Just starting out in fly fishing? 6 steps to success!

This post was prompted by a thread in the forum.

Every now and again people get in contact with me about what rod they should buy for the Kelvin or about tactics they should use. Well from now on I will direct them to this post as I say the same thing pretty much every time.

A typical river rod should be about 8 feet long rated for a 4/5 weight Line…that might seem confusing and it is kind of. Essentially a lighter line is for smaller fish and smaller flies and a high number is for big flies and big fish. 4/5 is nice and in the middle. I use a true 8 foot 4 weight – an orvis superfine troutbum. 

You will hear people and reviewers talking about fast and slow actioned rods. Essentially if the rod is more whippy then we say that has a slow action – if it is stiff we say that has a fast action. Generally speaking slow action rods cover casting faults (which is why I like them) as well as feeling absolutley lovely in the hand when fishing small streams. 

If you want to take your fly fishing seriously (and if you do you will never look at a smelly worm again) you will have to spend a little money on some half decent gear other wise you will wander along wondering why your casting is poor and really not enjoying the whole experience of fishing with a fly rod. 

 Without further ado here is my plan for your eternal happiness..

  1. Put away your spinning rod and never touch it again unless you surely “must” spin for Salmon – it will only be a distraction on your journey!
  2. You need a new rod and general overall outfit..   Sportfish do a cracking deal on an orvis outfit that comes with rod, reel, fly line backing leader and tippet – you cant go wrong with an orvis…go and buy it from sportfish now. Make sure you select the first rod – the 8 foot six for a 5 weight. 
  3. For flies – I use the same flies I use everywhere FLies 1 Flies 2 . Essentially, some cdc&elks, some comparaduns, some klinkhammers and some pheasant tail nymphs will do the job. You van buy them from the GAC or through Flying Hooks.
  4. After getting all that stuff you need to do some reading because if you dont you will never catch anything or learn how to fish the fly properly…I recommend this book. You could even watch a dvd about it as seeing is believeing – try this one. You should try and suck up as much information as you can – The Orvis Podcasts are another good place to get info on techniques,
  5. While you are reading as much info as you can, invest in some casting lessons – contact this guy and book an hour or two. It is not as expensive as you might think. Alternatively various fisheries do casting instruction although it may just be a bloke that can cast that shows you – if you go with a proper instructer then all your faults will be ironed out quickly.
  6. You could also read a little about insect life

And that my friend is how you will become a fantastic fly fisherman!

If you do all that you will thank me in a couple of years, as it will be a couple of seasons before you really “get it” – I promise you when you do “get it” you will be amazed!


  1. Campbell S · September 8, 2008

    Sound advice. Whenever getting a new set up spend as much as you can (afford) on a good rod and line, those are key. The reel holds the line in most cases, except when a big pike takes ahold of your fly and you wish you had a heavier rod and reel…

  2. Neil · September 8, 2008

    Thanks for the tip on the Dave Hughes book – some excellent stuff there.

  3. Alistair · September 8, 2008

    Thanks for commenting Neil – its a great wee book 🙂

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