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Fly fishing know how.

Started by thamilton89, August 09, 2011, 15:35:06 PM

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Hey guys just kind of curious as to how you learned to fly fish, from a parent, through books, trail and error, etc. Me personally (given its still an ongoing process) mostly just through literature, and trial and error, with the occasional tip from some pretty well established fly fishing buddies of mine.


August 09, 2011, 16:32:55 PM #1 Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 19:26:17 PM by ScoutHikerDad

Interesting topic, Hamilton. I just got started in 2006, when we planned a month-long summer road trip to Southwestern Montana, Yellowstone, the Black Hills of South Dakota-that whole area, really. I watched "The Movie" (there I admit it, sue me). Then, not having a flippin' clue how to go about it, ordered a couple of the $24.95 Martin fly-fishing kits online (total broomsticks, and quickly replaced once we realized we were "serious" about it). I learned a lot on-line, got some casting lessons of sorts from this stoner kid in the neighborhood, loaded up the Jeep, and headed West.

Once there, we got licenses and some basic flies we didn't know how to use in Bozeman, then proceeded to make damn fools out of ourselves on some of the region's most storied rivers: the Madison, the Firehole, etc. In fact, I caught my first-ever trout, a little cutthroat, on a backpacking trip up Cache Creek in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. I thought I was going to wet my pants!
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My youngest son (and fishing partner still) then caught a little brookie on Indian Creek not too far from some browsing bears on the other side, and, to use a cliche, we were hooked.

We arrived home to the terrible drought, trying (mostly in vain) to fish the Davidson hatchery stretch, the only river we really knew about at the time. With some good advice from a good friend, and the nine-fingered president of the Davidson River Social Club, we gradually learned to catch a few.

It's been downhill ever since (after all, here I am in the low-rent district ::)). Thousands of $$$ and a few years later, I'm still learning. In fact, I view every trip and fishing partner as a learning experience; from Fly-Tiger I've learned to be patient and methodical; from Tranny I learned how to reallyexplore a blue-line (and, well, some other things...); from the Dude I've learned to slow down, observe my surroundings, and find out what they're eating, as well as the essential gear you need for a day(s) off the beaten path. I'm still reading, scouring the net and my maps, and exploring. In fact, part of the reason I love exploring rivers and streams over the whole bass-boat/lake thing is that every bend in the river offers new scenery, and an exciting new chance to catch "the king of the pool" (or at least the goob that takes your fly).

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention: when you have a 13-year old you're taking on fishing/camping trips, they often learn things beyond the river. For instance, after our trip with T'wader, my boy came home having learned how to say "twat" (thanks, Mike. :'( ), not to mention a few other new vocabulary words, some interesting new facts about moonshine, and novel ways to start a fire, his favorite being a road flare. -0- Gentlemen, if you have young sons who will someday join you on your trips, here's a rule for you: "Son, what happens on a fishing trip STAYS on a fishing trip." Momma don't need to know...


Quote from: thamilton89 on August 09, 2011, 15:35:06 PM

Hey guys just kind of curious as to how you learned to fly fish

Here goes (deep breath)
was 5 years old on vacation in one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Southern Africa (Plettenberg Bay) in 1985, and I watched intently as an older gent was fly fishing in the lagoon for Leervis (Garrick). I spoke to him for hours while he graciously placed his line and the willing fish ate the fly and exploded around the estuary. From that day on I was ruined, and I guess I ruined his fishing so much,  he gave me a 7'6" Pflueger Medalist rod and reel, just like that. I never saw him again  ??? Spent hours on end practising casting on the sand flats during that holiday, to the point my mom would have to come find me after sun down and drag my sorry ass home. Couldn't let it go. I would flog the crap out of the river that ran alongside my house in the southern suburbs of cape town. There was a tiny population of rainbows in it, and I would bail school alot to take a shot at them. I used that old skool freebie for over 7 years and at 12, I decided to get a job at a TV game store in a shopping mall close by my home. My old man wasn't supportive of me fly fishing. He's german and thought the brits (still does) are a bunch of wankers along with their shitty sports. So I saved up money and bought my own stuff. Luckily for me, I was put in a very prim and proper school with alot of fellow british tossers who too liked fly fishing. The school club (Piscatorial Society) did trips like every weekend and I would often go with the lads who chased fish on fly rod. I bought a 7'6 4 wt  Daiwa Osprey with a Daiwa SF706 reel and airflo (yeah yeah, they suck) line and built my own leaders when I was 13. I used it in the salt (stole a laundry basket, some weed wacker chord and made my very own stripping basket [ what an industrious little shit I was]), estuaries, on trout streams, heck if it swam, I wanted to catch it. Then later that same year girls became an interest and I got ruined some more. Then when I turned 15, I started drinking alcohol, and here I am typing this story.
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This is me back in 1991/2? I dunno. Have a laugh, thats how Saffa kids rolled then...dodgy hair pieces, surfer clothes and no shoes. Remember, trout are color blind so if you wanna bust out a pair of pink shorts, they don't spook :-*


Guitars, Whiskey, Guns, and Knives

Woolly Bugger

August 09, 2011, 17:18:28 PM #4 Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 17:26:31 PM by Woolly Bugger

Home Rivers http://www.kbrcomm.com/flyfish.htm

I don't remember exactly when I first became interested in fly fishing. But I do remember dapping flies on the surface of Morris County Park's pond with my older brother Jim. It was a summer adventure, riding our bikes beyond our set boundaries to fish for pan fish. They were easy marks for our blundering attempts at fly fishing. I was just amazed that fish would actually bite an artificial fly made of feathers and thread. I had always thought that worms, the kind that you dug up, were the only way to catch freshwater fish. My saltwater experience at that time was limited to using drop lines with clams for bait to catch harbor pollock.

It was over a quarter of a century later that my interest returned to fly fishing. My girlfriend needed some help picking out a present for her older brother Bill who was living in San Francisco. We had just returned from a visit with him and he had mentioned that he would like to take up fly fishing on some of the northern California streams. I had an Idea. I knew that an Orvis store had recently opened in our area and this was good reason to go look at rods and reels. Overwhelmed by leaders and backing we turned to the boxed outfits. Over my girlfriend's protest I picked out a Rocky Mountain Western Trout outfit. I believe that it cost over two hundred dollars plus the Federal Express Charges to get it to SF in time for his birthday..

The next day, my future brother-in-law's birthday, was the day that the San Francisco Earthquake hit. No, fed x did not deliver the fly rod on time. No, we did not get a refund on the postage. The rod was finally delivered, but with all of the problems Bill had no time to think about fishing and the outfit was put away. To this day I think that Orvis rod is still in its shrink wrapped box. Bill, now living in Pinehurst, is a golfer, and it seems to me that golfers can't find time to fish just like fishermen can't find time to golf.

Years later, after we were married and expecting our first child my wife bought me a Father's Day present, a Cortland fly fishing outfit. I think that she has some regrets about that gift. Trout don't live close by and when I go fishing its usually all day. My yearly goal is fifty fishing trips, during the long summer days, I'll leave work early and head for one of the streams close by. On day trips I'll leave by 5am and head for the mountains and the national forest.

here is a pic of me on my first fly fishing trip and  the first trout that I caught on a fly... despite the white Desert Storm T-Shirt and all ....

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:o :-X :laugh:

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!


August 09, 2011, 18:25:35 PM #5 Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 18:45:03 PM by Phil

I started fly fishing (if you can call it that) in 1973. Before that, it was level wind and spin stuff. First, it was using a fly rod, but with level line and worms. A Fenwick glass rod and a Pflueger reel. Kept every trout I caught for weekend fish fries, and caught a bunch.

Graduated to actual fly fishing in 1977-78. Got hooked on the Watauga River Tailrace before many other people knew about it. Huge brown trout on little no-hackle dries. Back in those days, you could park and fish most anywhere along the river. 18-20 inch browns on #18 comparaduns. My bud Bo Cash brought a 26 inch 8 pound brown to hand on a #18 dry. I was there.

Then, later on, I descended into hiking into little brook trout/wild rainbow streams for the little wild jewels. Been hooked since 1973- even thought I'm now getting a little old and have to take it a bit more slowly.  ;D

Big J

August 09, 2011, 18:28:21 PM #6 Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 18:30:17 PM by Big J

It won't be as hard to remember when I got started like all you Old Timers considering I'm only 21 and have picked up fly fishing 3 years ago. :P

All through high school I was big into bass fishing and thought only old men fly fished.  I loved to fish though and probably hit lakes and ponds almost every day a week with my spinning rod.  Even fished a few bass tournaments and such.  Well three summers ago I went up to my grandpa's lake trailer (exactly what it sounds like, a trailer on a lake) and there was a fly rod over in the corner.  I asked him if he has started fly fishing and he said "No! I tried and I don't have the patience.  Can you please take the fly rod because every time I walk by it I get mad again!"  It was a free Temple Fork 8 weight so I thought why not.  Everything changed that summer.  I started out by buying L.L. Bean Fly Fishing Hand book by Dave Whitlock and that got me started with the basics.  After I finished the intro part of the book on casting and such, I went to my local wally world and bought a couple poppers to tie on and then hit the local pond to try my hand at casting.  Boy was it ugly at first.  I'm sure I looked like a baboon waving a stick in the air, but after a couple hours I got something that resembled a cast.  Next day I went to the same pond to practice my cast and after a couple practices I saw a bluegill sip the popper from the surface and I sat there for a second thinking "what in the world do I do now?"  :embarassed:  But I slowly brought the little guy in by hand and from that moment I have been that old man fly fisherman I never thought I would be.  Shortly after getting sick of the walmart flies I bought my first BPS fly tying kit and got into the kick of catching bream and bass on flies I tie.  Being on the southside of Atlanta we don't have many streams with trout....none to be exact for 3 hours so I never really had an interest of trout.  That is till I decided to go to Virginia for college, and that introduced me to trout  -0- I've got a lot to learn and have pretty much been self taught in fly fishing when it comes to everything.  Use to be hardcore into wrestling and wrestled D1 for a little over a year, but since fly fishing I slowly backed away till I decided to give it up my sophomore year in college.  Definitely freed up a lot of time for fly fishing!  ;D

benben reincarnated

Great topic.

I'll sum it up best I can, I used to bass, catfish, and bluegill fish with my grandfather down in Georgia since I was a able to walk.  At some point in my journey, probably about 14 years old, I decided to pick up my grandfather's fly rod and fish at a lake we frequented.  I actually caught a bluegill on my first attempt, and never went back to fly fishing...my grandfather died shortly thereafter and I gave up fishing altogether.

Fast forward to 5 years ago, I moved to Asheville and brought my grandfather's rod and reel with me with the intention of trying this trout fishing thing.  I signed up on two different occasions for the fly fishing class at AB Tech in order to learn the basics, but had something come up both times and I cancelled.  Then Peter P started working at my company, I found out he fly fished, and asked him to take me sometime.  He showed me the ropes, re-taught me how to cast, showed me where the fish usually cruise, and put up with all my bullshit.  That was a year and plus or minus 2 weeks ago....and the rest is history.

Peter taught me a lot, but I have to say I did learn a lot on my own... admittedly I wouldn't be near where I am now without the millions of questions I asked or emailed him about over the past year.  Since then I've picked up fly tying, quit chasing pellet heads, and been doing some lazy-mans bluelining.

I still fish with that same fly rod and reel my grandfather bought years ago at a bait/tackle shop in Phenix City, Alabama (of which closed down 15 years ago)...to quote myself, "it still catches fish"...and I still ask Peter lots of questions.

Trout Maharishi

It was in the early 30's right after all the logging companies left western nc and took all the jobs with them. Times were hard, no jobs, nothing to eat, and not much hope of anything changing any time soon. I cut a tree branch, tied some fishing line to it with a cricket on the hook and went about trying to procure something to eat for supper. Hunger taught me how to fish. /"\

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There's more B.S. in fly fishing than there is in a Kansas feedlot.

Lefty Kreh

Woolly Bugger

Quote from: Trout Maharishi on August 09, 2011, 20:04:10 PM

It was in the early 30's right after all the logging companies left western nc and took all the jobs with them. Times were hard, no jobs, nothing to eat, and not much hope of anything changing any time soon. I cut a tree branch, tied some fishing line to it with a cricket on the hook and went about trying to procure something to eat for supper. Hunger taught me how to fish. /"\

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don't believe his lies, there were no camera's when he started fishing....

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ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!


hell there was no fish left after he started.

never let a day go by without telling your children how special they are----make a child smile today and gain a friend for life


I really cant remember exactly when but it was early. My dad was trout and landlocked salmon guy/striper junkie when we lived in NH. We used to cast the fly rod in the yard instead of throwing a baseball/football. My favorite part was at the end of casting practice my dad would grab the end of the line and run across the yard as either a (tarpon or bonefish) the reel would scream. Don't remember first trout but my first landlocked salmon was at 8, and it was a big deal because I had caught plenty of trout up to that point but the salmon had eluded me. 1st striper about the same time, just a schoolie. Moved to SC in '99. Growing up I idolized Flip, Lefty, and Chico in 2000 I met all three and have a hat sitting a few feet away from me with all their signatures on it. Been tying since 10 on and off, mostly on the last 5-6 years. I also had the pleasure of eating dinner with Jack Gartside when I was 5. I remember meeting him vaguely but he knew my dad fairly well from what I've heard mostly through the NH TU. I guess I sort of grew up in it which I'm thankful for and I've had a fair share of experience in salt as well as fresh (I suck at small streams though). Owe it all to my old man though, that lucky bastard is going to BC in Sept. on business he's taking a day or two off to fish while I'll be stuck studying bullshit in the library. b';

"In this world there are two kinds of people my friend those with loaded guns and those who dig, you dig" --The Good


At the age of 12 somebody told Daddy about trout fishing.  I had already been hunting and fishing for a few years.  Daddy bought us both Fenwick fly rods and Pfleuger reels.  I still have mine.  We would go to Cherokee and either stay in a motel or camp at Smokemont.  We would fish in town with the spinning rods and go to Bradley Fork with the fly rods.  We bought our flies at a fly shop in Bryson City.  We did this until I got out of high school.  I only fished with the fly rod just a few times during college and shortly after.  During my college years I carried my spinning rod to Wofford.  During warm weather when it wasn't hunting season, my roomate and I would leave Wofford and go to Clemson and pick up another Hartsville boy ( who actually has his own TV show on hunting and fishing and gets paid to do this) and go to the Chatooga.  The Clemson boy could look at the tracks in the road and tell us when the hatchery truck had been by.  An African Bushman tracker had nothing on him.  We caught the blazes out of fish.  This has absolutely nothing to do with fly fishing but it was fun as the dickens.  During that period of my life I fished when I couldn't hunt.  Now I hunt when I can't fish.  I stated back exclusively with the fly rod about six years ago and have never looked back.


I dont know how to fly fish

Between Golf, Fantasy Football, Fantasy Baseball, and Fantasy Basketball Im involved in quite a few sports already, and lets not forget Geocasheing.

I get out and fish the DH water near me with spinners a couple times a year (name of river withheld... dont want everybody out there pounding that water).  I usually try to hit the DH sections up a day or so before it switches over to Hatchery Supported and get my limit before the crowds decend upon it.  I figure what the hell they are gonna get kept this weekend anyway.

The shop up the road has a pretty cool Redington combo that Ive took out and test cast a few times.  The dude behind the counter there has been showing me how to cast.  He says he is a guide too but I only see him in the shop.

Anyway I found that same combo on Cabelas new and still in the plastic packaging and not been taken out and test cast a bunch of times and Im thinking about taking the plunge into the world of fur and feathers.

Tight Lines


Back around, I'd say 1983 my dad gave me an old Phillipson Master rod with a Scientific System 1 reel. I went and bought some line not knowing what I needed. Fished, caught in trees, piled my line and even caught some fish. Read alot on line and watched a lot of videos but, eventually got fairly good and still going strong today. Even got the old Phillipson out a couple times

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