A Basic Guide for a Fly fishing Beginner Set-up
Stillwater Set Up
* Leader Materials
* Other Accessories
It isnt too difficult to select a rod however there are alot of rods on the market ranging from £30-£1000. For your first rod you can pick up a very good rod for around the £100 mark which will most likely have a lifetime guarantee.
The most important part about choosing your rod is to consider what type of fishing you are wanting to do?, for this section we are going to choose a outfit based on a angler fishing stillwaters. whether it being large reservoirs or small stillwaters this outfit should cover all ranges.
Most importantly in choosing your rod is Length, Weight and Action. Normally a stillwater set up can range from 9ft 6" to 10ft 6" with line weights from 5-8.
A good alround length and weight rod would be a 10ft 7# rod. The Number 7 Refers to the line weight which should be used on the rod to reach optimal performance when casting.
Good manufacturers of rods today include;
Although some rods will be out of alot of peoples price range most companies also do cheaper rods. One of my favourite rods is the Sharpes Gordon and Greys Platinum xd. Both are very powerful and seem to be able to handle all situations, whether your lure, dry fly or nymph fishing.
The action of a rod is more ambiguous than the rod length or weight. The 3 usual types are Fast, Medium and Slow. The action of a rod is described as the area where the rod will load when casting.
Slow action rods will tend to bend/load at the lower third of the rod. Although these rods are very forgiving for beginners they tend to struggle to cast longer distances. Most people will describe these rods as floppy,whippy or soft.
Medium Action rods will tend to bend toward the middle of the rod.
Fast action rods load in the last third of the rod and are generally very powerful hence giving you a longer cast. A draw back for this type of rod can be that the loops when casting are very tight which might trouble a beginner when casting as flies can become easily tangled.
A good place to start as a beginner would be a rod described a Middle or Middle/Tip. The middle tip rod will suit anyone from beginner to advanced.
The main purpose of your reel essentially is to hold your line. Simple right? But your reel is a integral and important part of your set-up. Your reel can act as a drag when playing a fish and also aids the retrieve of your line.
Good quality reels are well priced, with good quality ones ranging from £60 to over £400. Most are made from alloy and are strong and light.
Why the price differnce - with anything you buy nowadays it depends on how its made, drag types and material types. More expensive reels can be made from Titanium and machined from a single block, while cheaper reels are normally made from aluminium and pressed.
Drag on a reel is very important, i would suggest one which has a teflon or cork drag system. The drag system will help you put constant pressure on a fish if you have to reel the fish in. By simply turning the drag knob clock wise or counter-clockwise it will increase or decrease the amount of pressure applied to the fish. Too much pressure however will result in snapping your leader and too little will result in slack line and the fish coming loose.
Reels come in differnet arbours and you should get one to match your reel. we have opted for a 7weight rod so it makes sense that we should get a large arbour 7/8 reel to match the the rod.
A good choice for your first reel would be;
As important as your rod and your reel is getting the correct line for your rod and reel. The are many different types of lines available on the market today including;
* Midge Tip
Floating lines are what they say on the tin, They sit on top of the water and keep our flies closer to the surface of the water.
Sinking lines come in many different sink rates. ranging from 1.5 inches per secong down to 7 inces per second. Most anglers will have the full range from 1.5ips, 3ips, 5ips, and 7ips so they can cover all the depths as quickly as possible.
Midge Tip lines are floating lines with normally a clear sinking section added to the the tip. The clear tip section can range from 1ft up to 8ft and also vary in sink rates from 1ips to 3ips. These lines are very good for fishing your flies slightly deeper.
Sweep lines are relatively new to the scene and have a belly that sinks faster than the tip section so your flies are pulled in a arc toward the lake bed covering all the different depths to catch fish.
A good starter set up for a beginner would be a Weight Forward 7 floating line, a Clear Intermediate line and a 5ips Sinking line. These 3 lines will cover you for most of your fishing needs.
My line of choice is the Airflo Sixth Sense lines as they have very little strecth meaning that you feel very pull and knock on your line, essentially improving your catch rate/hook-up rate.
Net choice can be very important in catching fish. I have seen numerous anglers loose fish due to the fact that their net is too short. A simple suggestion for a good quality net which will last you and can be fished on large, small and boat waters is the Wychwood Bankman Net.
With its long handle and Round Net you can net fish at distance and with ease so as not to loose that fish of a lifetime.
Coming in at around £40-50 they are not the cheapeast Net on the market and if your budget doesnt cover a net like this there are many cheaper telescopic landing nets on the market to suit your needs.
Most popular leaders are made from flourocarbon and come in many different strengths depending on the fishing a person is doing. For stillwater fishing i tend to stick between 6lb-10lb breaking strains.
I tend to fish 6lb breaking strain when fishing buzzers, nymphs and dry flies. I step up to 8lb or 10lb when fishing lures or larger nymphs.
Leader material can vary from 8lb up to over 20lb per spool and with many different brands including;
* Airflo Sightfree
* Red X
For a Beginner i would highly recommend Airflo Sightfree as this normally comes with a Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer. So you get 2 x 100m Spools for around £15.
There are many tools on the market and the main ones you will need as a beginner are;
* Priest - This is a item for you to dispatch any fish you require.
* Line Clippers - These are essential to clip your leader after tying flies on.
* Forceps - These are used to remove flies from the fish's mouth if it is hooked slightly deeper.
Pliers - Pliers are used for you to Crush the barbs on your fly Hooks as most fisheries are barbless flies only.
Waders as such are not a essential part of your beginner fly fishing set-up, but they can be a important part of keeping you warm and dry as well as some fisheries you do need to wade.
Chest waders are the most common type used by fly fishermen in the UK, which the majority opting for breathable waders. Breathable waders are normally made from a breathable material called Gore-Tex. Goretex is highly waterproof and breathable and inturn helps moisture be kept away from your body.
Other options for waders are neoprene waders. Neoprene waders are very warm in the winter but very hot in the summer mon ths as they do not breath like Goretex waders. Usually this type of wader is very durable and cheaper than breathable waders.
Waders can range from £40 up to £500.
For your first pair of waders i would recommend Sonik SK3 Breathable waders.
When going out for a days fishing it is nice to have most of your items at a grab. This is where a Fly Fishing Vest comes in to its own. They normally have many different pockets so that you can keep all of your items such as, Flies, Floatant, Leader, Food, indicators, ETC ETC.
There are many different types of vest whcih range from as little as £10 up to close to £200.
I would recomend a Airflo vest which has everything you need in a vest and is Mid Ranged when it comes to cost around £45
Other Accessories you will need
* Floatant - this is used to put onto your dry flies to help them float.
* Indicators - Indicator fishing has become very popular over the last number of years and is a way to keep your flies suspended at a certain depth.
* Disgorger - This is another way to help remove hooks from a fish's mouth.
* Marrow Spoon - If you catcg and kill a fish you can use this tool to see what a fish has been eating and therefore helping you change your set-up accordingly.
* Silicon Mucillin - This Putty helps keep your floating if your tip starts to sink.
* Sunglasses - A good set of polarised glasses will protect your eyes from flies and also help you see fish and protect them from the sun.
* Hat - A Cap is a good way to keep your head warm and covered up in sunny weather to stop sun burn and sun stroke.
* Hoo Rag - A great piece of material which you can wear in many different ways to help you cover up from the sun.