08-21-2008, 11:53 AM
Re: the novice at hand
Going into a fly shop will be your best bet. Bring the rods and reels with you. As you've probably seen already from browsing these threads, the weight of the fly line needs to be matched to the rod for casting. The rod and line do all the work and the fly just goes along for the ride, unlike spinning where the weight of the lure is used for the cast.
So a shop will be able to figure out the right weight fly line to match up with your rods. Depending on the condition and age of your rods, you might be better off considering new ones if they're really old inexpensive ones (20+ years)--- There have been tremendous advances in technology and you can get a very good one for a fairly moderate price ($100-150) nowadays. On the other hand, you may have some great stuff that would be fine. Your reels are most likely good to use, and there are a ton of 1495's out there still going strong.
In addition to matching up your rods and lines, a shop should be able to rig everything up for you (backing, fly line, and leader) and hopefully offer some informal casting lessons for free, or more structured ones for a couple of bucks. It would be a great investment for you and your gf, and the price for 2 would probably be not much more than for one-on-one. It's the best way to get off to a good start.
I'd suggest you pick up an intro book on FF to get your head around the lingo and basic stuff. LL Bean, Orvis, and the Idiot/Dummy guides are all pretty good, and you can get one of them cheap or find one in your local library.
As far as flies go, your local shop can get you started. There's both anytime anywhere types of patterns (wooly buggers, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams etc) as well as local favorites you'd probably want for Sierra Lakes Callabaetis and midge imitations). They can sort that out for you as well, but a basic selection would include some:
large heavily weighted stuff like woolly buggers (black 8, olive 10),
a few bead head nymphs (Pheasant Tail 16, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear 14, Prince 12) to get down a bit
some wet flies (soft hackles 16 and emergent caddis pupae 14) to fish under the surface
some dries like Elk Hair Caddis 14-16, Parachute Adams 16-20, Callabaetis 16, Stimulator 8 to imitate mayflies, caddis and stoneflies in flat calm to broken/rough water
and a few terrestrial patterns like ants and grasshoppers which are often very good to fish this time of year along banks of streams and lakes.
Hope this helps,
PS browse some of the recent threads about getting started if you haven't already. Lot's of links for free casting vids on youtube, knots etc. and basic info.