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Old 08-24-2010, 09:55 PM
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Default If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

Howdy, all.

I just picked up the fly rod again after a two year hiatus from all fishing. I've never managed to get the knack of fly casting but do seem to know how to match hatches for NorCal and NV from the study that I put into fly tying a few years back. At least the stonefly hatch, lol!

What I'm wondering is, what was the biggest hurdle you had to get past to get competent with a fly rod? If you could go back in time and give your younger self a lesson on the water, what would you try hardest to get across?
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

HI Chad,

I was young when I started fly fishing and thought I could just do it because I wanted to. Had I gotten serious about learning, really learning about the whole of the act of fly fishing right at the beginning I could have gotten more enjoyment sooner.

I wrote this in 1992; We All Have Something to Learn when you have time to read it you may find some intrinsics that you can benefit from, or not. Hope it helps you to put things in perspective when it comes to learning about what fly fishing can do for you.

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Old 08-25-2010, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

Patience!!

It has only been a couple years since I have started, but I almost quit a couple times in the beginning. I am SOOOOOO Glad I stuck with it. I am no pro, but I can thrown some damn tight loops! And present the fly perfectly to a spooky Trout!!

Practice Practice Practice!!!
I have spent so much time throwing line in the local park and hearing: "Catch anything today??" or "Are they biting today??"

I also went to one shop and got the advise: Hammer nails!! If your loops are loose and wide, Move the casting plane in front of your face. You will not hit your face and make and make a shorter back cast and a shorter forward cast. Tighter looops!!

Fly fishing is such a special sport. Not just anyone can pick up a rod without much experience and make a nice cast with good presentation. I guess thats why I stuck with it and spend so much time studying the sport. I guess I would just tell myself while on the water: "Be patient. Take your time, feel the rod load, the rod will let you know when to complete the cast. Stop the rod high and bring it down to present the fly with delicacy, lay the fly in the feeding lane, and with ease, set the hook!"

I am so addicted.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

when they hit on a dry... wait.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

Get a casting lesson or two. Casting is an intregal part of this sport/hobby/avocation and the learning curve will get chopped down to size in a hurry with the right guidance.
Once you've had the lesson then practice what you've learned and you likely won't be building on or practicing bad form.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

hangin chad, I just wrote this on my Fishing Report thread Out And About In Southeast Idaho, and I feel this would be the one thing I would do differently early on - Pay attention and ask questions of others on the water...

We have been successful in our efforts, but success comes with the price of paying attention to what's going on around you. For years I've fished with and talked to fellow anglers who were reluctant to share info as to what they were using as well as what tactics worked. Many just didn't feel comfortable asking. I'm of the school of thought that when we go out and practice our chosen habit, I, uh, er, hobby, that school is in session therefore the more we can learn from what's around us will serve to lead more to our success.

Take for example this new stillwater we have enjoyed so much of late. I had a neighbor who was on the water the same day we fished it for the first time. I discovered that he and his family had fished this water for many years. After a fairly fruitless morning, something that was a bit discouraging, I stopped for lunch, paddled in to the boat launch and took a break, ate some food and had a discussion with my sons as to tactics and such. While we were chatting, my neighbor and his son paddled in and I (not being a very shy person) headed right over to their truck after they derigged for the day. I asked them how they did ("Well", they said), and what they were using. They were more than happy to tell me their tactics: what they were using - even giving me over a dozen fly samples - that they were using sinking lines, and using them in a deep trough along the rip-rap dike where the water was deeper. After thanking them and promising some newly tied flies in return for their generosity, we headed out again to pound the water.

I switched lines, switched flies, and distributed some of the flies to my sons and their friends. We hadn't even made it to the dike before my youngest was into a good fish, and he kept catching them as he went. I, too, was into many good fish and caught one of my largest just after reaching the dike and following the instructions of my benefactors and teachers of whom I had asked some pointed and valuable questions. I had only caught about three or four smallish fish before lunch, but, by day's end, I had experienced about a 40-fish day with some real trophies in the mix.

We were more successful that afternoon because I wasn't shy about asking. Too often we find ourselves in frustrating situations, wishing we were doing or using whatever it was that other fellow was doing or using because he is really slaying them, but then we never ask the question, "What'cha usin'?".

Over the years I have found that fellow fly anglers are the most generous and friendly bunch I've ever met. We love to share and talk about what we do and how we do it. I know I do and will respond very generously whenever someone asks the question.

Anyway, something to chew on. Don't be shy, yet, when someone else asks, don't be stingy. It may lead to your best day ever.

On the other hand, don't forget to use the talents, skills, and experience you have accumulated over the years. After the tactics we were using - those passed on to us by my generous neighbor and his son - started to wane, I started paying close attention to what was going on around me. The day was into late afternoon and there were bugs on the water. I saw a lot of spent spinner callibaetis mayflies on the water, a few skittering caddis in about a size 14 or 12, as well as a bunch of dancing mayflies in the air.

I saw fish feeding with rises that indicated they were taking something in the surface film (thus I knew they weren't taking the fluttering caddis), so I assumed they were taking the spinners in the film. I immediately tied on a Parasol Emerger fly (I use this for a visual point fly in order to know where my smallish 'in-the-film-fly' is located after the cast), followed by a nice spinner imitation I had tied. Several casts later I was a bit confused, as I had not had a take, not one. I switched out to a searching emerger I learned about on the Big Horn River this past spring, the Smoke Jumper. I tied this fly on with a Duncan Loop knot and made my first cast to a feeding fish and was immediately rewarded with a solid take and hookup on an 18-inch bow. And, so it went. Later in the evening they keyed more on the fluttering caddis, but it was all a matter of observation. Too often I have been fooled by thinking there was only one thing going on, when there were multiple actions taking place. Pay attention and you will finally figure it out.

Several years ago I found myself for the first time on the Teton River just outside of Driggs, Idaho. The fish were going crazy on the surface. There was a blanket hatch of caddis flying as a great wall of bugs upriver. Naturally, one would assume that the fish were on the caddis. I tied on an imitation and proceded to waste about 40 minutes of good fishing time with the wrong bug on the end of my line. I finally stopped, looked close at how the fish were rising, and what other bugs I saw in the water. Come to find out there wasn't one caddisfly on the water, just millions flying above it. The fish were keyed on a tremendous spinner fall of size 16 olive and size 18 rusty PMD spinner mayflies (the fished really liked the rusty version a bit better in my estimation).

I landed 13 fish, hooked and lost another dozen, and missed solid takes of another dozen that evening. I fished until I couldn't see any longer. What a blast, but it wouldn't have been such if I hadn't paid attention.

Hope this helps,

Kelly.
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Last edited by kglissmeyer1; 08-25-2010 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

I totally agree with Jackster. Get some lessons early. My local tackle shop has free lessons for beginners every Saturday in the summer and the teacher is one of the few certified fly casting teachers in the area (and also runs the shop). There is a website that lists certified teachers geographically, can't think of it right now.

I spent a year of frustration trying to teach myself, watching youtube videos etc. Then I took several hours of lessons and wow, what a difference.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

Never took a lesson, watched a casting video, or read a casting book.
I don't even practice
I did however fish nearly every day for years and years

The casting quantum leap for me was when I realized that the rod was an extension of my arm and anywhere the rod tip moved the line would follow
(as long as you kept the slack out that is)
After that it became natural......
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

Be patient and don't be in a rush when you reach the water, find a good vantage point and just watch and see what's happening....
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: If You Knew Then What You Know Now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
Never took a lesson, watched a casting video, or read a casting book.
I don't even practice
I did however fish nearly every day for years and years

The casting quantum leap for me was when I realized that the rod was an extension of my arm and anywhere the rod tip moved the line would follow
(as long as you kept the slack out that is)
After that it became natural......
LOL!!!! (In a friendly way ). I spent years wailing away with a fly rod, not giving a hoot about casting mechanics. I did buy a book 20 years later, but it took a couple years for me to care enough to read it. It does help to understand the how and why behind casting, and my casting is a ZILLION times better than it was 15 years ago.

I'll have to read Ard's article. He's a pretty savvy guy, and I would expect his advice would be as good as any other. I recently read Tom Rosenbauer's book
Prospecting for Trout. It contains some very good advice about where and when to find fish, how to approach them, and what types of flies that might want at a particular time. Good stuff if you get the chance.
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