Fly fishing can seem a little daunting at first glance, but once you actually get out there and try it for yourself it becomes second nature. I started worm fishing at a very young age with my father and brother. It wasn’t until I was nearing my teens that I began to feel an interest to try casting with this really long stick while standing in the middle of a river. I started to learn the basics of fly fishing on my own: through research, oral interpretation of what the guys at the local fly shop were explaining to me, and ultimately through throwing myself out there with a nine foot fly rod.
To understand the basics of fly fishing, one must first understand the gear that is involved in this sport. The typical trout river fly rod measures nine feet long and is designated a specific numerical weight. That numerical weight, a five-weight fly rod for example, should always match up to the type of fly line you are using. The fly reel is seated nicely at the very bottom end of the fly rod and is scientifically weighed out to match the numerical five-weight system. One must be sure to always match those numbers together for best performance. Beyond the typically neon colored fly line comes a leader line that usually measures seven to nine feet: this is the start of the transparent or clear line. Behold! We are still on a weighted system and thus this leader line is specifically weighted as well. Entering leader line thus enters the tippet line. The tippet is the thinnest of these fishing lines and the one that actually connects with the fly that you will tie on.
Now that you have a general idea of the basic fly fishing setup, one can begin to dive into the wonderful world of casting. The ten to two method seems to be a pretty generic term in the world of fly fishing casting, but it is the best principle to learn from. Casting the fly rod can be thought of like the hands of a clock: enter the ten to two method where one casts backwards to the imaginary ten o’clock hand and forward to the two o’clock hand. If you are right handed then your right hand will be gripping the cork on the rod and your wrist will be making the ten to two casting method. When one is casting back and forth in the air without letting the line drop to the target, that is known as false casting. You really should become familiar with false casting and the ten to two casting method, as it makes up the whole driving effort behind your fly to fish, fish to fly presentation. Diving even deeper into the basics of fly fishing casting is the need to consistently let out more and more fly line as you are false casting the fly line through the air. So, given the same right handed fly fishermen: while casting with your right hand holding the rod, your left hand should be both taking out more fly line from the reel and letting it slide through your fingers into the eyelets of the fly rod, thus letting more line out into your cast.
Fly fishing can seem a little daunting at first glance, but once you have learned and practiced these basics of fly fishing, it will become second nature. Remember that these are the basics and not every single detail is included, yet I feel that this is a very solid starting point and one that should be studied into thoroughly. Practice, practice, practice the cast and hooking into that sorry fish that tries to eat your fly will only come naturally.