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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    San Francisco, CA

    Question Complete beginner - questions about trout

    Hi - it's my first time here. I've never been fly fishing, but I just I found an old fishing rod in the basement so I'm excited to give it a try. It's a Fenwick model FF75, 2 piece rod, 7.5 ft, wt 5-6. Seems in good shape. I'm mostly interested in mountain stream trout fishing. I found a place that offers casting lessons, but I can't wait till then to find out more!

    Meanwhile I've done some reading, so I know a little bit about matching the line to the rod and the leader/tippet to the fly, but there's still questions:

    1. Leader/tippet. They seem to come in different materials and length, and I've seen people recommending fluorocarbon. Any particular reason for that?

    2. Flies. What is not clear to me is how to match a fly to the fish you expect to catch (i.e. use fly size 14 for trout in the 10" range).

    3. I know this is a fly fishing forum, but I was wondering if I can use the same rod (maybe with a different setup) to cast other lures (i.e. Kastmaster, Mepps, etc). For instance, it seems to me that very small lures are almost weightless, so I can replace the fly with them? Maybe?

    4. This seem highly unlikely, but assuming I have the right size leader / fly, is there a maximum size fish I can catch on a wt 5-6 rod without breaking it? There's a lake nearby that has stocked trout (not my first choice...) in the 5 lb range. Is that too heavy?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Complete beginner - questions about trout

    Hello, and welcome to the forum. I would like to answer all of your questions, but I think that would require quite a bit of typing on my part. It would also require redundancies of what has already been written elsewhere on the forum(s). I think that most of your answers will probably found in the two forum(s) "Flyfishing GEAR FAQ", and "Flyfishing TECHNIQUE FAQ". Most of what you are asking about will be answered if you parouse the threads in these two forums. If you read through these and still have specific questions jump back on here and we will be glad to offer further clarifications. Good luck on you new endeavor, hope to see you on a stream!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    McMinnville, OR

    Default Re: Complete beginner - questions about trout

    welcome to the forum! I have only been fishing for a little while so more experience anglers would have a lot more insight.

    For questions:
    2. i think your confusing matching a hatch to using a particular type of flies for certain fish. Matching the hatch is when you choose the best representation of the fly that is currently coming off and use that to fish for fish. The size of the hook used does not dictate the size of fish that can be caught. For an example people can land steelhead using small nypmhs or egg patterns. Their is certain types of flies that works best with one species. For instant poppers are great for bass but might not work so well in a trout stream.

    3. for this you have to understand the difference between fly fishing vs other methods. If you examine your fly line its thick. This is because the fly line is waited and we use the waited line to cast our flies made of feathers and hair. Other types of fishing use a waited lure and use that to cast the line out. Even though small lures can be used it would be too much weight for your 5-6 wt line. you would have to swing it. I have swung flies before and it is extremely difficult and i have caught the back of my ears many times. sometime piercing

    I would also like to add that there is people that do all types of fishing i prefer to fly fish because of all the challenges it provides. Example would be a bow hunter. He could use a rifle, but prefers to hunt with a bow. He could some how make explosive arrow heads or something but that would kind of defeat the purpose with hunting with a bow. I dont hunt sorry for the bad

    4. You can use the 5-6wt to catch all sizes of fish. It would be a light steelhead rod. I have landed 25+lb salmon on my 3wt trout fishing. It took a long time and we dont recommend it because the fish would be exhausted after the fight and could kill the fish. You would use a 7-8wt rod for steelhead because trying to cast some of the flies for steelhead would be difficult or nearly impossible. your 5-6 wt rod should not break catching 5lb trout.

    Sorry if this didnt help.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Complete beginner - questions about trout

    Welcome aboard, Daniel!

    I'm just about to walk out the door, but here are my quick responses to get chimed in:

    1. I use monofilament, so can't say much about fluorocarbon. I've never felt limited enough by mono to warrant looking elsewhere. Making leaders is easy once you get into it and adds another level of enjoyment to the pursuit.

    2. Match your fly to what the fish are feeding on, not the size of the fish. This is a more of a statement than a rule because larger fish will tend to warrant larger flies. Confusing already, huh?

    3. There's not a gamefish out there I wouldn't prefer to target with the fly rod (I've caught gar on the fly, so there's really no limits). I no longer own bait gear, so can't helpfully speak to this question.

    4. I've landed some big fish on lightweight rods. A good reel with a well-adjusted drag or skillful handling of a "clicker" reel will likely play a bigger role in landing fish than your rod, or at least that's been my experience. I probably wouldn't go after salmon or stripers with your Fenwick, but I'd try a 5 lb. trout without hesitation.

    Hope this helps and remember, this is nothing more than my opinion. Learn from it what you can and discard the rest.

    The man who busies himself proclaiming something can't be done is frequently interrupted by the man doing it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    quiet corner, ct

    Default Re: Complete beginner - questions about trout

    First of all. that's a nice rod for small stream fishing

    There's a long tradition of using spinner type lures with a fly rod, but I'd bet that there's not a member here that's ever done it. I have a number of 'fly rod lures", both spinners for trout and poppers for bass but at this point time, they're pretty much collector's items
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Complete beginner - questions about trout

    Daniel welcome to the forum and congrats on your find in the basement-- The Fenwick is fiberglass as opposed to the graphite fly rods more commonly found these days.

    But in it's day (1970's) those Fenwicks were highly prized and there's a bunch of folks that still enjoy fishing them. My first fly rod was a Fenwick and it still sees some action, and as Rip Tide said it's a great small stream rod.

    You've gotten excellent advice already, but i'll add to the confusion

    1. I'd get a 7 1/2 foot knotless monofilament leader tapered to 3x and a couple spools of monofilament tippet material in 3X, 4X, and 5X. Add about 2 -2 1/2' of monofilament tippet material to the end of your leader depending on the size fly you're using (see the FAQ section for a discussion of leaders, tippets and fly size). There are other great options as well including using a furled leader, but tapered mono leaders and mono tippet are widely available and relatively inexpensive.

    2. You'll want a selection of flies that will match different food items in your local streams and to cover different layers of the water column. Your local fly shop would be a great source of info for patterns, but a good example would be something like the Orvis assortment of 20 flies for $9 that appears as a banner ad on this site. With a couple of dry flies, a woolly bugger or two and some bead head nymphs you'll be off to a good start. Also in the FAQ section there's a list of gear you might want to consider for trout fishing and it includes a list of some popular and widely available flies that cover a lot of different situations on trout streams.

    3. Yes, it's possible, both using small lures with a fly line and fly reel and 'fly casting", and using the fly rod as a spinning rod matching it up with a light spinning reel and 4-6lb mono. But fly casting lures can get dangerous if they're equipped with treble hooks, and it likely won't be too elegant. And also realize that there are many choices available for flies including bead head or conehead streamers that might work even better for you than a lure.

    4. I wouldn't use your rod for giant tuna, but your rod should be able to handle any trout you run into. To land a large fish that might weigh more than the pound test of the tippet, you'll most likely have to let the fish run and take line, and you can apply a little resistance by using the fly reel's drag or by controlling the resistance by pinching the fly line with your fingers as opposed to having to wrestle the fish with your rod on a fixed length of line. With a truly large fish there are a zillion things that can go wrong, and some times things just don't come together for no apparent reason. But the rod is going to be the least of your worries if you're hooked up to a monster. Stuff like keeping the line tight to the fish, maneuvering around obstructions, well tied knots, and not exerting too much pressure on the light tippet will be the bigger issues. And at any rate, you'll also come to realize that the big fish that get away are the most memorable.

    Good luck on your adventure, you 'll have a blast-- and that rod is a classic!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Complete beginner - questions about trout

    Quote Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
    First of all. that's a nice rod for small stream fishing

    There's a long tradition of using spinner type lures with a fly rod, but I'd bet that there's not a member here that's ever done it. I have a number of 'fly rod lures", both spinners for trout and poppers for bass but at this point time, they're pretty much collector's items
    Despite catching a fair amount of flack from some of my friends who take more of a purist view when it comes to fly fishing and using actual flies, I have been known to flip a vibrax spinner quite effectively for salmon. This would include the bigger #5s. Granted I am not making long false casts that more think of when flyfishing.

    Even with the various types of more traditional streamers used for salmon up here, the cast is generally different. Locally we call it flipping and ripping. So standing at the river bank we cast 45degrees upriver and use a stripping motion to retrieve the fly. Where I fish for salmon a 30ft cast would be fairly lengthy.

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