Originally Posted by streamwalker
ok well i have been toying around with the idea of buying a fly rod for a few months now..im really a bass/crappie/carp fisher so trout is all new to me. i live in the mountains of north carolina and have plenty of streams and lakes near me filled with trout so i really wanna start learning how to fly fish.
so anyways im 18 years old and aint got a ton of money to spend ive been looking on cabelas to try and find a good starter combo to buy but cant seem to decide there is to many! so where should i start there?? also what flys should i purchase?? i have up to about 300 im going to allow myself to spend to get started.
thanks guys and im looking forward to learning from yall!
I'm pretty sure you can do a search and find more than a couple threads about this topic, but I'll throw in my two cents anyway.
First, Cabela's should have a free flycasting class; take it. They will have demo rods and reels there for your use. Make things a bit easier on yourself and at least learn a basic casting stroke before putting down any money on a rod and reel combo.
Once you have a basic cast, testdrive
as many rods as you can; even rods you know you can't afford. Eventually you'll find an action you like more than the others, which will help you narrow your choices when you buy a rod.
There's a whole long story of how I got started flyfishing, but short version is that I was a conventional bass fisherman like yourself looking for something different.
I ended up at Cabela's, and picked up a Cabela's Traditional II 9ft. 5 wt. rod and reel combo for $90. This is a med. fast action rod, which came with a plastic reel, backing, and Cabela's Prestige Plus fly line. I caught literally hundreds of fish on this rig, from 3 inches up to 18 before I upgraded about two years ago. In retrospect, the combo was actually a great deal. The rod's performance was more than adequate. Before I was done with it, I was able to cast at least 50 ft. if there wasn't too much wind. And it was reasonably accurate. The cheapo reel came with a decent drag, which came in handy once or twice. And I still use the line. I believe they still offer this combo for about the same price.
As for flies, you're best bet would be to hit up some local fly shops, tell them where you plan to fish and buy four or five kinds of whatever it is they say the fish are biting on.
It might sound kind of like this: "Well, if you're going to fish Lake/River X, some of our customers have been doing pretty good on Adams/foam hoppers/some kind of emerger. But Joe, he got a biggun on an olive streamer down around whatever bend . . ."
If you can't do that, try a general range of patterns, such as the one my mentor told me:
"Get three subsurface patterns, and two dries. Start with a beadhead black wooly bugger. Then some color hares ear, like natural, then some color copper john, like black. Get the CJs a bit smaller than the hares ears. For dries, you can go anywhere in the country and catch fish on an Adams. The other dry should be significantly bigger or smaller and a different color. Here, buy those orange stimulators."
Note: flies are not like conventional lures/baits. Some dries will only survive one fish. So get multiple examples of any pattern. Like four black wooly buggers, or 5 Adams. Dries are generally less durable than wets. Also, you're going to lose a lot of flies to bushes, trees, rocks. Maybe even a few fish. I had a day where I lost 18 flies in about an hour and a half. I got back to the truck with 3 flies. But I caught a few fish.
Finally, I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but there's a lot of other stuff you're going to need, such as leaders and tippet, hemostats, nippers, etc. Do yourself a favor and keep it simple. A couple 3x leaders, a couple 4x leaders. A couple spools of tippet, probably 4x and 5x. Buy a small spool of 6 lb. flouro for fishing that bugger, don't even bother using a leader with that.
Anyway, good luck, and good hunting. Oh, and cabela's generally has a decent selection of quality flies, but they tend to be pricey. I pick out the ones I like then buy them elsewhere if I can.