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Old 10-10-2012, 08:54 PM
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Default How do I know if I am doing this right??

I just read the thread entitled "Frustrated... thinking about giving up fly fishing" and I have a similar question, except I am not frustrated...yet.

I have just started to fly fish. And when I say just started, I mean I have gone out on the water with my fly rod twice. That's it. I had been practicing in my yard and reading books and watching YouTube videos but I chickened out every time I had the opportunity to try to fly fish.

I finally had an older guy talk me into going with him and he taught me how to roll cast on a bank at the side of a small lake a couple weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised because I was able to make it work just fine within the first half dozen casts. I think he was more pleased than me because he was the one who showed me how to do it, which is okay, too.

He made me put on some old waders he happened to have and more or less shoved me into a stream that is below the lake. It took a little while to figure out how to walk in the things as the boots were at least a size too big and the waders came up to my chin, but it was the greatest experience I ever had fishing in my life. I even caught a miniature bass! Almost needed a magnifying glass to see it but it was there.

When I dropped him off at his house, I told him it was the best day fishing I ever had and he was extremely pleased. I think I was as happy seeing him all puffed up as I was about fly fishing.

I immediately bought a pair of waders and a pair of boots. Last Friday, I ventured out on my own. I actually caught two trout. Both were big enough to keep but they were about 35% as big as others I was seeing in the waters. Of course, I threw them back, but I was drooling for the big 'uns (who all totally ignored my wet fly).

Finally, here is my question (or series of questions):

1. It seemed to me I was casting alright. There was not much room with trees and bushes all around, so I roll casted. I think that is all I even really know how to do. When DO you use something other than a shorter cast? I saw Brewski opine that all he can cast was 30-feet. I don't think I ever made 30-feet. Maybe I did but when do you have to?

2. I keep hearing about having your line "roll" but how do I know mine is? Or is that only for dry flies? Or am I totally stupid and should look for another hobby?

3. How do I know if I cast my fly well? Or poorly?

4. How do I retrieve a fly properly?

5. Is it best to cast upstream and let the fly float downstream, then pull it in? Or is it better to cast downstream? (I know: both or either--but WHEN do I do one or the other or go across stream?????)

6. Fish usually sit looking upstream, right? Does that mean you should walk upstream and approach them from behind? I am afraid to walk downstream because I think they will see me and then all is lost.


Sorry for all the questions. There are more where they came from! That said, the two times I was out, I had a great time just being there. Being alone and listening to everything and nothing. Seeing a blue heron and a few kingfishers and some hawks circling overhead. Watch squirrels running around. And, one time, watching two trout that seemed like they were playing a game of tag. I enjoyed the solitude as well as the company I ran into. And I liked the motion of casting and retrieving--even though I know I am probably doing both wrong. I think I liked all that even more than catching those two trout.

--Ray
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

I will let others chime in, don't feel alone I was right where you are at 5 years ago. I had no clue what was in my fly box, what a hatch was, what rod/line I needed. All I knew was I had a rod reel combo and knew where some water was.

5 years later everyone I know who wants to learn wants me to take them fly fishing to show them how. And no I am not that good.

I will address one topic you have asked about and leave the rest to every one else. Roll casting vs a traditional dry fly full stroke cast. I find on smaller streams to even midsize rivers ( 10' wide to 50' feet wide) . Rarely do I make a full cast unless I am gauging distance to a new run or see a fish rise at distance and I try to target "that fish", or am fishing 20+ feet of floating line with room for a backcast. 90% of the time I have less that 15 feet of floating line out the tip of my rod. I do what I call flipcast (dont know the real term) With such little line out there is no real need to roll cast nor do a full stroke cast. I simply elevate my rod tip and "flip" the line back to where I want my fly to land. If I get 20' or more line out in a tight are I will do more of a roll cast which is essentially the same motion. Raise the rod tip, then make a more full stroked forward motion cast. This will get the line to turn over.


Roll casting / flip casting any way you can get the line to where you need it to be is fine depending on your surroundings / skill .


At the end of the day if you caught 2 fish on that "little green looking fly" that you aren't even sure what it is called. But you went home with a smile on your face.....you are doing it right.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

Quote:
Originally Posted by busbus View Post
...the two times I was out, I had a great time just being there. Being alone and listening to everything and nothing. Seeing a blue heron and a few kingfishers and some hawks circling overhead. Watch squirrels running around. And, one time, watching two trout that seemed like they were playing a game of tag. I enjoyed the solitude as well as the company I ran into. And I liked the motion of casting and retrieving--even though I know I am probably doing both wrong. I think I liked all that even more than catching those two trout.
I'm with you- the people I've met on the few outings I've had have been fantastic, and I'm a big fan of just getting outside away from people, traffic, and everything, and listening to nature. Catching a fish is pretty good, too.

I think I'd keep hanging out with that older guy, and see how much more he's willing to teach you! There is no replacement for a live mentor that can show you stuff.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

if you are having fun, enjoying your time on the water, getting your line wet and occasionally in the right place, and every now and then catching a fish or two I think your doing it right. If you hate every minute your on the water, then maybe not ;0

I roll cast or waterload my cast 90% of the time on the river, the other 10 percent I am fishing dries and generally position myself so I can cast quarter upstream and try to maintain a drift.

No amount of youtube or reading will replace time spent on the water with someone willing to teach you. Stick with the old guy!

Dave
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

Could not have said that better Webrx. Most of your questions busbus, have many answers. Like how do I retrieve the fly? It depends. Some you may want to dead drift, or swing, or twitch or steady retrieve. I'd stick with the old guy. He could probably use the fishing partner and you can learn a lot from a guy like that.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

To me fly fishing is all about the challenge, I look at it as sort of a puzzle. I've been doing it for 30 years now and I still get rejected by big fish, heck I've had 6" brookies be extremely selective on the trico hatch, but that's what keeps me coming back. I really believe that if I were to catch fish one after another on anything I put in front of them, day after day, I would have lost interest long ago. I do like being out side wading in a quiet little stream, but for me its about the challenge from day to day, just when you think you've got it all figured out, it changes. Casting will come with a little practice, its all the rest of it that will take time.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:05 AM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

bus bus, we all started right where you are and most of us didn't have cell phones much less the internet and it's wealth of knowledge. You asked great questions ,the ones we all asked but unless we had someone to answer them we learned the hard way.. trail and error. Dry flys are probably the best way to catch fish,any fish if the fish are feeding on the top, and if their are insect landing on the water. If you fish upstream you have a better chance the fish wont see you but there are times you want to fish down stream to skate the fly across the water to intice the ones with lock jaw. Nymphing is the prefered method when the weather cools and hatches or terestrials aren't there for the fish to feed on. Don't forget streames and wet flys, which you want to fish down stream, and strip on the swing. Most of it is common sense, watch what the fish are doing and give them the fly in the depth they are at,use patterns your local fly shop says will catch fish and don't be afraid to experiment. I'm from Pittsburg so I gotta ask,what creek did you fish?
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

bugslinger, I fished Montour Run, right along the part of Montour Trail that runs along Beaver Grade Road in Robinson Township.

I know I just need to keep doing this and there is no better way to learn than to simply do. I may give Jules (the old guy) a call. He claims he has only been fly fishing for eight years but he is eons better than me. Heck, he fished the same stretch of creek I fished last week a couple days earlier and caught seven or eight fish in a couple hours. I would have to say he is better than me.

One thing I have noticed is that it is just plain fun to simply cast (even though I know I stink). I can get my line to more-or-less go where I want it to go but it does seem to always snake a little bit. Practice will help but, in the words of Henry Mancini, "[only] perfect practice makes perfect."

But maybe I worry too much. Maybe it isn't about the style. Maybe it isn't about the technique. Maybe it isn't even really about catching fish. Maybe it is all about having a good time. I have caught [small] fish already and it was a thrill. But the fact that I caught a fish on a fly I tied is neater than catching a fish.

The guys at the local Orvis shop said to stick with wet flies for the fall, so that is what I am doing. I still don't understand if I should walk upstream, cast upstream, and let the wet fly drift downstream or some other way. I am sure that the fish that I saw the other day saw me and that is why they ignored my offering.

Agggh.

I will just walk upstream next time! Try it from all angles!
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

I'm fairly new as well, and was basically in the same spot you are about...oh, maybe 4 months ago. I'm not very good still, but I can do a variety of casts up to about 50-60 feet with *decent accuracy...which is good enough for most of the fishing I need to do. Sometimes I still do stupid things and mess up....hopefully that gets better with time.

The roll cast is great, but I'd also just get out in the open somewhere and at least give the overhead cast a shot. Just put some line out in front of you....doesn't take much just to practice false-casts. Lower the rod out in front of you, pull out any slack with your line hand, and do the slow acceleration to a quick stop over your shoulder. You can even just let the line fall to the ground behind you, just focus on slowly accelerating to a quick stop when the rod is roughly at the famous "2:00" position. Then just turn around and face the line and do it again until you're good with it.

Then instead of letting it fall behind you, start another slow acceleration to a quick stop for the forward cast and let it fall.

Then add both together and you'll be false-casting! Practice this with a small amount of line and try to focus on trying to hit the rod with the fly line on the forward cast because it tends to make your loops tighter. That's how I was taught anyway.

Now that I bass fish I use some completely different casts, but the roll cast and simple overhead are good to start with.

Later on you can focus on false casting with more fly line out, which loads the rod better. Once you get more fly line out you can work with hauling and shooting line....but I wouldn't mess with those until you get the overhead down pretty well.

My double haul isn't too great because I tend to overpower the rod....but I'm still practicing. I don't think I'll ever be "great" at it, hopefully just good enough to not embarrass myself and catch some fish

---------- Post added at 06:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:11 AM ----------

Oh, and for wet flies -- check out that thread in the ...I think warm water section about "how to fish wet flies" . It will tell you all you need to know.

Mostly I just cast them straight across in front of me, do a quick upstream mend (so the fly line doesn't immediately start "pulling" the fly (drag) and so the fly can start to sink. Once it moves a little further downstream I usually just "point" at the fly and follow it with my rod until it starts to swing through the current back toward where I'm standing. Then I usually lob-cast it back upstream again.

Then move downstream a few steps and do it again . Swinging a wet fly is easy to me....great beginner fly fishng technique.

I also use this "straight to the point" (read the link below under that heading) on one of my streams because it works well for that particular water.....it's so simple a child would probably come up with it You stand there, drop the fly in the water, and literally just "feed" it downstream until it reaches the fish, or a fishy looking spot. It works quite well but looks kind of primitive. Who cares though? It puts the fly on the fish! In my cast I use it to get a fly under some heavy debris and I wouldn't want to cast into with my poor casting skills.

Beyond the Swing | MidCurrent

There are some other techniques in that article too.

That said, don't listen to anything I say because I only have about 3 months on you most likely, lol.

Oh! and swinging wet flies is typically associated with stuff like trout/steelhead using actual, traditional "wet flies" (partridge and orange, cow dung, etc.) but I often use it with woolly buggers and smaller clouser minnows for bass and bluegill. I think it's pretty versatile. For "easy" you might also look into nymphing using a strike-indicator (bobber). A lot of fly fishing guides have their clients use this, especially for beginners since it gives you a good drift without much skill required. That said, I am trying to actually learn to nymph without the indicator as well as with it so I don't cripple myself

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: How do I know if I am doing this right??

I'd be making some free time to fish with the older guy. He probably has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to someone interested.
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