I bass fish somewhere just about every day and I've decided to try fly fishing for bass. Now I know nothing about fly rods -fly line -fly reels-fly rod baits or even what kind of equipment to buy. I have read that most bass anglerís fly rods are 4 to 6 wgt, but being a newbie to this I'm not sure. I guess what I'm asking for is all the help I can get. In all the fishing that I've done in the last 8 years I have seen but one fly rod angler and he was slaying them...I prefer to buy good equipment up front and not work my way from entry level up to better equipment .
Thanks in advance for your help
My first fly rod was a Sage Launch 6wt w/ white river(bass pro brand) reel. The reel was rigged with RIO clouser line. I initially entered fly fishing to fish for smallies and pike. I was recommend by a local fly shop and he suggested the 6wt for smallies and later down the road get something else for pike.
The major difference between fly fishing and regular fishing is, that in regular fishing the weight of your lure is what casts it. In fly fishing is the weight of the line that casts the fly. Larger/heavier flies tend to use heaver wts. and lighter flies can be thrown with smaller wts. For bass you will most likely be throwing clousers, wooly buggers, and poppers. Of course you can catch bass on many more flies too. From my beginners experience I would suggest for you to get a 6wt rod. You cannot go wrong with it. I suggest getting a sage launch, great all around rod. a 9' 6wt rod costs about $225. Sage does make a bass specific rod but I would still get the launch over that rod. If you were like me you will start off only saying you will fish for bass than move into salmon, than trout, than pike, than muskie, and be dreaming about the days you can go to the Caribbean to fish the flats.
first, flyfishing is not a guarantee you'll slay them. that angler you saw may have been very experienced. maybe not. but, once you start fly fishing, a whole new world will open up for you and i think you'll like it. the toughest part will be technique and so...
take a class if you can find one. if you fish everyday and have only seen one fly fisherperson, it may be tough in your region to find others or find a class. a simple casting workshop may be offered by a source of equipment in your area. a sporting goods shop in my town which has a small fly section offers free classes and a sit down intro to types of lines, flies, knots, etc. 3 hours on a saturday and you can get started. other options are a local community college, a trout unlimited chapter, a fly club, or TRY to find someone to meet you on the water. you can TRY to learn on your own but it may start bad technique habits which would lead to much frustration. these days, with the internet, you can get a good idea of how to do it with youtube or independently posted streaming video. conduct a search for bass fly fishing tips.. you can also go to the library and check out fly fishing basics books including species related books. orvis offers a good primer i hear.
where do you fish and what type of water and what type of bass? reels and rod needs are determined by species of fish. i tried largemouth a few years ago for the first time and in a float tube at a place known for big fish. i used a 7 wt 9 foot rod 4pc which worked out very well. i had two reels, inexpensive but high quality, one being a long discontinued reel (scientific anglers 130, made by hardy, the other a lamson radius 3 on closeout). ceck out the new lamson konics. not machined but a very good reel. if youre the type who has the money, look at sage, loop/danielsson, galvan, ross, orvis, etc in the $200+ range.
in my area smallmouth can be handled with a 6wt rod just fine. i've seen threads where the fish caught are small and even a 5wt works nicely. yesterday for the first time i fished for freshwater stripers and 7 and 8wts are called for. part of the need is determined not by the fish but the fishing conditions. windy or big bushy or heavily weighted streamer flies in a lake required fast sinking lines and you needed the heavier rods to be able to cast the big flies or overcome the wind.
mike offered you some good info and hopefully this helps too. feel free to ask more questions.
I have read that most bass anglerís fly rods are 4 to 6 wgt, but being a newbie to this I'm not sure.
I don't know what you have been reading but I wouldn't fish for Bass with a rod lighter than a 6wt. It has to do with the size of fish you are targeting and the size and type of fly you are using.
It would be a big help if you would add your location to your profile. Then we would have a feeling if you are fishing for Smallmouth or Largemouth. If you are fishing for Largemouth I would use an 8wt. With an 8wt you can cast big poppers, frog imitations and Clausers with enough rod power to horse the fish out of the grass or lily pads. Being a Bass fisherman you know how fish can get caught up in grass and make it hard to land.
In your Bass fishing you are probably using a lot of 7' medium to medium heavy and even some heavy rods. I think you need the same rod power for fly rod Bass fishing. If you got a 4wt to 6wt rod you will be limited with the size of flies you can throw and the power to control the fish.
If you are fishing for Smallmouth then a 6wt would work but I would still go with a 7wt. The new Sage Bass fly rods would be a good choice for you but as a new caster it will be a little harder to learn how to cast. The Sage Bass rods are 7' 11" and you may be able to use in some of your local tournaments. I highly recommend that you get a lesson or two before you buy a rod.
I prefer to buy good equipment up front and not work my way from entry level up to better equipment.
You are in for a treat - once I tried fly fishing, I never went back to using spinning tackle.
Re: buying good equipment up front: the only caution I have about this is that your casting style may change as you learn to cast. Thus, what seemed good when you first learned to cast may not match your style after you gain experience. For example, I prefer a rod with a more medium flex (softer rod) than I did when I was first learning. My first fly rod was a basic inexpensive rod with a faster action. That was what felt good to me at that time. Later on, when I purchased better equipment, I found that my casting rhythm slowed as I improved. If I had purchased the expensive gear from the beginning, I would not be happy with it at the present time.
fly fishing is the greatest thing I ever found. I don't even regular fish anymore. its not even about numbers to me. theres just nothing like hooking up on a fly rod to me for some reason. then you get into tying your own flies. then theres nothing like hooking up on a fish with a fly you made yourself! I was a beginner just like you a year or so ago and I learned everything I need to know here and online. it will cost a little money to get set up and get some flies and leaders but its well worth it. you found the right place for help. just ask away. I say a 6wt would be a great all around rod. I will pm you a couple sites with deals on good fly rods like tfo's and orvis. comes with line and everything. it can get expensive buying a rod reel and line and backing seperate. trust me I know lol.
Prepares for a beating...[SIGN]Spank me here![/SIGN]
Ok, I started on a 3wt, and have caught bluegill, carp, bass, crappie, trout, etc on a 3wt. I own two 5wts, only one of which has been fished in the last year and a half. I fish a 2wt most of all. I have found if you downsize your flies, you catch more fish and larger fish as all fish eat small meals.
I would like to steer you away from feeling like you have to start on a 5 or 6wt. If you really want to start on a 5wt, find a medium action 5wt. It will transmit more of the fight of the smaller fish you are destined to catch until you learn to target larger fish on the fly.
If the bass in your area run large, say on average, more than 3 pounds per fish and are caught in heavy structure, you might want to lean towards a 6wt with a sturdy butt section and ten pound tippet.
I have pulled 2 pound bass from weeds on a 3wt with 4# tippet, so use of the rod is of the utmost importance. I would recommend checking out that site I linked you to.
Getting involved in fly fishing, the first thing you should do is to figure out what feel you are looking for from your tackle. If you are familiar with light or ultralight spin gear, you should look for nothing more than a 4wt, but again, my views will draw heavy criticism as I buck the party line for all warmwater fishing.
As you can see, advice sometimes tends to be all over the place based on the different types of fishing people do in their local waters. Frank's advice was good, let us know where you are located, and give a brief description of the waters you fish (lily pads, streams, big rivers, deep lakes) and what other types of fishing you might want to do down the road (FW trout? saltwater redfish etc).
IMHO you'd be best off looking at a 6, 7, or 8 weight outfit. So what 's the difference? Here's sort of a break down of fly rod weights (remember "weight" refers to the amount of weight of line the rod is actually designed to cast, not the actual weight of the rod.) There is a lot of overlap, and there is nothing written in stone about what weights you can or can't use, but in general this is sort of how it shakes out:
1, 2, 3, 4 light rod weights for casting small flies, generally for small fish, mostly panfish and trout. These rods are limited in their casting distance and size of flies, and I would not recommend one for your first fly rod. They are just not as versatile as the heavier weights in terms of their ability to cast a wider size range of flies, deal with unfavorable conditions (wind), and all things being equal, your casting distance will be more limited. With the size and wind resistance of flies, poppers commonly used in bass fishing, you'll be even more limited.
5 weight- probably the most popular all around trout weight, though 4 and 6 weights are also commonly used. Will handle small 10-12 panfish sized panfish poppers ok but will be more of a struggle to throw the larger bass stuff, especially if you need to cover a lot of water. A 5 might be a good choice if you planned on doing a lot of trout fishing and chase small bass on small farm ponds.
6 weight a good trout weight especially for large rivers, and has more oomph for casting occasional bass sized poppers, medium sized streamers, and weighted streamers like clousers and buggers and small medium sized bass flies. A very versatile rod weight for small bass, and occasional trout and panfish.
7 intermediate between 6 and 8, a bit better for casting larger flies and poppers for bass, but a bit light for SW. A good smallie rod for throwing clousers and crayfish imitations, but I wouldn't go lighter than an 8 if you're thinking of also using this rod in saltwater down the road.
8 for casting larger bass poppers, deer hair bass bugs and fishing for bass in heavy cover. Also an excellent weight for steelhead, inland striped bass and occassional pike and light salt water (redfish, bonefish, snook, speckled trout, school size striped, bass bluefish).
9-10 Heavy freshwater salmon pike musky, inshore salt permit, striped bass, bluefish, baby-medium tarpon, light offshore ( cobia, mahi).
11-12 Heavy fish fighting sticks for large tarpon, small tuna, big sharks
13 bluewater tuna, sailfish. marlin Very specialized rods built more for fish fighting than casting.
As far as buying an outfit, there are a lot of very good choices out there. Sage Launch is very good, but there are also outfits from LL Bean around 100 bucks or so (rod reel and line), and rods like the TFO Pro for about 150. Your fly line should be matched to the rod with a good quality weight forward floating line from Scientific Anglers or Rio 35-60 bucks. An inexpensive reel is all you need for bass and most other FW fishing. (For SW and steelhead you might want to spend a bit more for a higher quality drag).
Hope this helps. Let us know more about the waters you plan to fish and keep asking questions!