Fly fishing beginners equipment, what do you need? There are many items that can be purchased today to be used in the sport of fly fishing. Fly fishing in general can be done in so many places that you first need to decide where exactly you plan to spend most of your time. This maybe at the local still water lake or river or maybe you plan to do a bit of travelling by vehicle or airplane.
All these thoughts need to be addressed before going out and purchasing items. The main pieces of equipment needed for fly fishing are; a rod, a fly reel, a fly fishing line, a spool of backing, some leader material and flies. You can get by with these items if you choose wisely and hopefully this article will help you decide.
A Single Handed Fly Rod
The fly rod can be either a single-handed rod or a double-handed rod. There are a few variations that can switch from one to the other and are worth considering if targeting lager species like steelhead or salmon. Generally double-handed rods are for large waterways where it is important to get a good cast and the single-handed rod is more widely used on smaller rivers and rainbow trout lakes, along with bone fish and similar marine species. As a beginner I would recommend starting with a single-handed rod.
Fishing with a single handed rod means you have one hand free to work the line better as with a double handed rod takes both hands to make a cast. On the single handed rod with the free hand you can use it to retrieve the line at different speeds to entice fish to take your fly.
However best of all it is used to put extra force into the cast by hauling the line as you make it to produce powerful strokes that can go a long way. Typical casts using this are single haul and double haul and you can even put a haul into other casts like the roll cast or spey cast to get extra zing into them. This is what makes the single handed fly rod more versatile than the double-handed spey rod.
The Fly Fishing Reel
Next you will need a fly fishing reel these come in different sizes and line capacities. For a single handed rod of around 10 feet it would usually be rated for a seven weight line so you need to match the reel for this. Each fly rod now has a line rating marked on the butt section so you can match your gear up properly.
Some rods are marked with one size others have 2 or 3 line ratings say 6-7 or 6-8 again a 7 would work OK on these rods but the manufacturer is telling you that you can go lighter or heavier for certain conditions. For instance if you are out on a windy day a heavier line will help fight into the wind and on calmer days going down a weight can be useful to give delicate light casts when fishing easily spooked fish.
The reel itself is really only a container for the line and when starting out it is wiser to spend the best part of your budget on the rod and line and leave buying an expensive reel until later when you have progressed a bit. A good quality reel will cost you a few hundred as they are made from light composite metals which help prolong a day’s fishing but as mentioned when starting out a reel around $40-$50 would be a better fit.
Choosing a Fly Line
The fly line is by far the most important part of the setup and for a newbie starting out I would suggest a full floating fly line which is weighted forward this will be marked WF7F. This way you will be able to make decent casts from bank side or boat as the line suggests the weight of it is pushed to the front so it loads the rod easily for the cast and not so much effort is required for the beginner.
If buying a full floater and you need to make your flies sink a polyleader can be added to help with this. these are fairly cheap and come in different lengths and sink rates. There are dedicated sinking lines on the market which you can purchase over time to add to your setup but for starting out a full floater is best.
Backing Line and Leader
The backing line is mainly to be attached to the reel and then to your fly line. The backing is wound on the reel first and helps bulk up the spool so a) your fly line is close to the outside of the reel and b) gives you extra run off when playing a larger fish which may want to run a bit further than the 30 yards which is the typical length of the fly line.
The leader material is used to be added to the fly line so you can attach your flies. Leader materials come in a few different types monofilament being the cheapest. Fluorocarbon is good as it is invisible in the water to the fish and so helps disguise your fly.
A typical leader will be around 9-10 ft for a single handed rod, you can go longer but starting out it takes time to get used to the setup and a longer leader will only help in getting you tangled up. I would keep it no longer than the rod you are using to start with.
Fly Fishing Trout Flies
Lastly all you need is flies to be added to the leader material. Depending on what target species you are after will decide what flies type you need. After that it would be advisable to ask at the local tackle shop what flies are fishing well. Ask about colour size and shape.
As natural insect hatches change throughout the season so do the eating habits of the fish. So getting first hand help will dramatically help you succeed. I would start with only one fly on the leader again to help keep the casting smooth and as you get more advanced you can add one or two more in the form of droppers.