The first step in fly fishing is learning how to use a fly rod!
Christmas came and went. All the presents you are keeping might still need to be put away, but the returners have more than likely already met their fate. By this time, all that's left are the presents that require some work to put away or use. If someone gifted you a fly rod, though, get ready for years of trying to put it away. As a matter of fact, you're just now getting started in a whole new world of fishing only a lucky few understand. First, though, you need to figure out how to use your new rod.
If you've never held a fly rod before, the fundamentals are all basically the same for casting. However, there is one key difference. The rod doesn't actually cast the fly like a traditional rod does. Instead, the rod is only designed to propel the line, which carries the fly. Until that last sentence make sense, fly fishing is a struggle. Once it does make sense, though, the entire river opens up.
I don't buy into the idea that there's only one correct way to cast. Just like in baseball, there are all kinds of ways to swing a bat. The same holds true for this. You just have to find the technique that works for you. However, there are a few fundamental truths. Try not to move your elbow a whole bunch when you cast. For the most part, it generally should stay tucked in close to the body. The other truth is the rod tip should generally create a "V" in the air above you with the line going back and forth. The old adage is "between 10 and 2." I'd call that more of a guideline, though.
The hardest part for new fly fishermen is waiting for the line to load during the back cast. Watching a few videos of proper casting techniques can make a huge difference right away, so that's a good place to start.
After you have the casting down, you'll get to enjoy the struggle trying to understand bugs, tippets, leaders and flies. Trust me, it's all worth it.
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