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Old 04-06-2007, 07:59 PM
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Default Newb advice

I just got back from a vacation in Belize. I went there to scuba dive but couldn't pass up to opportunity to give fly fishing a try while in Turneffe. I had never picked up a fly rod before but I have fished my whole life. It was amazing. I didn't land a bonefish but the dozen or so snapper kept me more than satisfied. Within days of being back, I visited our new local Bass Pro shop in Kansas City and picked up some gear just in time for Crappie season. Wouldn't you know it, it's windy, snowing and we could set record lows for April this weekend!!! I have a kayak and access to a local private lake and it is killing me not to be able to start messing around with our abundant panfish. I ordered a DVD that got great reviews for the basics. That may keep my pacified until I can go fishing.

I have a couple of questions. My home is next to a grade school with a soccer field so I have no excuse not to practice. Is it necessary to practice with a leader when you are just getting started? I understand that to become accurate you should use a leader and yarn. My wife is interested as she can see me outside having fun. We've already trashed a couple of leaders messing around. Guess I'm getting knot tying practice anyway.

I go with some friends of mine to the Lake of the Ozarks for Crappie every spring. I am really excited to bring my fly rod. Does anyone have advice for fly fishing in the ozarks? Types of flies? I'll be happy catching just about anything for now - bluegill, crappie or largemouth. I have a 6 weight rod.

Are there any good online references for flies? I have seen countless types mentioned here but it really doesn't mean anything to a newbie like me. A book or PDF online would be great.

My reason for getting into this is purely for relaxation. I love sitting in my kayak when it is peaceful catching anything that will hit a small spinner as the sun goes down. I can already see that I will enjoy it even more with a fly rod.

Nice forum - I've found some very helpful info already.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Newb advice

Nice to hear you had such a great time with the fly rod!As far as practice casting,yes you should use a leader,some will suggest to use a peice of yarn and there is nothing wrong with that,although I advise begginers to use a fly with the hook cut off,I feel it turns over better and give you more of a realistic situation.As fas as patterns go ,you should make a trip to the local fly shop and let them know your situation,if that is not possable I would buy a dozen attractor patterns,such as,wolly buggers and perhaps a few streamer's,silver darters,dark montreal's,and if your going for bass you cant go wrong with a couple of clouser's.
Hope you have a great time
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: Newb advice

I bought a variety of flies including several wooly buggers and a popper per the person who helped me. Guess I should pickup a few clousers.

Welp, I was able to get out for a couple of hours. I have access to a small uncovered dock where I was able to really use my fly rod for the first time. Cold and breezy but good practice (I think). Didn't catch anything but I wasn't really trying and didn't move from that area. Just worked on repeatedly putting the fly in a few target zones.

I read about marking the line at approx 30 feet for a comfortable working distance to shoot the line from (I know I'm not ready to work on shooting the line yet). I didn't do this before going out but I did bring a permanent marker. I fished a familiar spot. After about 45 mins I was getting the hang of setting the fly in about a 3-5 foot radius at a comfortable casting distance. With the line out, I marked it at the first (largest) eyelet. I was surprised to measure that length to be 41 feet of fly line not including the leader. So, I am wondering if that 30 foot suggestion is from rod tip or reel and to the end of the line or the fly? From rod tip to end of fly line, I was casting approx 35 feet. Am I trying to cast too far or am I on the right track?
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Old 04-08-2007, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: Newb advice

Sounds to me like you're on the right track, except maybe you're thinking too much!

The 30 foot is an estimate; everyone has their own "sweet spot". and each rod and line combo will cast a littledifferently. Just keep practicing. Soon you'll develop a feel or an instinct and you won't need any marks on your line. But in general, I think they mean 30 feet of fly line, not counting leader, from your rod tip.

As for practicing, make sure you have some kind of leader on the line, preferable with a hookless fly or yarn attached. Some casting flaws create a "crack the whip" sensation at the end of the backcast. You said you trashed some leaders; imagine what it would do to an expensive fly line.

I'm looking for a kayak to flyfish from. What do you use?
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: Newb advice

With this weather, I have more time to think than practice I just don't want to introduce more problems by trying to work with too much line.

I have a Perception America kayak Perception Kayaks

I has an extra large cockpit and it is short and wide. Ideal for fishing IMO. Plenty of room for tackle, dry boxes, etc. I bought it with a skeg but never use it. Sales person told me it was popular with fisherman. I do not have any experience with my fly rod in it yet but I have spent many hours in it with my spinning gear. I have landed largemouth and 10+ lb catfish with no concern for stability.

Some will suggest a pontoon or "sit on top" kayak. Other than the obvious differences, I think it comes down to personal preference. There are a few drawbacks. Large waves may enter the cockpit. They can fill with water and it is not easy to correct if you are in open water. It is not easy to get in and out of. Once you are in and your wieght is low, they are very stable. I have never capsized mine once.

I prefer the traditional kayak but it may not be for everyone. I would suggest giving one a try before you make your decision. They are also just fun to use!
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Old 04-09-2007, 02:08 PM
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Default Re: Newb advice

Sounds like you are off to a great start!

A 30' cast is generally measured from where you are standing to where the fly lands. Most fish caught are this distance or closer, so if you are already throwing 35' beyond the rod tip, you have more than enough distance. Work on casting vary accurately and getting fewer knots in your leader. Once you're casting with something with a hook sticking off of it, along with possible dumbell eyes and rubber legs, tangling potential goes way up. Try to make the acceleration through your casting stroke as smooth as possible.

Also, before you try to cast from a seated position in a kayak, make sure you are able to keep your back cast up. Sitting down on that grassy field and casting will give you a pretty good idea of what casting inside the kayak will be like.

On species to target: crappie are great, and you will likely catch some in the course of fishing for bass or sunfish, but targeting them first can be frustrating for a beginner. I say this becuase they like to live 5-15' deep around brush piles and such. This means you'll be casting to a spot where there is lots of snags, and then having to wait a while for your fly to sink down. (the heaviest fly you can comfortably cast on a 6 wt likely weighs 1/4 what your lightest crappie jig weighs, and thus will sink much slower.)

Try starting out targeting bass and sunfish in the shallower spots. They tend to be more interested in flies that have just dropped into the water, and fight plenty hard too.

Wooly buggers in white, black and olive, some size 8 and some size 12 will be all you need to catch plenty of fish. Oh yeah, mix it up between bead heads and regular ones. Once its a bit warmer, get some small (size 10) poppers too.
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Newb advice

Thanks for the advice Cliff.

I am reading the "Cast Like a Pro Excerpt". He says start with 27ft (9ft line, 9ft leader, 9ft rod) - the distance between you and the fly. Including the leader and rod, I was trying to cast 53ft. While I was able to do this, I noticed that any small error, change in wind, etc caused the whole thing to fall apart on me. Distance is very deceiving to me when practicing in a wide open area.

This is reminding me more and more of golf. It's better to cast 30ft with 90% success than to cast 50ft with 30% success.
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Newb advice

Quote:
This is reminding me more and more of golf. It's better to cast 30ft with 90% success than to cast 50ft with 30% success.
This is a pretty good comparison. I often think of the golf adage "drive for show, putt for dough" and how it applies to fly fishing. Casting 120' is impressive, but if you can't put a cast into a 2' circle, you won't catch many fish. I'm still trying to come up with a FF'ing adage as catchy as that golf one, with the same point.

If you wanna take the golf comparison even further, fly fishing also has an equivalent to the different ways you can put spin on a ball to control what it does after it lands. The similar skill would be "trick/fishing casts" and mending. But just work on accuracy for now. Most of those are only needed on moving water anyway.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: Newb advice

Again, more time to think than fish...

I think I've figured out my problem. My first experience with fly fishing was chasing bonefish in the wind. For those of you not familiar with fishing salt water flats for this skiddish little fighter, distance is very beneficial. They are easily spooked. I found that any sudden movements of my rod could send a school in flight - it is 12" deep and crystal clear. We intentionally fished up wind of them and were looking for fins breaching the surface - often 75-100 feet away. You slowly move towards them as you begin working your line using the wind to achieve a long cast.

I'm looking forward to hitting spots in familiar water where casts over 35 feet are not needed taking the distance variable out of the equation. I need to find a comfort zone that will only happen with experience.

Maybe my errors can be of help to some other newbs!
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Old 04-17-2007, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Newb advice

I got the weather and the time for my first real outting with my fly rod - 2 hrs in my kayak after work as the sun set with clear skies. I had two inches of snow in my yard 48 hours ago!!! Caught a few crappie, bass and a couple dozen bluegill including one nice largemouth

Click the image to open in full size.

I had not fished in my kayak in a year or so - let alone with a fly rod. I spent the first hour making up new four letter words but was thrilled to be fishing. Then, the wind calmed and I was able to focus on what I've learned in the past few weeks about casting a fly rod. I was getting ready to pack it in and head home when this little devil showed interest in my fly. Pic was taken with my cell phone in my kayak and my arm looks huge He was about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. Biggest fish I have caught with a fly rod. Guess I am officially on the board so to speak. Thanks for all of the help!
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