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Thread: ARE WE MAKING FLY FISHING TOO DIFFICULT FOR BEGINNERS? - Readers Cast - Oct 10, 2011

  1. #1
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    Default ARE WE MAKING FLY FISHING TOO DIFFICULT FOR BEGINNERS? - Readers Cast - Oct 10, 2011

    ARE WE MAKING FLY FISHING TOO DIFFICULT FOR BEGINNERS?
    As I read posts on FAOL I constantly read about the problems that new fly fishers are having or have had and I cannot help but wonder if we are making fly fishing too difficult for beginners to grasp. For instance, I see posts from people stating that they tried fly fishing several years ago and quit because they just could not do all that is required. I have read posts that state that they would like to learn how to fly fish because watching a fly fisherman fish looks so relaxing and looks like fun, but, they just do not think that they could master all that casting they see being done.

  2. #2

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    YES! EXACTLY! Well said.
    You've got to show folks that fly-fishing is effective at catching fish...even MORE effective or versatile in many situations than SPINNING GEAR!
    I was in the same situation at one time. I tried fly-fishing on my own, caught fish, it was fun....but I decided I could catch fish more efficiently with spinning gear, so I put the fly rod away for a number of years.
    We moved to a new place, new places to fish. I discovered that my spinning gear was inadequate to the way the FISH wanted a (fake) food item presented. I could tell what they wanted, I just struggled to be able to do it. So, I saw a sale on St. Croix fly rods at Cabela's, and decided I would "upgrade" my old combo, and really give fly-fishing a serious effort once again. I did, and I'm SO GLAD! I still use spinning gear from time to time, but fly-fishing is my choice whenever possible, and makes up 75% of my fishing.
    One thing I'd add about casting. Folks see a fly-fisherman casting and think it looks complicated. They need to understand it LOOKS different because with fly gear the weight of the LINE carries the fly to the water, whereas with spinning gear the weight of the lure carries the line to the water. The goal is the same, getting your artificial "lure" to the spot you've chosen to cast to...with the end result of catching a fish.
    Even if not all of us remember our own childhood clearly, we've at leasted watched young children learn to cast. They aren't good at it at first, but they soon "get it". Fly-fishing is the same. Anybody can do it with just a little practice up-front.

    Its a constant struggle. On our local fishing club's website, I've been posting reports for YEARS, trying to show folks how effective and fun fly-fishing IS. Not CAN BE, but IS. It isn't a "just for trout" specialized technique. It is effective for just about ANY species you wish to pursue. I started posting the reports as I was really just beginning to learn, to show that you don't need to miraculously be an instant PRO at fly casting...you just need to get out there and chase fish with it. I did get at least a few people to start fly-fishing or fly-fish more often, but there's still a lot of anglers in the club that HAVE the gear but don't want to use it. I guess they need to make up their mind to fly-fish on their own, at their own time. I continue to post the reports there as food for their thoughts to chew on.
    David Merical
    Ankeny, Iowa

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    David,

    In regards to fly casting.....I have worked hard to try and explain to beginners just how to use a fly rod in casting and have not been happy with the way I was trying to explain the technique to beginners. I never was happy with my explanation.

    Well, that has changed after attending the Troutfest in Townsend last spring. Lefty Kreh was putting on a casting demo and he made a statement that I had never thought about and it has made teaching fly casting a whole lot easier and seems to help the beginner to understand more of what they are attempting to do. Lefty stated that with a spinning rod or casting rod, you cast the lure. He stated that you do not cast a fly rod. What you really do is unroll fly line. I have thought about this a lot and what he said makes it a lot easier for beginners to understand. They can see the fly line unrolling and have a better understanding. When they work on unrolling the fly line, it helps them to slow down their stroke and they concentrate on making the fly line unroll. Think about it. You cannot "see" a cast but you can see if you are allowing the fly line to unroll and it is a lot easier to work on unrolling because you can "see" it. I have improved my "style" with a fly rod by remembering to slow down my stroke and allowing the fly line to unroll behind me and in front of me.

    I really feel it has helped me and I know it makes it a lot easier to explain to beginners and they do a lot better at presenting the fly.
    Warren
    Fly fishing and fly tying are two things that I do, and when I am doing them, they are the only 2 things I think about. They clear my mind.

  4. #4

    Lightbulb Nice presentation ...

    ... Warren.

    I think it is worth adding that beginners need to be introduced to fly angling on the very "fishiest" water available.

    You can't really learn much about fly angling in places where there are few fish. The more fish there are to teach you what you are doing wrong makes it more likely that you will end up doing things right.

    John

    P.S. I do have a somewhat different point of view about the value of learning by dry fly fishing. But that may have more to do with the different kinds of water you and I fish than it does about the merits of either approach.
    The fish are always right.

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    "P.S. I do have a somewhat different point of view about the value of learning by dry fly fishing. But that may have more to do with the different kinds of water you and I fish than it does about the merits of either approach."

    I understand what you are saying and agree with you 100%.
    Warren
    Fly fishing and fly tying are two things that I do, and when I am doing them, they are the only 2 things I think about. They clear my mind.

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    Yes. The magazines, the ads, the hype, is all gadgets, technology, new and improved, specialization, secret techniques... Why I quit bothering to read most of it many many years ago. I learned to do this when I was 8 years old, and it wasn't rocket science to me at that age (thanks, Dad), and I try real hard to keep things simple even 35 years later. But the overwhelming message that is presented in this sport is that to be successful, you have to have every new toy and every technique down pat, and spend a bloody fortune to have even acceptable gear.

    BS.

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    I recently took my wife fly fishing for the first time. Unfortunately, I took her to a stream that in the fall runs very clear, with spooky fish and never produces a ton of fish, but always of quality. The next time, I take her fishing, I'm going to switch that up. I'm going to take her to a local brookie stream, let her cast the fly in and catch a fish on every cast. They will be small, but I think she'll enjoy the catching... and perhaps i'll be able to get her on a few more hikes with me.
    Life is expensive... but it does include a free trip around the sun.
    Mottled Fly Fisher - My Fishing Blog

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    Who are the "we" who are making fly fishing difficult?

    Learning fly fishing without proper instruction is difficult. It is d*amn hard to teach yourself to fly cast. I know because I tried it. But with proper instruction, it is much, much easier.

    I don't see myself as making fly fishing more difficult. Not at all. I see myself as making it easier by teaching beginners how to cast and teaching them what is important and what is not.
    Regards,

    Silver

    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

  9. #9
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    I'm one of those tried it and gave up, then tried again. Do I cast like crap YEP!!! but I'm getting better, course it's gonna be bad again since I haven't been able to fish in two years due to medical issues, which I hope with the surgery I had last week finish's everything.

    I cast good enough to catch fish, there ya go!!!!! I can tie flies OKAY. BUT I'm not a pure fly fisher. When I started up again I did nothing but fly fish - all other tackle got put away and I immersed myself but one day while looking for something I came across my jig molds and I went and poured jigs for over 8 hours!!! I went back and pulled the old gear out and used it, just enjoyed it too much. I built the fly gear into my overall fishing and couldn't have been happier. It was more stuff to carry in the car and out fishing but didn't care.

    I'm with Rtidd yeah it's hard for beginners - in some places there's no fly shops or fly clubs or anyone close that they know who fly fish's. Learning from video's is tough.

    Fatman

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    If I am guiding a true beginner I teach them one cast at first; the "water cast."

    I instruct them to cast down river and let the line stretch out then all you do is lift the rod up vertical to the 1 o'clock position behind behind your head and shoot it forward. This will work well where I start at the beginning of the day. After that they slowly but surely start to false cast on their own without any command from me. And as long as they are getting the flies where I tell them I never say a word. I have noticed that if I speak up about some technicality in their cast it almost immediately gets worse than it was. If they are constantly messing things up I will just remind them to do the water cast.

    For the most part I have no problems with fixing birds nests every now and then or getting flies out trees. That is why I am there. With all they need to learn in one day; casting, stripping, mending, setting the hook, and getting a larger fish on the reel, anything technical I can leave out of the casting portion I do. Keep it as simple as possible.

    I think less input in the beginning is always better. If a person is really interested in fly fishing they will figure out their cast enough to be an effective fly fisher. Then, if they decide they want to be able to double haul 80' of line then they will get a lesson from a FFF certified instructor and hone the skills to a fine point.

    I think a lot of people just catch a natural rhythm by instinct...
    The sport is so royal that there is neither gentle nor villein, if it knew of it and loved it well, who would not be more honoured for that reason by all who understand it.

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