7 Fly Fishing Tips for Beginners

Fly fishing is a very popular fishing sport that can be both relaxing and challenging at the same time.

The following tips and tricks are ideal of beginners. When you’re just starting out learning to fly fish you’ll want all the help and advice that you can get from the experts.

Practice your Casting

The experts say that the one thing that you need to do to develop a good casting technique is to practice as often as you can. This will lead to a proficiency in casting that make all the difference between being a successful fly fisher or a frustrated one.

Try practicing against a wall on the outside of your house. Just imagine that there is a clock hanging on the wall that is at the same level as your shoulder. Place markers, such as black electric tape, at the 11:00 and 1:00 clock positions. Practice casting against these markers for a few minutes each day to improve your accuracy and style.


There are several things that you need to think about when choosing the right type of rod for you. Every reel and rod has a certain function that you need to be aware of.

One of the first things that you need to consider is comfort. Is the rod that you’re using comfortable for you to hold? If you’re shorter than about 5’5″ you won’t want to use a rod that is seven feet. Choose a rod length that is easy for you to hold and cast for a few hours at a time.

Most of the rods on the market today are designed to allow you to feel when a fish bites. The shaft of the rod is called a “blank” and when the rod is first manufactured the blank is made from fiberglass, graphite, or other materials. Each of these blanks has an action that is either: light, medium, medium/heavy, or heavy. The upper portion will also have an action that is either: extra light, light, or regular.

Both ends of the blank are assembled and the final result is a fishing rod, complete with a handle and guide. No matter what type of rod that you’re using, the “action” of the rod will refer to the “blank”. The action of the rod will have a great deal to do with the type of fishing that you’re doing.

Holding your Rod Effectively

It’s important that you learn to hold your rod effectively under any fishing conditions. You want to make sure that you maintain good control at all times without gripping too hard. You can adjust the power of your hold when you’re in the middle of a cast. This will allow you to minimize the vibrations of each movement. With just a bit of practice you’ll be able to increase the tightness at the same as you learn to relax your grip.

What do to with a Running Fish

Be prepared if a fish runs toward you. Stand on your toes and at the same time raise your rod up over your head as high as you can. Take the line and put it back over onto your second and third fingers of the hand that is holding the rod. Quickly strip the line to pull up on any slack.

If the fish starts to run away from you make sure that you keep the rod up high and slowly let out the line, letting it slide from your fingers. Be ready to palm the reel of the rod when the slack is entirely gone.

Best Bait Choices

Following is a list of some best bait choices as recommended by the experts:

  • Grubs: Grubs are small lures that are usually used to catch larger fish. Grubs are great for use in highland reservoirs where there is little cover for the fish. The grub is much like a bare jig head that has a soft plastic body to attach to the hook. You’ll want to use them most often in clear water conditions.
  • Jigs are best used in water that is clear to murky and in water temperatures that are below 60 degrees. The jig is considered to be a “presentation” lure and the ideal way to use them is by making them look as alive as you can. The jig is essentially lead-weighted bait that has one hook. You’ll want to add a trailer to the end of the hook for the best results.
  • Plastic worms: If you want to catch that trophy fish you’ll probably want to use a plastic worm. This is because the plastic worm is one of the most effective lures for catching any type of big fish. Plastic worms have a thin and long profile with a lifelike action that attracts them instantly to bass. You’ll have to learn how to use a plastic worm by touch, feel, and practice. The more that you practice that better results you’ll achieve. The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that the fish needs to see the worm before it will hit it. Therefore a plastic worm is best used in clear water.
  • Lure color: Choose lures that are all black or all white. A mix of black and red also works quite well. There will be the odd time when fluorescent colors, such as bright yellow or green, will work well but you’ll need to experiment with this.

Keep your Dry Flies Floating Longer

One way that you can keep your dry flies floating higher and longer on top of the water is by waterproofing them. Take a can of Scotch-guard, the same stuff that you use to protect your furniture, and spray those flies that you plan on taking fishing with you in the next few days. Let them dry overnight before using them.

The Scotch-guard will put a waterproof protective coating around your flies and prevent them from becoming drenched with water. This will allow them to float higher and longer on the water.

Types of Reels

Reels – There are three main types of reels that you can choose from when it comes to fly fishing: (1) baitcasting reels, (2) spinning reels, and (3) spin cast reels. The reel that you choose will depend on your own personal preferences.

Baitcasting reels: Baitcasting reels have better accuracy and control of the lure than other reels. They are better equipped to handle lines that are ten or more pounds in weight. The one thing to be aware of when using a baitcasting reel is that they often have the tendency to snarl or fight back when the spool starts to spin faster than the line that is being played out. This is particularly true if you are casting into the wind.

To prevent these backlashes, baitcasting reels have a magnetic braking feature but you’ll want to count more on the control of the spool tension, which is a knob that is usually located right beside the handles. You’ll need to set the spool tension knob for each lure by holding the rod straight and disengaging the spool. Loosen the tension just until the lure begins to drop down and then tighten the spool just a bit.

When you’re casting the reel you’ll disengage the spool and then hold it tight with your thumb. When you want the lure to move forward you’ll simply loosen up on the pressure. After some practice, you’ll learn to control the speed of the spool so that you have better accuracy.

Spinning reels: Spinning reels are reels that have a spool that is stationary. The line is spun onto the spool as a device called a “bail” rotates around it. Spinning reels can be used for any size of line but more experienced fly fishers will use it for lightweight lures with a weight of less than ten pounds. Spinning reels tend to perform a little better than baitcasting reels when you’re casting into the wind.

One disadvantage of using a spinning reel is that there is the inevitable twisting of the line which will create tangles and knots. When your line becomes twisted the best thing that you can do is replace the line with a new one. One way that you can prevent some of these tangles from occurring is by putting the spool into a glass of water for about 24 hours before you head out to go fishing, giving it a chance to soak.

To cast the spinning reel, hold the handle of the rod with one hand, making sure that the spinning reel is on the bottom side with your middle finger placed in front of the “foot” of the reel. Slowly open up the bail and pull the line behind the first knuckle of your index finger. Release the line by pulling your index finger in a straight position. You can control how far you cast the line by letting the line move along your index finger as close to the spool as possible as the line unwinds. When you want to stop the line you simply push your finger against the lip of the spool.

Spincast reels: Spincast reels are also known as “push button” reels. They are closed-face and are very easy to use. They are almost impossible to tangle and can be cast in smooth, long arcs without twisting. The main portion of the spool is encased in a covering and it remains in one place while a pick-up pin spins around the spool. When buying a spin cast reel make sure that you don’t buy the most inexpensive one since you want to pay for good quality. Many beginner fly fishers do well with a spin cast reel.

To cast the spin cast reel all you need to do is depress the push button and hold it down. You’ll release the button when you want your lure to move in a forward position. Most spin cast reels are able to be used with any weight lure or line size.

Andrew Lang

I inherited my passion for fishing from my late father. I often write about my experiences with trout fishing, inshore fishing and deep sea fishing.