allowing the fly line to be reeled in more quickly • The amount of backing depends on the reel (reel specs or line first then backing & then reverse), the fly line and the type of fishing you are doing • Big fish – maximize your backing)