As previously stated, most anglers can learn how to master conventional tackle and difficult to cast baitcasting reels fairly quickly. Put a fly rod in their hands, and the situation changes rapidly. Fly fishing requires a paradigm shift in fishing; one that many anglers cannot grasp initially. Once the fundamentals are understood, many choose fly fishing as a standard form of fishing. Many who want to start are looking for cheap flyfishing gear, and it so happens the Internet has everything that is necessary.
Before getting into the gear itself, it is necessary to explain a few things about fly fishing that many do not understand. The first thing is the paradigm shift: Fly fishing is about casting a line and not a lure. Fly fishing uses a weighted line to cast a very light lure, often composed of hair and feathers, to the fish.
Fly gear is measured by weights. The weights range from a three weight up to a 15 weight. Weight represents the fly line size and helps anglers design their fly fishing around this fact. Later on, we will be looking at cheap fly fishing gear combos that will come in a range of weights, and we will be looking at what fish the angler can target based on that weight choice.
Since the line is cast and not the lure, line type is important. The best lines are called Weight Forward, WF on the package, lines. These lines have a heavier front section of the line, and this heavier section allows the angler to cast farther. The angler works the rod and line to generate energy, and that energy passes from the rod into the line. A weight forward line helps generate more energy and by proxy, a farther cast.
The most common fly fishing is done in cold water rivers and streams for trout, salmon and the like. Anglers use flies that match emerging insects and the nymph larvae that the trout feed on. The salmon, caught during annual migrations to spawn, are normally caught on very flashy, bright lures that trigger instinctive strikes. Both types require delicate presentations and a carefully matched fly to the particular insect hatch.
This is not to say that fly fishing is strictly limited to cold waters. In fact, many anglers have taken an interest in warm water fly fishing for bass and panfish, and there are even rod and reels designed specifically for saltwater fishing. The saltwater fly fishing gear is very specialized and expensive, so we will not be reviewing saltwater gear.
COLD WATER FLY FISHING
Cold water simply means fishing for trout and salmon. The trout is the most common fish to target with a fly rod, so we will look at gear designed for that purpose. Trout are very skittish by nature and can be very finicky eaters. If the fly presented does not match the current forage, the trout simply will not touch it. Additionally, presentation is important, because a line and fly crashing down on the water’s surface will spook the trout and ruin that area’s fishing for the time being.
Trout fishing means delicate approaches, so a lighter fly weight and rod is necessary. This means a line weight of no more than a five weight combo.
Amazon.com has this combo that is ideal, yet cheap flyfishing gear.
The combo comes with rod, reel, line, backing and a case. Backing, an important aspect of fly fishing, is a braided line that is put onto the reel before adding the fly line. Most fly lines are only about 80 to 100 feet in length, so backing is added to the reel before the line is spooled onto the reel. While backing may not seem necessary for most trout fishing, it is vital for salmon and saltwater fishing. It is common to have fish run for 100 yards or more, so the backing is vital to catching the fish.
This specific combo is a five weight, making it ideal for most trout fishing. The rod length, nine feet, is standard for fly rods.
- Full outfit
- Ideal for beginners
- Reel can be right or left handed
- May be too light for some warm water fishing
- Probably needs to be set up by a professional or someone familar with fly fishing
- Price may be a shock to some starting fly fishing
WARM WATER FLY FISHING
Warm water fly fishing usually means larger bodies of water such as lakes and larger rivers. Anglers are targeting large and smallmouth bass as well as pike, musky and the like.
Anglers will need something more substantial to fight these larger fish. It is common for bass to average three to five pounds, and some muskies to be well above 10 to 15 pounds. Anglers need to choose at least an eight weight combo, and this one from Amazon.com fits the bill perfectly.
The eight weight is also good for some inshore saltwater applications such as striped bass in New England to the red drum in the Gulf of Mexico. There are stories of anglers catching and releasing tarpon of over 100 pounds on eight weight tackle.
- Perfect for warm water and some saltwater fishing
- Complete combo with everything but lures
- Right or left hand retrieve
- Right or left hand retrieve
- Much too heavy for trout or panfishing
- Heavy rod combo will tire anglers not accustomed to fly fishing
- Set up may require professional help or someone familiar with fly fishing
For those interested in learning more about fly fishing, visit the following links:
Orvis is a leader in fly fishing, and the company has plenty of solid information on their website for the beginner.
Bass anglers wanting to pick up a fly rod can check this site for tips and techniques. The Orvis site has information on bass fishing as well.
Those who are really hooked on fly fishing and want to try the ultimate thrill should look at this site on fly fishing in saltwater.
Cheap flyfishing gear is not as cheap as conventional gear, but the fly fisher is not going to be very conventional anyway. Enjoy your fishing adventures!