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Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6515
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I have just started fly fishing a few months ago and absolutly love it. I want to start tying my own flies because everyone I talk to says I should. I have had some mild success here and there but am always willing to learn from seasoned pro's :) So any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am hooked; a fly fisherman for life!!

Posted on: 2006/10/20 12:35


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman
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2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
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Quote:
I want to start tying my own flies because everyone I talk to says I should.


I'll be the dissenting opinion.

I think that fly fishing is a great hobby.

I think that tying flies is a great hobby.

I don't think that the two are inextricably linked. In fact, buying flies is kind of a bargain if you value your free time at all. Or for that matter, if you value all the money you will have in partially used materials, etc. A good cape can run $50 or $60 (an excellent one can go quite a bit more) and most of us use just the feathers on it that run from 14 to 18. So you're not going to use more than half the feathers... as a for instance.

I didn't start tying for the first few years of fly fishing because I wanted to concentrate on learning how to cast, reading up on various aspects of the sport etc. When I did start tying, it was because there were some flies I had picked up and had success with that I couldn't find easily or couldn't keep around in sufficient quantity.

When you do start tying, stick to really easy patterns like The Usual, beetles, ants, pheasant tails, comparaduns. Not because it's so hard to do parachutes or quill wing wets, but because those basic patterns catch fish! When I tye a Usual, it takes me half the time it does to do a traditional catskill tye. Guess which pattern I'll throw under a bush, and which one I keep out in the still water! Well, the trout are all under the branches of the bushes and the hemlocks, so you should have plenty of "junk" flies you don't mind losing to those trees.

The other bit of advice I'd offer is to get the small packs of sized feathers. They are more expensive, per feather, but you'll use all the material. In the end, I feel like I waste less that way.

One phrase to throw out that you'll hear a lot about is THREAD TENSION. You're first flies will look terrible, but when you learn how hard you can pull on 6/0 thread before it snaps they will improve remarkably.

Good luck whichever way you go! And I hope you keep loving the sport.

Posted on: 2006/10/20 13:09
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Padraic
Never challenge a cat to a staring contest


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman
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2006/9/9 17:32
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Welcome to the ranks! Padraic's advice about basic flies and buying hackle in small packs is good advice. You will, over the long run, save money by tying your own, esp if you do a lot of fishing and lose a lot of flies like so many of us on this forum. You should have no trouble finding someone in your neck of the woods to serve as a mentor and show you the basics of tying. The local Trout Unlimited chapter - in addition to being a good cause to support - probably has a fly tying group or someone to help you. Look 'em up. Also, keep in mind that flies that appear rather scruffy in the vise are often good fish catchers - esp nymphs and streamers. If you are unsure how much material to tie on, it is usually good to err on the side of less. Many flies work better if tied rather sparse. Good luck.

Posted on: 2006/10/20 16:32


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

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2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
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Dear ryguyfi,

The first thing you need to do is practice casting. After you are finished, practice some more.

Seriously, the main thing I think a beginner needs to do is get proficient at casting. Presentation is critical in fly fishing. The "proper" fly poorly presented rarely draws a strike, but the "wrong" fly properly presented often gets eaten. Don't be afraid to practice in your front yard or a park or anywhere you can. Work on hitting targets at all ranges. Casting at a tree or shrub works great for this, and you can work on casting under branches and limbs by just tying a small piece of yarn on the end of your leader and pretending it is actually a fly.

Fly tying can be fun but like Padraic said it's not a necessity. When you do decide to get into fly tying just buy the materials you need to tie 3 or 4 popular flies and work on tying them correctly. Every fly uses most of the same procedures so once you get skilled at 3 or 4 flies you can branch out to others. Stick with streamers and nymphs to get started. Trout eat 90% of their food under the waters surface.

Four good flies to start with are in no special order, wooly buggers, gold ribbed hare's ear nymphs, soft hackle wet flies, and caddis larva.

Ask lots of questions too, it's the best way to learn.

Regards,
Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2006/10/20 17:34


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

Joined:
2006/9/28 14:40
From Philadelphia
Posts: 375
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ryguyfi,
Lots of good advice here, so I'll add just two things: 1. Pick up a good book on basic flyfishing. I'd recommend either LL Bean's Guide ( Dave Whitlock) Orvis Guide (Tom Rosenbauer) or Flyfishing for Trout (Dick Talleur). Each will run you through the basics in a thorough, easy to understand way. 2. Go fishing a lot so you can practice what you find in the book.
Coughlin

Posted on: 2006/10/20 18:28


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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The two best pieces of advice I can give a young flyfisher are:

1. Dump your girlfirend or teach her how to fish. (the first option is preferable as there are few things less embarassing as being outfished by your girlfriend.)

2. Get a job that has you working second or third shifts. Even better work, say, wed thru sunday. A lot less people on the steams on mon and tues.

I think the advice of fishing a lot is the best. Don't feel that trout is all there is either. I started on bluegills and gained much confidence in fishing and tying that way. If a bluegill won't eat your flies, nothing else will either. Don't waste a good fishing day tying. Hang out at your local fly shop if you have one. Buy a Gazeteer (sp) and explore. Much of waht you need to learn, can't be taught. You have to keep doing it until it feels right. Good luck and remember: its supposed to be fun!

Posted on: 2006/10/20 19:21


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman
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2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
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Quote:
Presentation is critical in fly fishing.


Amen, but you don't always have to be a good caster to present properly.

Get a copy of Tom Rosenbauers's Reading Trout Streams, and you'll get a good idea of where trout live. Then it's easier to dump a fly on top of them a little better. But you shouldn't have to cast far to fish for trout in PA. You should be able to cast ACCURATELY which is what Tim probably meant.

Quote:
good flies to start with are in no special order, ..., gold ribbed hare's ear nymphs, soft hackle wet flies, and caddis larva


If tying and fishing subsurface flies sounds as depressing to you as it does to me, remember that all of the flies Tim mentions can be fished effectively in the film. Which is fun too. So substitute a rusty spinner for a wooley bugger and you've got 4 must haves. It was for a short list of flies like that, that got me tying. I just couldn't keep running to the flyshop for more of them after most every flishing trip.

Posted on: 2006/10/25 10:22
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Padraic
Never challenge a cat to a staring contest


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

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2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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you guys are awesome. the more info the better. i actually just picked up a book and have been reading it all day today about trout streams in pa and hatches and fly tying. good thing its a slow day at work :) but one question. its getting real cold out now and i know that trout like the colder weather but its almost too cold out there for me! i would love to fit in a few more fishing days before it really sets in. any real good local streams for me that have some good activity lately?

Posted on: 2006/10/25 17:21


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

Joined:
2006/9/9 0:19
From philadelphia
Posts: 169
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All that was replied before me is GOOD advice.

I am not going to go into detail on advice for a new fly-fisherman.
All i will say is after you do start to learn some things,apply what you have learned and :

K.I.S.S. In other words Keep It Simple Stupid, or the Trout ,and the Stream will make you truely look that way.

Good luck and
Most of all have FUN
Steve98

Posted on: 2006/10/25 17:34


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman
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2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
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What's local? Don't post your address or even the city you live in, if you aren't comfortable with that. Maybe post what stream you normally fish, and guys from that area can help you out with alternates.

I'm from Harrisburg. There are a number of streams that fish well even with snow on the ground. Although I am with you, it ain't no fun to fish when your teeth are clackin together!

Posted on: 2006/10/25 18:47
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Padraic
Never challenge a cat to a staring contest


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

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2006/9/14 11:19
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On the stream with joe humphrey is a good book also trout streams and hatches of pa by charles meck is a good book. Dont get frustrated when you go out and fish. I started fly fishing about 1 1/2 years ago. Its alot different than convetional gear. I used to get so mad when i would go out and not catch anything and get caught in trees and anything else imaginable. The one thing i learned this spring is that you have to fish nymphs deep. I always though i was and always would get frustrated by not catching anything on the bottom. Also check out a class at a local fly shop. there are some excelent shops and not so great ones around. When i first started going into fly shops i would get almost glares because i was a young kid by my self and all the other people in there were always older. dont get intimidated and ask as many questions as you can. also check out the fly fishers paridise forum at www.flyfishersparidise.com and the fly fisherman magazine forum. Iv learned more from those two forums and this one than anywhere else. Just remember to have fun and even the best fly fisherman dont catch fish every day.

Posted on: 2006/10/25 19:48


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman
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Trout feed daily regardless of the weather, but I have read and confirmed through experience that the better days are when you can find the water temperature on the rise, rather than falling. In other words, the action is better on a day when water is 39 degrees coming up from several days in the mid-to-low 30s than it would be at 42 degrees after several days in the mid-to-high 40s. Personally, my temperature tolerance is effected by how long it has been since my last trip. If I skip a weekend because of cold temps, I'll probably be out the following weekend, if for just a few hours, even if the temps and weather are miserable.

Posted on: 2006/10/26 7:26
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Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

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2006/9/16 10:36
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It is really great to see all he advice presented here by the forum regulars, one of the best things about this sport is the people involved who love the sport and are more than ready to share information. Welcome

Posted on: 2006/10/26 9:06


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6515
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Sorry, I made other posts in the stream location section and have said that I have done most of my fishing in Brady's Run Park which is about 5 min from my house. I live about 45 min north of pittsburgh and abou 45 min from the ohio border. It seems like i've got to travel about 45 min in any direction just to hit a nice trout stream. Brady's run is all stocked fish and gets fished pretty hard especiall in the lake so i hit the streams and try to hit different pockets and places where i've learned the fish are staying. but i'm always on the lookout for new streams and can travel a bit but not too far. all i have to say is i love fly fishing and would go every day of the week if i could. I'd like to go up to slippery rock because thats probably the closest stream to me. My only wish is if i could find someone who does alot of fly fishing so i can learn because i dont know of anyone in my area. but either way i'm hooked and cant get enough of it right now!!!

Posted on: 2006/10/26 15:08


Re: Any advice to a young new fly fisherman

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2006/10/26 22:59
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I was a young new fisherman once, hoping to tie my own bugs. Now im 22. I tie alot of flies, like 50 doz. each winter, but I loose them alot too, in boating accidents and in trees. Im a guide so i give alot away. If you have a decent paying job i would just keep buying flies, but if you dont, and you sit around at night and drink beer anyway, you might as well tie some bugs. Get the most important patterns down well, and just start spitting them out in the sizes you need. Late.

Posted on: 2006/10/26 23:13



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