Completely New to Fly Fishing

FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
Hey everyone,

I’m an absolute beginner at fly fishing. I took a class from the Caddis Fly shop (Eugene) this past weekend, and want to get out and start trying to land some fish!

In addition to seeking any tips, tricks, and tidbits of wisdom you all would be kind enough to share with me, I have a question.
Can I use any old hook and bait? For instance, I have some #10 hooks and yellow power bait that I’ve had pretty good luck with catching hatchery trout on my spinning rod. Is there any reason I couldn’t use that same set up on my fly rod?
 
Irishrover
Irishrover
When you are making false cast to load your rod, that power bait might just go flying off the hook. The fly rod, and fly line are best suited to and designed for fishing with flies.

Get your hands on a copy of the Curtis Creek Manifesto by Sheridan Anderson and spend some time reading it. It will cut your learning curve by 50%.

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/curti...f06888e72191f99#idiq=11284723&edition=3827197

Tight lines!
 
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FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
Irishrover said:
Rather than waiting, I went down to the Alton Baker canal and tried it, and that’s exactly what happened. Well, actually the hook and PB went flying off. Then I tied in a fly, and that also went flying off after about a dozen casts.

I’ve never had that happen on a spinning rod. I think I need to reevaluate how I’m tying on my hooks.
 
TheKnigit
TheKnigit
You might look at your casting before revisiting the knots that you are tying. There can be a couple of reasons to lose a fly.

1. Fly was to large for the tippet/leader.
2. You are starting your forward cast to soon. Are you hearing a snap or crack sound like a whip when you are casting?
3. You might have snagged brush or grass on your back cast.

I use a basic anchor knot for a lot of my flies if they aren't either to small or I would like additional articulation.
 
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troutdude
troutdude
Until the last Saturday of the month; most streams are closed to fishing with bait. But why would you try bait with a fly rod? Fly rods aren't designed to cast bait. Rather they are designed to cast, in many cases, teeny tiny flies. So that they gently lay on, or into, the water and not spook the fish.

And to many fly fishermen women, using bait is against the unwritten rules of fly angling. Hopefully none will chime in on this, with any sarcastic remarks. But, instead, OFFer you some help like the others above.
 
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FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
troutdude said:
Until the last Saturday of the month; most streams are closed to fishing with bait. But why would you try bait with a fly rod? Fly rods aren't designed to cast bait. Rather they are designed to cast, in many cases, teeny tiny flies. So that they gently lay on, or into, the water and not spook the fish.

And to many fly fishermen women, using bait is against the unwritten rules of fly angling. Hopefully none will chime in on this, with any sarcastic remarks. But, instead, OFFer you some help like the others above.
Why? Because I have lots of it, and I don’t have many flies, and I know power bait floats the same as a fly would. I also know the hatchery fish here seem to like the yellow kind. This particular body of water is open to fishing year round.

The distinction between bait, jigs, flies, etc. is one that I don’t understand. They’re all synthetic materials (unless it’s live bait, which powerbait isn’t) so why are they treated differently?
 
FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
TheKnigit said:
You might look at your casting before revisiting the knots that you are tying. There can be a couple of reasons to lose a fly.

1. Fly was to large for the tippet/leader.
2. You are starting your forward cast to soon. Are you hearing a snap or crack sound like a whip when you are casting?
3. You might have snagged brush or grass on your back cast.

I use a basic anchor knot for a lot of my flies if they aren't either to small or I would like additional articulation.
Most likely #2 & #3. It was a pretty brushy hillside I was on, and there were definitely a few snaps that I heard. Just couldn’t seem to get it to cast as far as I needed to get out of the eddy current, so I was letting out more line. Probably didn’t give it long enough to unfurl on the back cast.
 
TheKnigit
TheKnigit
#2 can be a hard one to break sometimes. Especially if you are used to casting a tackle rod. It is really awkward to watch, but try and watch the tip of your rod as you pull the rod back and forth. Make sure you are careful not to drop your rod tip to much on your back cast, and your mainline should make a relatively flat infinity loop, or figure 8 pattern.

If your mainline is more of an arc pattern then you might be either not waiting long enough on your back cast, dropping your rod tip to much, or a combination. I see a lot of newer fly anglers do a combination especially on the final cast. The Orvis website has some really good videos that can help with some casting techniques if you are interested.

Also, I am relatively positive that things like power bait are considered "bait" according to the regs. and is separate from an artificial fly or lure.
 
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Irishrover
Irishrover
I think TheKnight is right regarding your cast. This may seem like an odd way to learn the cast, but it worked for me when teaching a couple of my grandsons. 1.Find a field (land) where you can practice casting 2. tie a piece of yarn onto your tippet, 3. put some fly line out in front of you in a straight line, 4. Close your eyes! 5. As you would do in a cast, bring the fly rod up in a steady smooth motion to the two o'clock position. 6. Hold that two o'clock position until you feel a slight tug on the line. That only take a fraction of a second, but it tells you your line is straight out in back of you, that your rod is loaded and is ready to come forward to the ten o'clock position to complete the cast.

The idea is to practice this until you know when your fly rod is loaded and ready for the forward movement. That's why closing your eyes helps, you are attempting to get the feel it.
 
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DOKF
DOKF
Remember that you are for the most part casting the flyline, not the actual lure.

Casting PB can be done with a flyrod (sacrilegious!), but must be done very gentle. Try a gentle roll cast, or something akin to Euro nymphing.

Practice is good, and practice on a lawn is sage advice, but know that it may trash your flyline ...
 
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S
Spoonplugger1
Sounds like a rollcast situation possibly, did you get taught that? With a little practice 50-60 ft. casts will be possible with a 5 weight rod. You will probably throw off powerbait though I have never done it, worms will work, and the use of the smallest Dick Nite spoons it well within the realm. They have a #8 siwash hook if I remember right that is about as sharp as a deer antler so a little sharpening will be necessary or a change to a better hook.
 
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FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
Spoonplugger1 said:
Sounds like a rollcast situation possibly, did you get taught that? With a little practice 50-60 ft. casts will be possible with a 5 weight rod. You will probably throw off powerbait though I have never done it, worms will work, and the use of the smallest Dick Nite spoons it well within the realm. They have a #8 siwash hook if I remember right that is about as sharp as a deer antler so a little sharpening will be necessary or a change to a better hook.
I did learn the roll cast, though I haven’t been able to get much distance out of it. My rod is a 7’ fiberglass 5wt, not sure if that makes a difference?
 
TheKnigit
TheKnigit
In my opinion both the length, and rod material, will effect casting of any sort. I really enjoy shorter glass rods for small creek trout fishing, but getting length out of your cast or mending with them can be a little difficult.
 
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FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
TheKnigit said:
In my opinion both the length, and rod material, will affect casting of any sort. I really enjoy shorter glass rods for small creek trout fishing, but getting length out of your cast or mending with them can be a little difficult.
Thanks, good to know what application it will work best for! Hoping to try it out on Dexter lake this weekend. Figure from the boat, rather than shore, I might stand a chance of attracting some fish?
 
TheKnigit
TheKnigit
Well good luck! I have a couple of high alpine lakes that I will typically fly fish from a boat in. If you have a trolling motor, and someone willing to run it for you, then you can fly fish out of the bow. Troll along the bank in the evening, say in about 15'-20' ish of water. Then cast back into the bank or to rising fish. The trolling action of the boat will help fix your cast, and straighten out your line, if you have a pile up or everything ends up falling apart.

This will give you a lot of opportunities to cast on the water, without have to worry to much about your back cast or making a perfet cast for a perfect drift. Make sure that you have a good clear area around your feet if it is at all possible. If your fly line behaves like mine can, you will catch on everything remotely possible and impossible in the bottom of the boat.
 
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FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
TheKnigit said:
Well good luck! I have a couple of high alpine lakes that I will typically fly fish from a boat in. If you have a trolling motor, and someone willing to run it for you, then you can fly fish out of the bow. Troll along the bank in the evening, say in about 15'-20' ish of water. Then cast back into the bank or to rising fish. The trolling action of the boat will help fix your cast, and straighten out your line, if you have a pile up or everything ends up falling apart.

This will give you a lot of opportunities to cast on the water, without have to worry to much about your back cast or making a perfet cast for a perfect drift. Make sure that you have a good clear area around your feet if it is at all possible. If your fly line behaves like mine can, you will catch on everything remotely possible and impossible in the bottom of the boat.
Thanks for the advice! I was thinking to try going out into the middle of the water and anchoring. Sounds like that is NOT the way to do it hahaha.
 
F
frontierhistorian
FairweatherFisher said:
Why? Because I have lots of it, and I don’t have many flies, and I know power bait floats the same as a fly would. I also know the hatchery fish here seem to like the yellow kind. This particular body of water is open to fishing year round.

The distinction between bait, jigs, flies, etc. is one that I don’t understand. They’re all synthetic materials (unless it’s live bait, which powerbait isn’t) so why are they treated differently?
Understandable that you want to use the stock of bait that you have, and I agree that the availability of artificial lures, flies, and various kinds of bait can be overwhelming. It will help to keep in mind that the difference between fly fishing and using a spinning or baitcasting setups is not just technique, or even the basic gear, but the tackle, start to finish. The fly rod and reel are designed for fly line (and backing line!), special tapered leader, and tippet. And what you put on the end of the tippet, whether wet or dry "flies," is in a separate category from all the hooks, bait, and lures that you would normally use for spinning reels or baitcasters.

I only started flyfishing a few years ago, and have lots and lots to learn, but one of the things that struck me right away was that the complexity had far less to do with casting technique and more to do with the nuances of terminal tackle and choosing that tackle to best meet the needs of the existing conditions.

I think it also helps to understand that the tradition of fly fishing has been to fish with flies that closely mimic the actual creatures that fish feed on (although I think there's some elasticity of definitions here). In some ways, too, fly angling seems to come with a belief that it should be challenging, not easy. (And for that reason, the purist of the pure seem committed to dry flies only even when 90% of a trout's feeding is subsurface.) I'm not a purist and am all for doing what works. But even then, fly fishing is much more about fishing than it is catching (as the old joke goes).

Anyway, I hope that provides some insights into what makes flyfishing unique.

A great book to help with the basics is Tom Meade, Essential Fly Fishing. It's a great primer, start to finish, and includes the basic knots you need to know, especially the Duncan Loop (also known as a uni knot) which is absolutely crucial for tying your fly to your tippet.

Good luck!
 
M
mattsavage
Fish inhale bait like PB, eggs, etc differently than when striking lures and flies. They're more likely to swallow the hook which means they'll most likely die by the time its out and released, even if they swim away, they'll be dead soon. bait belongs on stocked lakeswhere you're catching a limit, not in streams with wild, native fish.
 

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