Fly Fishing Equipment For Beginners

 

White river brown trout

White River Brown

If you are looking for fly fishing equipment for beginners, how do you know what to look for, how do you know what you need and how do you know if it’s worth the money? It’s never easy when deciding on products that you are not familiar with and may not know much about.

Experience helps

Our crew has been fly fishing for over thirty years and we have, through trial and error, made mistakes, we have made good choices and bad choices when purchasing equipment. We would like to think that with all of our good or bad purchase decisions, throughout the years, we have been able to figure out what are the best choices when making purchases. Sometimes we suggest the safe choices and sometimes we encourage the most practical choices but as we do our research and testing and reviews we always try to think about the early years and how we could have made better decisions, how we could have stretched our budget and what we would have done differently to get great equipment for the best value.

What We Offer

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned angler, whether you are looking for equipment for a spouse, getting equipment for your kids or anyone that is looking to fish, then we think we can help you out.

The reason for our site is to help educate and simplify what is needed to get started in the great sport of fly fishing. Its our goal to help make it easier to understand what is needed, what is not needed,  as well as what it just fun to have, regarding fishing equipment.

Rods and ReelsFly rods

To get started fishing you will first need a fly rod and reel. This can be the most overwhelming area in all of fly fishing. There are so many choices out there, so many different types of rods and reels, including sizes and weights as well as brands. A rod can range from $100.00 up to $1000.00 and that doesn’t include the reel, fly line and tippet needed to get started fishing.

That’s why we think that as a beginner the best choice to make for your first purchase is a fly rod and reel combo. The reason for this suggestion is that when a manufacture suggest a rod and reel together they have taken the time and used their knowledge to pair them together and compliment each other. They also usually take the time to include fly line that is a perfect fit for the rod and reel that is included,  If you think about it that is key, they have taken a lot of time and effort to take all of the guesswork out of it for you. As a beginner this is something that should not be overlooked. Its also a good idea to take a look at the warranty that may be available for each manufacturer.

We like to look for fly fishing rod and reel combos that are put together by reputable rod builders and that include not only a rod and reel but fly line, tippet and hopefully some nice extras. You can check out our fly fishing kits suggestions by clicking here. Fly Fishing Combos.

Wading bootsWading boots

The second thing you will want to look at is wading boots. Although it is not completely necessary as a beginner to purchase boots right out of the gate, at one point as you go down the fly fishing road you will certainly want to add wading boots to your arsenal. Wading boots will help you navigate those slippery river bottoms as well as help to protect your precious feet and ankles, below the water’s surface. Manufactures have come a long way over the years and if you don’t go with the cheapest out there and stick with the quality boot builders it’s hard to go wrong. The biggest decision you may have to make is what type of soles that are going to be best for you. Most boots have choices between felt soles or rubber soles, they also come with an option to add studs to the felt or the rubber. There is a company out there, check out Korkers wading boots, that makes interchangeable soles which lets you have one boot with many different soles. This is a great way to get what you need in one boot. Visit Wading Boots for our recommendations.

WadersWaders

Fishing waders are the next step but make no mistake it will not be the last thing you want if you continue in your fly fishing journey. There are many different thoughts about what type of wader you will need as a beginner. It really comes down to the commitment of the angler when deciding on what type of wader to purchase. We of course always like to stick with reputable companies, when suggesting any fly gear. Companies that take pride in their products are usually the best choice. If you are a beginner that may only fish with waders a handful of times a year then it may be best to pick a wader on the lower end of the cost scale. If you pick a wader for around $100.00 your not really breaking the bank and if they last a couple years, well that’s economical and when you decide to upgrade you will feel like you got your money’s worth. If you are going to be using waders more than a handful of times a year then It’s in your best interest to look at a mid entry wader. A mid entry wader will offer better construction and will last longer than an entry level wader. If you are serious and really want to take the leap and commit to fly fishing then by all means take a look at the higher grade wader. The higher end waders have great construction, as well as all the bells and whistles that come in handy while on the water. Take a look at Fishing Waders for our suggestions.

Fishing accessoriesFishing accessories

Polarized sunglasses. It’s important to take eye protection seriously. A good pair of sunglasses with side guards can be the difference when keeping your eyes safe from casting mishaps. Choose polarized lenses they cut down the sun’s glare off the water and help the angler see below the water’s surface. This is important while trying to stalk fish.

Fishing net. A good fishing net makes all the difference when trying to land that trophy fish. Make sure you choose a net that is made of soft rubber or vinyl. The netting material is important to the fish, the soft rubber or vinyl helps prevent the removal of the fish’s protective mucus coating.

Fishing jacket. It’s always nice to have a good “go to” waterproof fishing jacket. There are many out there but it’s a good idea to choose one with a built in hood, lightweight and breathable with  lots of pockets.

Chest pack. A nice chest pack has pockets for all your fly boxes, tippet material, gloves, water bottle or whatever you need to carry. Most also have a back storage area for a fishing jacket as well as a built in hook to store your fishing net.

Go bag.  A go bag or duffle bag is a great way to store your boots, waders, net, fishing jacket and fishing vest along with anything else you like to take on a fishing trip. It makes it nice because it’s all stored in one neat place. Look for something that is waterproof and something you can easily take a hose to if needed. Take a look at our Accessory page for more information and great tips.

So if you have any questions regarding fly fishing equipment for beginners, check out our site or leave a question below.

 

 

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Streamer Fishing Techniques

Do you like to catch bigger fish? I think that anyone who likes to fish enjoys the opportunity to try their luck at a monster fish! Fishing with streamers is not only a fun way to fish but streamers can attract bigger and more aggressive fish.

Brown trout on a streamer

Streamer Fishing For Trout

Big trout like big meals and a streamer is a big meal for a trout. If you use these simple streamer fishing techniques then you can get some nice fish to chase and crush your bug.

Before we get started on the techniques lets get to understand what streamers are and why and when fish like to chase them. Hopefully eating them.

Streamers are a fly that imitate a larger food source like a small trout, minnows, crayfish, sculpin or leeches. These are active flies that are in the water and just trying to avoid becoming a meal. We have all seen those commercials with underwater cameras filming lures that simulate either a bait fish or an injured fish (usually bass lures) This is exactly what we are trying to accomplish with a streamer. You will see in our techniques that something like a dead drift will imitate a small bait fish while stripping or active retrieve will imitate an injured bait fish.

We know fish are predators right? So they are always looking for their next meal. Thinking of it that way there is no bad time to fish with a streamer, however, streamer fishing during the spring and fall months may be more productive than the rest of the year. Here is why. During the fall, fish are trying to increase eating and fatten up for winter. Also, its important to know that, for brown trout, the spawn is on and that leads itself to aggressive feeding habits. Whether its hunger or a territorial response to a smaller fish invading their holding area and threatening potential offspring, fish pound streamers.

Its important as an angler to understand that fishing to fish that are actively spawning on their spawning beds or a redd should be avoided for the good of the future generations of fish.

When spring temperatures start to increase and water flows rise fish get more active and for lack of a better explanation just start feeding and looking for big meals, after a long winter fish are hungry.

Streamer fishing on the Snake

My First Technique, The Most Important

There really is no wrong way to fish a streamer. Throw conventional casting and drifting out the window and just try different things, use your imagination.

The Swing Technique

The swing is the basic of all streamer fishing. With any technique you will have the chance at the end of your float to let the bug swing. The swing gives the appearance of something trying to get out of the way of the feeding lane or channel. Think of it this way. If you are a small fish and you get swept into an area that you know that big fish are eating you are trying your best to get the hell out of there as quick as possible so you are swimming across current and trying to find cover as quick as possible. The swing can be accomplished many ways.

Cast straight across or a little down stream at the bank so the water takes the fly, it will start to swing. Once the fly gets out of the current start to strip towards you and then cast it again. Cover the water a few times before moving a few steps.

Dead Drift Technique

You may be saying “dead drift” are you crazy? I thought so too until I went fishing with someone who just tossed the streamer up in the middle of a run and let it drift. I thought well that’s OK but the fish will only take it at the bottom of the run but to my surprise four fish were taken out of that run from the top to the middle as well as the swing at the bottom. This opened my eyes about streamer fishing. The only explanation was the fish took the “dead drift” as an injured or struggling fish, sculpin or leech and then as it tried to swim away. Whatever, it worked and worked well.

Retrieve Technique

The retrieve seams like the most logical approach to streamer fishing. Cast it in the water and strip / retrieve your fly like your mimicking a small fish or leach etc. This is another classic technique and very effective. The question is how do you retrieve? Fast, slow, short strips, long strips three short and one long? It depends on what the fish are in the mood for that day so try different striping methods until you get a fish to crush your fly.

Don’t be afraid to tie a dropper on the back of your streamer this can be very effective especially when using the swing technique.

Brown on the Snake

Types of Streamer

There all types of streamers to choose from. A few good types that work well in my area (Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho). Are simple patterns that are easy to manage while casting and just catch fish. Notice that they all have coned or bead heads that add weight to the fly and help them get down in the fish zone.

streamers

If you have no idea what steamer will work for your area and conditions. Stop by your local fly shop and ask. I have found that most fly shops are more than happy to give up the goods on what is fishing well.

Rod and Line Suggestions

Rod and Rod Size. It is not necessary to have a special streamer rod, a 9 foot 5 weight works just fine. However, if you decide that you enjoy streamer fishing and want to take advantage a 6 or even a 7 weight rod will help you cast the heavier flies further with less effort.

Fly Line. I think that sinking, floating or floating with a sink tip line is a personal choice. I use floating line and depending on the depth of the water I’m fishing I will add some weight, either at the nose of the fly or six inches above the fly.

Floating Line with a sink tip. This is awesome and a great way to get your streamer down without using weight. I prefer this to an all out sinking line because I like to adjust my depth a little and I like to fish medium to large rivers.

Sinking line. This type of line is perfect if you know you want to be fishing in deep holes and you want to get your fly down, down, down. The best place to use sinking line Is when you’re fishing in big water or lakes and you know you are only going to be fishing streamers that day.

Leader and tippet. A stout 3x leader is ideal for most streamer fishing. Fish are not really leader shy when chasing streamers so make sure your line won’t break when an aggressive fish pounds it. I always have all sorts of tippet material on hand so I will use 2x or 3x when attaching tippet or tying on a dropper.

For additional information about choosing fly line, click here.

Get out and go Fishing

These are some basic streamer fishing techniques that I hope will help the beginner understand the fun and importants of learning how to fish streamers. Stay tuned for more in depth blogs about streamers and streamer fishing and as always if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

For more information about fly fishing click here

Take a look at this video. Its awesome!

 

Fishing From A Drift Boat VS Wade Fishing

People often ask me what do you prefer fly fishing out of a drift boat?  Or simply wade fishing?

 

Wade fishing

Wade fishing

 

Wade fishing is simply putting on your boots, grabbing your fly rod and walking up or down the river, stalking and casting to fish that you want to catch. It’s fun and exciting because you are navigating the river and you are trying to read the water to figure out where to cast your fly, and if you’re like me you find yourself in crazy situations that you wouldn’t necessarily think about unless you were stalking that next big fish.

When you are wade fishing you are taking your time, you are extremely aware of your surroundings and are paying particular attention to riffs, ripples, runs and holes (those are all fishing terms). Basically fish feed in riffs, ripples and runs and hold in holes, all of these are important to fish. While wade fishing you can take your time and explore all sides of, say a run, and fish from the bottom to the top and from one side to the other. This takes some accurate casting skills and, sometimes, some sort of patience. Don’t forget the riffs, ripples and holes though, fish will take a fly in all of these situations.

 

Fishing out of a drift boat

Drift boat

 

What is a drift boat? It’s a uniquely designed boat specifically designed for fishing rivers. It’s meant to float down the river and put the angler in great positions that a wading angler can not access. It also opens up a whole new world of fishing and casting techniques. However, this kind of boat is not meant for big white water, we will leave that to the rubber rafts.

When you are floating down a river you are going to cover a lot more water than if you were wading or walking it (a good days float is around 4 miles, it depends on how fast the river is flowing that day though). The biggest difference is that while floating you are covering more water and you’re not necessarily stalking fish you are casting to areas that you think the fish will be holding. Not to be confused because I think it’s still stalking but not as deliberate. You also have more opportunities to get your fly to float differently than if you were standing in the river.

When I first started fly fishing I seriously didn’t even know what a drift boat was, it was crazy amazing how naïve I was. I finally figured out that those people rowing down the river where getting to fish in areas that i could not get to just by wading.

When you first fish out of a drift boat you soon realize that it’s a bit different than simply wade fishing. You need to cast a little different and anticipate where the boat is going. You need to take into consideration how fast you are drifting as well as the direction and adjust your cast from there. However, the best news is, is that you find yourself casting to fish in areas that you may never have been able to when wade fishing. The downside is, is that you usually only have one or two casts into an area until the boat has drifted on by. The upside is you are going to cover a lot more water.

So what is the verdict?
Well I really don’t have a favorite. I love wet wading, getting my feet wet and exploring a river, figuring out where the fish are and taking my time to cast to every inch of an area that I think a fish will be feeding or holding. It’s exciting to put on your wading boots and waders and walk up, or down a river with the opportunity and hopes of landing a nice fish.

Fishing out of a drift boat is fantastic fun! You seriously feel like you’re a bit spoiled. You find yourself casting to areas you never thought you could before, hoping to find that monster fish you just couldn’t cast to while wade fishing. Its awesome to see and fish more water than you would while wading and let’s face it you’re in a boat.

I will say this though. I have caught as many fish during a day while wade fishing than I have out of a drift boat. In truth I can’t say one is a better way to fish than the other, they are simply different.

Fishing is fun and a good time for families as well as friends!!

 

 

 

Best Fly Fishing Waders Reviews

Ok folks let’s take a look at our best fly fishing waders reviews.

Before we get started though let’s talk about waders. Waders can be expensive, if you really want you can spend a thousand dollars on a pair of waders, so unless you’re made of money  we don’t think that is at all necessary. Here is how we like to think about it. If you are a beginners angler, on a budget and not sure where this journey is going to take you then don’t spend a ton of money on waders that you may only use a handful of times. On the flip side, if you think this is the sport for you, then by all means, step it up a little and invest in something that will last more than a year or two. Now if you’re more than serious and have some cash then the higher end wader is a great option and won’t disappoint.

With that said, there are a few things everyone needs to know about waders. First of all, the best ones need to be lightweight and breathable. Most new waders are made of nylon or Gore-Tex, these are great lightweight materials that breathe well and are comfortable. Secondly, the construction is important for durability, the more layers the more durable the wader is going to be. Durability is important but that all depends on how much time you will be spending on the water.

 

Ok let’s get started with our best suggestions!

Hodgman H3. This is a good entry level wader that will do the trick for the beginner. This wader is made of a 3 layer construction, yes that is at the lower end as far as construction goes but for the price it may be all a beginner needs to get started in this great sport.

What This Wader Has

  • This is a 3 layer construction

    Waders Hodgeman H3
    Hodgeman H3

  • It has neoprene booties
  • Wading belt
  • pocket
  • Fleece hand warmers
  • Gravel guards
  • This wader also comes in many sizes

What This Wader Does Not Have

This wader does not have reinforced knee and lower leg guards

Overview
This is a good wader for the price and has a lot going on. Yes it is a entry level wader that will probably not last more than a few years but for the money we would certainly take our chances.

Orvis encounter. Orvis is a great company and has wonderful gear. This wader is a 4 layer nylon construction and is inexpensive for what you get. Plenty of value and extras here. Depending on how much time you spend on the water this wader could last for years.

What This Wader Has

  • A 4 layer, stylish nylon construction

    Encounter waders
    Encounter

  • Hand warmer pockets
  • Zippered chest storage pocket
  • Lower leg protection
  • Wading belt
  • Neoprene booties
  • Gravel guards
  • Sizes for all

What This Wader Does Not Have

  • Not much, it’s just not a 5 layer construction

Overview

Obviously Orvis is a great name in all of fly fishing. For the price this wader has a lot going on, it’s stylish comfortable and well built. For the beginner this is highly recommended and should last for many years.

 

Hodgman H5. Hodgman decided to do something special with this hybrid of 3 layer and 5 layer construction. They put 5 layer where it counts on the legs and seat and decided to put the 3 layer where comfort is important. This works well and helps keep the price down.

What This Wader Has

  • A hybrid of 5 layer and 3 layer construction. We like thisHodgman h5 wader
  • Water repellent outer coating
  • External pocket with water resistant zipper
  • Micro-fleece lined hand warmer
  • Internal storage pocket
  • Wade belt
  • Neoprene booties

Overview

Hodgman is making sense with this 3 layer and 5 layer construction. They have decided to take comfort and durability in mind when delivering this awesome wader.  This is highly recommended for any angler who is serious about getting into this great sport.

We hope you enjoyed our best fly fishing waders reviews. Fly fishing gear for beginners has more information about all of these waders and more on our Fishing Waders page.