I started fly fishing from necessity. I had moved to Maine, where the majority of waters in my area were regulated as FFO, Fly Fishing Only. I already loved to fish, using lures and worms, and found myself gazing longingly at picturesque rivers I couldn’t fish.
I saw an introductory class listed and took it. It’s kind of like learning to play golf. With just a little instruction, you can do it; to get really good, accept that you’re going to need lots of practice. I did a lot of practicing in my yard, knotting a short piece of yarn at the end of my line (to mimic the weight of the fly) and trying to cast that into a circular loop set at various distances on the ground.
I’m outfitted now with some fairly high-end gear but I started with a simple kit. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money getting started, in case I either didn’t like it or found it too difficult. I did like it, and it wasn’t hard to do – and I still have that introductory gear, and I still catch fish with it!
Here are some kits that can give you a taste of fly fishing without breaking the bank. Each costs less than $50. First, a note about fly rod, line and reel “weight” – fly line weight is measured in grains; one would be ultralight and 14 heavy. It’s the weight of the line that casts the fly (which are virtually weightless, hence, practice with a snip of yarn). The flies are sized so that you can match it to your line weight; for example, a size 6 fly with a six-weight rod. The flies that come with the kits are matched to the kit. Sizes up to 4 are for small fish such as panfish. Weights of 5/6 to 6/7 are considered good for all-around use for trout, bass and small salmon.
The reel is already set up with backing (the part of the line that’s closest to the center of the reel), line, and leader (the end of the line where the fly is attached). The three-piece fly rod is 8 feet long in a 5/6 weight. It comes with an assortment of flies and a “getting started” booklet.
This kit includes all the basics, similar in other kits, with a 5/6 weight rod, fly assortment and also includes a knot-tying guide. Trust me, once you start tying your own flies, or purchasing flies, you’ll want to know everything about tying knots so you don’t lose the flies.
This rod is 8’3” long in a 6/7 weight, and comes with two flies and a knot tying guide.