Fly Fishing Basics

The Fly rod
Carbon fibre these days, it will be light so you can cast all day long (well that’s the theory). Rods come with line rating on the butt section. This rating will tell you what line to buy to use with the rod to ensure a balanced outfit, for example, I would say to start with I would recommend a weight 6/7 rod and line as this can be used on both rivers and still waters and can take fish from 12 ounces to 20 pound without to much loss of experience. You could however buy a rod to suit the type of water you will be fishing or if you are fishing a large still water fishery like Wavin Lake the 6/7 weight rod is perfect. When fishing a small rivers like the Delvin River in Gormanston a 3/5 weight rob would be perfect where fish would average 6 ounces to 2 pounds in weight.

The Fly line
Todays lines use current plastics technology to provide long lasting performance and ease of casting and this technology is advancing all the time to give better and better lines but do not be taken in by the occasion gimmicks that are developed more to market a product than benefit your days fishing. As well as the weight ratings the same as the rod your line comes in three basic types: floating, intermediate (slow sink), and sinking, All have there uses and will present your fly to the fish at different depths, The sinkers will often come with additional ratings e.g.Di3, Di5, Di7 which shows the sink rate of these lines. The only weight available when casting a fly outfit comes from the fly line itself and when combined with good casting technique allows you to deliver the fly where required. To kick off with I would recommend starting with a floater (after all this time I still use very little else) as this can be used to present a fly on the surface or fish a nymph or wet fly beneath the surface using weight of fly, length of leader and speed of retrieve to control depth, not as complicated as it may seem.

The Fly leader
Leader is simply the line that connects you fly to the main line usually made from flouro-carbon these days as this delivers strength with low diameter meaning you have less chance of breakage and thinner line to avoid spooking the fish. I will sometimes revert to nylon when fishing dries that are not that buoyant as flouro-carbon is more dense and sinks quicker dragging the flies under. As a rule of thumb guide on still waters I will use 6lb flouro-carbon for nymphs and wet flies 8lb and up for lures. I use 7 and 8 weight rods and find that using leader any lighter than this will break regularly. If I want to use 4lb or less I will step down to a 6 weight rod which is not as heavy and has more flexibility to help avoid breakages.   Keeping it simple a 6lb leader will cover most eventualities and is an ideal first choice.

Flies
come in two main catorgaries; dry flies and wet flies. Dry flies are buoyant and are fished on or in the surface and generally imitate a hatching or adult insect of some sort. Wet flies sink and are fished under the water, these break down further into sub catogories of nymphs that imitate a juvenile insect of some sort and lures that can imitate bait fish of some sort but are generally attractor pattors that trigger an instinctive aggressive response from a fish.

The Net
I am not going to get bogged down in the many different types of net available just to advise you to make sure that the net you have with you is knotless to avoid damage to the fish, long enough to reach the water comfortably whether you are in it, on it or beside it, and big enough for your target fish.

The Priest
The priest is so named as it is the device that administers the last rights to your fish. Even if you intend to fish catch and release  you need to carry a priest as there will be times when that fish will just not go back and the kindest action is to despatch it quickly and efficiently.

A hat with a peak or wide brim to shield your eyes and one final piece of equipment I would urge you all to wear is spectacles or sunglasses. Your eyes are vulnerable do not risk them.

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