A useful beginers guide to fly fishing

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A useful beginers guide to fly fishing (external link)

The file can be viewed here

Reading the River

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A useful guide to reading where fish are feeding in the river (external link)

The file can be viewed here

Beginners Guide to Flyfishing

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In various lengths and "weights" . This is not the weight of the rod in grams or ounces, but a measure as to which type of line can be cast.For instance, a 4weight rod will cast a 4weight line.


Generally a device used for storing line. Bought to match your rod in terms of 'weight' For instance a 4weight rod with 4weight reel and 4weight line.


In various weights and densities and tapers. All (most) carry an AFTM rating
Weights... to match your rod. The larger number "weight" the heavier the line, with more energy displacement for longer casts and casts into wind. Densities... to float, sink, or sink fast, or very fast. Tapers are not to be worried about, for the average man new to flyfishing the Floating Weight Forward line will be more than adequate.


A length of monofilament between flyline and tippet.


A thinner length of mono between leader and fly.


Dry, those that sit on the surface.
Emergers, those that sit in the meniscus.
Wets, those that are under the water, dead.
Nymphs, respresentations of underwater insects.
Lures, designed to attract
Streamers, small fish imitations
Buzzers, chronomidae, the larval stage of midges.


A small scoop net attached with magnets to your jacket is a popular choice.


The better end of waders are made from either neoprene (for winter use) or breathable material for summer. Available at all good retailers for more than the average mortgage payment. Lots of money to be saved here, end of season sales and buying reconditioned are the cheapest.


Personal choice for carrying all your bits and bobs


Line snips, forceps, dry fly floatant, sinkant.

What to fish and where?

Please be aware the following paragraphs are all down to personal taste.
If a 7weight 9foot rod is recommended, do not think you have to rush out and buy a 7 when you have a 6 wt waiting to be used.
If your choice of venue is going to be a large lake or reservoir, then a rod and line with a heavier rating must be considered. Length of cast, speed of wind, size of fly and of course the size of the intended quarry. A 3lb rainbow will take forever to land on a 3 weight and cause the fish unnessessary stress. A 7 weight will have it netted and released with minimal fuss. A rod of 9 or 10 foot will be fit for purpose.
A large river, the Wharfe at Burley for instance, a 5 wt is most practical. A very long cast is required( after wading chest deep) The Aire, a 9 foot 3 or 4 weight will be light enough not to spook feeding fish, give good line control and be able to throw out 20 odd yards of line if the situation arises.
Eller beck would be best suited for a 7 or 8ft 3wt or even lighter rod.
In theory a 5wt 9ft rod would, at a pinch be usable on the river and at Embsay. However, as previously said, a 5 wt on a windy reservoir will not be as effective as a 7wt. A 5wt on a very low river casting at spooky fish will not get the same results as a 3wt

Do I need a casting lesson?

YES YOU DO. If you have never cast a fly rod before or are coming back into the sport, then get a lesson. To fish the river you will need to know 4 different types of cast. Embsay just 3. Forget about "mick down the road" or your uncle joe who used to flyfish in the 80s, go to a qualified AAPGAI instructor. 2 hours (max) will have you casting like a pro, with a skillset for life.

Is flyfishing a rich mans sport?

It certainly can be. A rod can cost over £1500,a reel the same, waders and wading boots well over £1000, but a rod costing £35 will catch the same fish. Waders costing £120 will have the same guarantee as £600 waders.

You havent said much about leaders and tippets, why?

I can progress onto the merits of copolymers, flourocarbon, monofil, furled leaders, tapered leaders, midge tips, sinking tips (of varying densities) etc another day.

Will I nedd waders?

Yes you will.

Wont my wellies do?

No, they wont.

What else is there to learn?

Learning about the local insect populations WILL increase your catch rate.

That sounds hard, is it?

No, not at all.

Whats next?

Rivercraft, reading rivers, finding trout.
There are two very good ways of gaining experience in this field. The first is when its blowing a gale and thrashing it down. Get on youtube and search fly fishing for brown trout, or google flyfishing rivercraft. The second, is simple practical experience.


Bowland fly fishing, Peter Scholes on facebook for casting lessons.
DiverDave for brand new recon waders.
John Norris for tackle bargains especially the flylines.
Ebay, always worth a look. sign up and ask questions, post photos etc.

Beginners Guide to Float fishing