Women who make the decision to fly fish have some
disadvantages. Don't get upset, it is just the way things are. Most
of us have not grown up playing baseball. That has to do with the
Neither men nor women have much experience in throwing
things behind them. That is an un-natural movement for anyone. It
is part of being a fly-caster . . .throwing the line, (casting) behind
you. And not just back - but back and up.
With a body conscious society, more women work out. Running,
walking, aerobic classes or other health club exercise routines. Fly
casting is mostly developing a sense of timing. Not much physical
strength is required for fishing lakes and streams with small rods.
Salt water fishing, for salmon, bone fish, and bigger blue water
fish like permit and tarpon can require casting heavier rods and
lines. You will need to develop some upper body strength to do
well at those. Steelhead require larger rods, as do stripers and
"Youze pays yer money and youze takes your cherce," as the
old saying goes. In this case, you have to start somewhere. Let's
hope it is with smaller rather than bigger rods.
You can learn to cast on your own. I don't recommend it. There
are lots of good books and videos on the market. But getting up to
speed takes time. The best idea is to take a class. Prices of classes
and schools vary, but the bottom line is you will save a couple of
years of frustration by taking a good class.
How do you find a good instructor, class or school? The
Federation of Fly Fishers, (FFF) headquarters in Bozeman
Montana, has a list of certified instructors all over the United
States. There are some located in Canada as well as other parts of
the world. A phone call will get you information on your region. You
can reach the FFF at: 406-585-7592.
One of the local fly shops giving lessons? Ask for phone
numbers of their former students. And call them. A reputatable
casting instructor will always be glad to furnish references. Most
quality classes will provide all equipment. If you have a friend or
relative who seems to be able to put a fly where they want it, ask
them to teach to how to cast. (Unless you have a marriage truely
made in heaven, I don't recommend asking your husband or
You need to have your own equipment after you have been
through a class. Not a cast-off, "Here honey, this rod will work for
you." Trust me, it won't. If it did "HE" would still be using it. That
goes for waders too. Truth be known, I divorced my first husband .
. . and many years later my oldest daughter said, "Hey mom, did
you always get the leaky waders?"
"Only while I was married to your father," was my response.
"Castwell makes sure my waders don't leak - either pair." Castwell
is my husband of nearly twenty-five years. Part of the reason the
marriage works so well is that we have a shared interest in fly
fishing. And enough mutual respect for each other that we each
have our own gear. I'm not a second class fly fisher, and I bloody
well don't expect him to be either. None of our waders leak. Now.
But that's another story.
It is very important for you to have your own fly rod. Again
what brand or size or weight will depend on what you want to fish
for. The most common rod for streams will be a four or five weight.
If you need to purchase just one rod for several different fishing
situations, I would recommend a six-weight.
Talk to your casting instructor. If the instructor works for a fly
shop, be a little wary. Sometimes fly shops are anxious to sell
what they have too many of, not what you need. Visit more than
one store before you buy.
Never, never ever, buy a fly rod you have not cast. Any
reputable shop will take you outside with the rod and a matched
line and let you cast the rod. If the shop you try won't do that, say
"Thanks," and leave.
After our students have learned basic casting, we have them,
"Walk The Plank." They don't get wet, but it is a baptism of sorts.
We lay out a dozen or so of everything from very cheap, modest,
mid-range, to expensive fly rods, all the same weight with identical
lines for them to cast. When they have done that, (all with
six-weight rods) they have a better idea of the differences in rods.
Even an idea of what feels good to them. Which rods are less work,
easier to cast - and work best for them. "Walking the Plank" really
Another way to try out all kinds of equipment, and cast all the
major fly rods is to go to a sports shows. Every major city has one,
and some regional shows specialize in fishing. It's a great
opportunity to pick up tips from professionals in the fly fishing
world too. Some shows have classes and demonstrations that are
free for the watching.
Your local fly shop can be another source of information. They
should have a calendar of regional shows. Fly shops should know if
there is a local fly anglers group, plus where and when it meets. It
might be a Trout Unlimited or FFF group. Some of these have
breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings with great programs. Or
maybe a bunch of folks that get together and tie flies. That's
another whole world.
Several groups in our area meet on a regular basis. They share
where they have been, what worked, and how to get there. One
local bunch puts a couple of family fishing outings together every
year. Great fun! There is a group which raises trout to release in a
local lake. Another raises - and releases - salmon. Neat stuff.
If you want to learn fly fishing, join one of these groups for a
year. Attend their meetings. Get involved. Fly anglers are the
finest group of people with whom I have had the pleasure to be
associated. Dear hearts and gentle people.
You never know who you might meet. Did I mention I met
Castwell on the main branch of Michigan's AuSable River one
summer evening waiting for the evening hatch? ~ LadyFisher
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