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Starting Out In Fly Fishing

Thursday, 27 August 2015  |  Simon

Sometimes it can be quite daunting starting out with any new hobby as you often don’t know where to start.  But when it comes to fly fishing there are many aspects to consider.  You’ve seen the programmes on TV, watched the other anglers at the river/lake and fancy giving it a go!

But what fly fishing kit do you need? What fly fishing clothing do you need? And the flies?  There are so very many to choose from!  Then factor in famous fly fishing ‘bravado’ (which can be a little nerve-racking to some) because every fly angler is an expert and only their flies are the best!  Put this lot together and you’ve a recipe for a potentially over-whelming situation for a beginner.

So what do you do? Fortunately there are plenty of avenues open to you.  The first one being the fact that despite the bravado mentioned earlier, there is a wealth of incredibly kind and generous fly anglers out there who are desperate to share their hobby with a beginner and will do so with gusto.  So tap your fly fishing friends or relatives for some tips.

To avoid getting into any self taught bad habits, it is really worth getting some private lessons if you have the funds available. There are excellent instructors around who will work with you from the basics through to more advanced techniques if you wish.   Check out the Game Angling Instructors Association or Advanced Professional Game Anglers Instructors Association for more information and to find a tutor near you. You should be able to book lessons from a few hours, to full days’ workshops or a full course. Decide in advance if you want lake or river fishing and choose an instructor from that specialism.  Of course you can do both if you wish!  Be straight with your instructor as to your level of experience or what in particular you want to get out of your lesson.  Remember you are paying them and as the customer you are entitled to get what you pay for.  Though don’t be surprised if your first lesson is on a football field or similar for you to practice your casting.  It could be a while before you get to the water.

There are some super clubs around too who welcome new comers and you can easily search online for your local club. Check out if you have an amalgamated club set up near you – that way you will benefit from access to a wealth of knowledge and waters.  You may have a privately run lake near you and again the people here will be happy to help you too.

You will require a fishing licence though from The Environment Agency.  You can buy these online at any time of the day.  If you’re not sure that fishing is for you, no worries, just buy a day licence.  Alternatively you can buy them for up to a year for dedicated anglers.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the right kit is important and it’s good to get the best kit that you can afford.  Your local shop or online retailer such as The Essential Fly will be pleased to advise you on a basic set up.  And unless you are particularly fly fishing fashion conscious there are some great brands out there for clothing and gear that will not break the bank. On the subject of clothing the most important things you need are a hat and glasses.  You can get a fly fishing vest if you want to keep your flies and boxes handy but the rest of the clothing can wait until you are really ready.  Of course, if you want to go wading then unless you don’t mind getting cold wet feet/legs you need to invest in a pair of waders and boots!

When it comes to flies, you are right, there are so very many to choose from.  Thousands in fact.  The best option is to ask the other anglers what flies they are using on your local water.  Write the names down so you can look them up online or in your fly fishing book when you get home!  Some will be of an industry standard type of fly ie a very well known and popular fly.  But do remember that some angers tie their own flies and these may not be available commercially.  There are some standard flies though that make up the foundations of every good fly box.  Typically these include: Pheasant Tail Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Blank Buster Buzzers, Adams Parachute and Klinkhammer.  These will be available from all good fly fishing retailers and should be available as loose flies or in collections for trout, salmon or sea trout.

There is great disparity in the pricing availability and quality of flies.  Your local shop will have a good range but you can’t get away from the benefit of ordering online and getting your flies delivered.  At least your online retailer such as The Essential Fly is open 24x7 and orders are dispatched same day or next day. The Essential Fly even send out their flies in specialist protective packaging and very importantly label each fly so you know its name and part number.  As a beginner it’s very difficult to be faced with a delivery of flies all loose in a bag (as some other retailers really do send them out) as you won’t be able to differentiate one from the other.  With The Essential Fly’s system you can automatically tell which one is which and a lot of people actually keep the labels in their fly box so they know for the future too.

Price wise, you don’t have to pay a fortune for your flies.  Really you don’t.  As an example The Essential Fly flies represent fantastic value for money with great quality flies.  Coupled with their no quibble guarantee you are assured of a positive experience in the very rare event of a problem.  The online store at The Essential Fly actually tells you what’s in and what’s not in stock too so again, there’s no surprises.

These days we cannot ignore the Internet, we use it for everything – shopping ,research, banking and more.  There is a wealth of fly fishing information online – articles, recommendations, tips, advice, books, videos and of course shops to get your basics. You can’t deny that it’s always helpful to be able to talk to an angler for specific advice and at The Essential Fly there is always someone on the end of the phone or email to help.

So what are you waiting for?  Talk to your fishing buddies, check out the gear (or borrow it for now!) (don’t forget your licence!)and get out on to the water and have some well deserved fly fishing fun.

Tight lines!

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