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“Three Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Fly Fishing”

  • November 11, 2020 8:59 AM
    Message # 9358126
    Rob Farris (Administrator)

    For those that are just starting out, or this is a very good reminder of the basics.  I’ve copied a recent article from MidCurrent that re-printed one this morning from published on Stalking the Seam, © Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. 

    Three sections on this are included; the story of two Expert’s input, the compilation of all of the 50 experts suggestions, and then a link to the full story of each of those 50 Experts responses in detail.

    “Three Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Fly Fishing”

    By: Steven Brutger

    There is always more to learn.

    In my prime I devoured information, anywhere I could get it, like a hungry great white. I would talk sink tips or nymphing techniques from [insert your favorite European nation here] late into the night. But lately I’ve been lazy, or maybe just disengaged.

    Then out of the blue I got an email asking me to share my thoughts on “Three things I wish I knew when I started fly fishing.” John Lewis, in a Herculean effort, posed the question to 50 “experts” and compiled everyone’s answers. These are summarized below with a link as well.

    Considering Matt and I experts is generous, but we both took the time to respond. But mostly I just hope to keep my fly in the water.

    So here’s are the “3 Things I Wish I knew When I Started Fly Fishing”


    You can only catch a fish when your fly is in the water –This was the first piece of advice I was given when I began fly fishing, but it took a while to set in. Cast less. Fish more.

    Keep moving to find fish – It’s easy to get caught up on cast, presentation, drift, but if fish are not there, you won’t catch any. Spend time learning to read water and where to find fish. 

    Expensive rods are not required – Sure the high end rods are nice but today’s low to mid range rods are really good as well. 


    It’s not about the fly – I recall being nearly paralyzed by the list of variables that I thought required attention when I started out. The biggest offender, by far, was (and in many ways still is) the infinite number of flies to choose from. How are you supposed to know which one’s “right”? You can’t, and at this stage it’s less important than you might think. Limit yourself to a couple of dries (perhaps an elk hair caddis and a parachute adams), a couple of nymphs (maybe a pheasant tail and a hare’s ear) and a utility bug, like a wooly bugger. 

    It is about the fish – It’s really hard to catch fish where they aren’t. Focus first on learning to read water and determine where the fish are likely to be. Being in the right stretch of water is much more than half of the battle.

    Ask dumb questions – Newcomers to fly fishing face a real language barrier and an unfamiliar culture that can seem more insular and intimidating than it should. If you’re respectful of people’s time and space, you’ll find that most are more than willing to share a little valuable info. 

    First published on Stalking the Seam, © Copyright 2017 all rights reserved.

    50 Expert’s Compilation on Responses

    Importance of presentation (18 responses)

    Learn to read the water (13)

    Find a guide or mentor (11)

    Don't be afraid to ask for advice (9)

    Learn to read the fish (4)

    Proper planning is important (3)

    Importance of fly selection (5)

    Line management (5)

    Any fly fishing gear will do (2)

    Don't rush; be patient (2)

    Full list of detailed responses follows at the following link.:

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