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TheUltimateAngler777

Beginner Fly Fishing

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Will you be fishing in large streams and rivers requiring long casts or, instead, small meandering streams? For the former, a 6 or even 7 weight rod will serve you better whereas for the latter, a 4 or 5 weight rod is about right. I like a weight forward floating line so I can get a little extra distance-on windy days especially.  DON'T settle for the "level" line that comes with too many beginner kits.  Although there are some really pretty fly reels on the market, the majority of your money should go toward the rod and the line.  I can't and won't recommend any particular setups but you'll be pushing the envelope a bit by sticking with a $100 budget.  Skip a few meals out and the extra dough from that will help you find something that will be far more satisfying than compromising too much.

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Look at the cabelas kits. Their rods are good for the price. A reel is basically just to hold the line on unless you are finding steelhead. A 6 weight rod and line will be about the most versatile for trout. Dries to streamers are manageable and can get you into bass and Spanish too.

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Orvis Encounter 5wt $169.00

This is a great set up for a beginner and can be used for many years of learning. 9' 5wt rod is a very common rod to learn on.

i have taught a lot of people how to cast and this is the package I always recommend. Check out Orvis website for tutorials.

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All good advise above. The line and the rod are going to be key, the reel just needs to function. You can get a reel on Fleabay for very little money. Cabelas puts their rods and combos on sale quite often and are a good value, as are some of the BPS ones. A 6 wt is probably your best bet, but you can go up or down one wt depending on what flies you are casting most often. I have an old Abu 8 1/2 ft rod rated 5/6, that I really like using for trout, crappie, and the such, and I try to get out with it during the shell cracker spawn, that's really a goof.

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I don't want to shill for cabelas either but they have an LSI 6 wt rod and reel setup for I think about $150 total. I may have gotten it on sale. Anyway, that is my go to rod and has been for four years. I mostly bass and crappie fish with it. It's sturdy as hell and has good action. I agree that you don't want to spend much on a reel. Start with affordable fly line and then upgrade. You will notice e difference. Just don't blow your wad to start. You may not enjoy it enough but if you practice you can't not enjoy it

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I have fly fished for years. I have 4,5, and 7 weight rods. I use my 5 wt. more than anything else. I only use the 7wt. for larger bass poppers. I think the guys recommending 6 weight rods with 6wt. weight forward lines have the right idea. One thing to consider is your tapered leader. I would recommend one weight heavier than you think you need. That will result in fewer fly losses from snapping off as you learn to cast. Fly fishing is fun and I wish you much success.

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My setup is a Fairplay 5 wt I use for trout and bass. Picked it up decades ago for about $50 and have had a lot of fun with it. Great rod for sunfish too. Like the above posts say, the reel is just to hold the line. 

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If you thought the bass fishing bait monkey was bad...

 

There is some good advice above regarding the line and rod being most important 90% of the time. The types of water you fish and the species you're fishing for will have some impact on what weight, but generally, a 5 or 6 wt will cover most trout fishing bases.  You can fish dries with them, nymph, and throw smaller streamers reasonably well.  

 

Here's where I suggest spending a bit more money and why:

 

The thing with spending money on fly gear... bad gear can make casting a frustrating nightmare and totally turn you off to the sport.  My dad bought me a cheap Cabelas 5wt combo with cheap line that I almost immediately had to replace because casting was less than user friendly.  Also, good gear will last you YEARS so long as you don't beat up on it.  Consider these things one-time investments for years of enjoyment.

 

I suggest expanding your budget a bit, even if it means fewer beers, you'll thank me later.  The Fenwick Aetos fly rods generally sell under $200 and can be had on the inter webs for way less (I paid $100 or so for my 4wt).  It's action is fast, but manageable for a beginner.  Redington is a company now owned by Sage that also makes a lot of high quality products intended to not break the bank for the new fly angler.  Still, I would suggest spending the equivalent of $150-$200 on your rod.  

 

Line is next.  Getting a floating front tapered line will cover most of your bases.  For most trout fishing, I really like Rio Gold,  but Scientific Anglers, Sage, Orvis, etc all make quality lines.  Some may sell for $70-100, but you can catch them on sale.  I don't think you need anything incredible to start, but I would suggest spending at least $50 on line.  

 

You can learn to tie your own leaders once you get comfortable casting and begin to understand specific purposes, knots, etc a lot better and they're a great way to save money.  However, at first, I would suggest buying tapered leaders to save you frustration.  I will also suggest using tippet rings for just about any application that isn't dry flies because they'll save your leaders.  I would also suggest picking up mono tippet in 4x and 5x to cover most applications.

 

You can learn on a $50 reel and be totally ok.  

 

I will also very strongly suggest casting lessons.  Sometimes fish commissions do them for free/cheap.  Other times you can get them at fly shops/ Orvis stores.  You're going to wan to practice at first.  A lot.

 

So...

if you can expand your budget to $300 or so, you'll be in great shape and won't be in a crazy rush to upgrade everything by your second season.  

 

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Once you figure out what type of fish you are trying to catch, look to ebay, or other places for a used Orvis Clearwater set up. Also might be easier if you started out by using a slower action rod, as they are more forgiving to "less than perfect" casting. Check local fly shops for the type of fly that's working in the places you will be fishing. Wooly Buggers work well in most places

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It is hugely helpful to get casting help from the local Orvis shop, etc., or from a real fly fisherman.  I use the term "real" because I've met a lot of self-proclaimed "fly fishermen" who couldn't cast at all and were pretty much clueless on the mechanics/theory.

 

With good instruction, it's easy to learn to cast effectively.  Fly casting is not intuitive; getting instruction will insure your success.

 

I continue to watch casting videos from the experts.  Fly casting is kind of like golfing... you will always be looking for ways to improve and ways to identify faults in your casting.  I've been fly fishing most of my life and I don't consider myself to be a excellent caster.  Some guys are amazing.  I'm just not one of them...  :rolleyes:

 

Tight lines,

Bob

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