Fly Fishing Questions

Jeff would love to answer your questions about fly casting, float tubes, fly tying or fly fishing in general. Questions and answers will be posted on this page. Note: There are no “stupid” questions!Fly Fishing With Jeff Logo Decal

Jeff will answer all your questions and, each week, he will mail one of his Fly Fishing With Jeff decals (see below) to the person who he determines asked the ‘question of the week’. The decal looks really nice, especially on a dark background, such as a rear or side window on your vehicle.

To ask your question, please e-mail Jeff at flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers …

** Most Recent Questions are shown First… **

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Q – Mark C.  I have an abundance of 4 lb. test Trilene line and have been adding it to my 4x and 5x tapered leaders as needed (i.e leader shortens as the need arises for changing flies). I have had some success using the Trilene 4 lb. test and I do have some 4x tippet to add to my 4x tapered leader but I am trying to not waist money and not go to it unless it is really necessary. What are your thoughts about this considering the thickness of the two lines are so close?

A – 2 things are important; first, what fish species are you fishing for? Second, are you fishing using streamers? Trout are much, much more leader shy than almost all others…in fact, if you’re fishing for bass, then there is no issue at all. However, with trout, depending on how clear the water is…you may need to go smaller to 5 or even 6X tippet. Second…if fishing using streamers, the tippet isn’t as important because the fish will be trailing, following, the fly and thus, the width of the fly will hide the tippet. However, if dry flying or nymphing for trout…it could be an issue. Here’s my simple test…am I catching fish? If not, the first thing I do (especially with trout) is go to a smaller tippet, even if I’m streamer fishing…which I always am!

Q – Jay E.  I’m getting ready to retire and fly fishing is one of the activities I hope to do a lot more of. I recently purchased a fly rod at Cabela’s. Its the TLR Model, 9ft 6 wt and was on sale for $85. After watching some of your video’s, I’m wondering if I should have gone with a 5 wt. The rod action is moderate fast and right now I have 7wt line loaded as I seem to cast that better than the 6wt. I plan to change back to the 6wt once I get more familiar with the fast action. Anyway, thanks for your website, I’m enjoying learning from you. I appreciate any advice you care to share on rod wt. I still have some time and could exchange my 6wt for a 5wt if that would be best.

A – I’d stay with the 6 weight as the difference between the two is minimal and the 6 will give you more diversity down the line if you choose to fish for a bigger specie. Also I like the idea of a 7 weight line on a 6 weight rod as this extra weight will help in loading of the line. The TLr rod is a good rod and will suffice until you choose to move up and begin fishing more. I usually go from my 3 to 6 to 8 weight rod…all depending on size of fish and the distance I need to cast…casting a large, heavy fly on a 3 weight can be trouble for most folks. So, I’d say you have a nice set up and frankly you may at some point want or wish for another rod and then maybe a nicer rod will be better appreciated.

Q – John B.  Have you tried any fiberglass rods? Does the slow full flex action help in learning how to cast before getting some of the higher end graphite rods that seem to mostly be a fast action?

A – This is a great question, but my answer will probably upset a few people, especially those traditionalists who love fiberglass or even going way back to bamboo. Does the full flex of fiberglass help in learning to cast? … maybe, probably … but for me, not at all! I like a stiff fly rod and in turn love the feel and action of the modern rods. I’m old enough to have started with a fiberglass rod way back in my teens…I still occasionally grab one of the few ‘antiques’ sitting around my house and give it a casts, honestly it feels awful to me. I want to feel the action of the rod and most important, feel the loading of the fly line. For me, personally, I like a stiff, mid-flex rod that loads quickly. I love to feel the line load and then be able to wait, be patient and then make my second haul and shoot that line where I need the fly to land. Ok…so, that being said, if you’re learning to cast, maybe a fiberglass rod isn’t the worst idea…but only, crucial point here, you are patient and wait, wait, wait, wait…for the line to load. That feeling is in my opinion, the critical element of a good cast! I hope I’ve answered or helped and if not, please ask for clarification.

Q – Mark M.  I’m going to be visiting Indiana (from Utah) in the Lafayette area for work in a couple weeks and have decided to bring my fly rod and spend a day fishing Sugar Creek. Where on the creek would be a good area for wading and have good access? I was thinking of hitting below Crawfordsville at the DNR access site but after watching your videos I wonder if above Crawford would be better. Any suggestions? Also what are some fly patterns I should tie up to bring?

A – (August 1, 2017) Let me start with the most critical factor…water levels. This creek/river rises very quickly and because of that become un-fish able just as quickly. If you were here today it would be perfect and my hope is that the weather holds out for you…but you’ll need to check back with me right before you come. The water even dictates what flies will work…I’m a streamer guy and my go to pattern is a silver/grey baitfish pattern. You can find a couple of how to tie videos on my site…but a slender profile with some flash is always good. A crayfish is also a good option, olive or browns…and you’ll be here at the right time for poppers. I like a black boogle popper in size 6 but I’m sure others will work. My advice would be to email me again a few days prior to leaving and I can even give you my phone number at that time…when this creek is good, wow! When it’s up or even too low….very tough?

Q – Brent P.  I’ve watched a lot of your videos and a couple of friends and I are trying to work up a last minute trip this week to fish Sugar Creek. We live in Alabama so I’m trying to round up a little info if I can. I’ve read where the water has been high- but I don’t know enough about the area to know how high is “too high.” We also wondered about bringing our kayaks or if we should just wade and make the trip a little easier without having to get the kayaks up there.

A – (July 9, 2017) The reading at the gauge for Sugar Creek is currently 1130 cfs. That is way too high to fish…in fact I’d say it needs to be down to 300 or lower to have any chance of success. How quickly it falls is up to how much more rain we get…but usually it takes a while, my guess is it would take a week to fall completely down…but you can view the gauge for yourself….a photo is attached. As for kayaks and wading…if it were 200 cfs or so….you could wade and cover most of the water…there are sections that are wadable and sections that are a bit too deep…but you can walk/portage around easily and then move on.

Q – Hank H.  I live in St. Louis and frequent the Missouri parks quite often. I came across your video and site when trying to gain more info on using sinking line at places like Bennet. I used to fish solely sinking lines at Bennet while stripping cracklebacks and griffiths knats but that was about ten years ago and I haven’t done that since then. I’m wanting to get back into that style of fishing and saw your videos where you seem to strip wooly burgers or a version of a wooly burger.

1. Are you using full sink or just sink tip? If so what type? Right now I have a rig with 3 sink and would like to not have to buy another setup to fish your style.
2. What size and where can I buy some woolies as I am not yet comfortable tying them without trying it first?

Any other advice is appreciated. I really want to transition to your style of fishing. Right now I predominately dead drift fish with floating line and although I can’t a lot of fish it is somewhat boring and doesn’t translate well to other streams.

A – Great questions, one I get a lot and one I get often while fishing at Bennet…”What or how are you fishing”. Very few understand the concept. Of streamer fishing with sinking line…evidenced by the number of guys that step in on me directly downstream and end my swing? I almost primarily fish sink tip…I love the Rio type one sink tip, which means it sinks at 1-2 inches per second…however your type 3 would work fine…you’d need to start your retrieve sooner to keep the fly a bit higher in the water column. I’ll say this…there are days I wish I had a type 3 as I need my fly a bit deep…I counter this by casting more upstream, mend a bit and let my fly sink as it drifts downstream.

As for woollies…they are probably the simplest tie with the best reward. You can check out any number of videos on YouTube…however I like a wooly with a longer tail than most. Remember that originally a wooly was tied to duplicate a leech in the system. I like black, olive, brown, white and maybe my favorite is creme. I tie what I call a trout candy, you can find it on my site or channel…it is a very simple wooly in creme and frankly the trout love it! As for size, 6-8 is usually my go to size…and occasionally a 4. I could go on…but start here and then perfect your own style…all I know is that I feel like I catch more trout than most and love the tug I get by stripping streamers.

Q – Brice B.  I appreciated your video about your trip to Bennett. I am going to be taking my first trip in a few weeks. With no experience there, can you please give me any tips or pointers when it comes to fishing there? I will be fishing in the fly fishing zone only. I only have fly fishing experience in smaller waters in Colorado that look much more shallow than what your video showed.
A – Here are some simple ideas; fish early or late…for a few reasons, beat the crowd out and stay late til the bell…to reduce the conflict with many others-the crowd. Most important is the idea behind less light early/late…trout are photo phobic, no eye lids and thus the less light the better. Frankly, the days that are overcast or raining are always best…even wind creates chop and will allow the fish to move up in the water column. I’m a streamer guy, period. So, in all my videos I’m swinging a streamer on the end of sink tip or weighted line…I prefer the Rio sink tip type one line. As for flies…hard to tell you years of experience, but try these. My own trout candy is often the best fly as all trout are curious and will chase. Next, olive or black wooly buggers….leeches or sculpin is what they look like. Lastly, a bitch creek nymph, also a tie on my website is a must…especially during mid day when it tends to slow down…that is why it’s necessary to have a weighted line to get the BC down in the column. If you’re out and a hatch pops off…don’t run and tie on a dry (unless that’s your thing)…instead think about a crackle back under a type one line…the trout will readily eat as they think it’s an emerging bug! Hope this helps…if you’re really frustrated, find Jim Rogers, who’s usually in the fly shop or in his casting school…he knows the stream and can give advice.

Q – Ken H.  I live in Plato Missouri and have been fly fishing seriously for around 4 years now. I have had moderate success with nymph and dry flies. I have been fishing the current river and north fork mostly. I would like to add streamers to my ‘things to try’ after watching some of your videos of Tan Vat and the river below Bennett springs. What streamers do you recommend, and what’s the best way to fish them?
A – I love Missouri…has to be one of our best fly fishing states…in fact the North Fork of the White River is a destination spot. The Current is a special river…a couple of years ago I encountered a brown moving upstream right at Tan Vat that was easily 30 inches, unfortunately he wouldn’t eat! As for flies it really depends on your quarry, meaning rainbow or brown? I like smaller streamers like my own trout candy in creme, a smaller black or olive wooly (size 8 or 10) or even a bitch creek nymph. If looking for browns, go early or late as no self respecting brown will be out during the daylight; I like a bigger selection like a dark olive wooly in size 2-6 or even a sculpin pattern (fish it under a weighted line to get it down). One more…don’t under estimate a mouse pattern, especially if fishing into darkness…simply casts across and down and let the mouse trundle across the stream-then hold on!

Q – Brian P.  I appreciate your videos more than ever right now. I had knee surgery and cannot fish, so the videos help! I do have a question for you, I am trying to decide which line to put on the Bankrobber 6wt.. I appreciate any advice you might have.
A – I love the bankrobber….I actually carry with me a pack of 4 spools of line. The number one line is a Rio sink tip type one line and use it 75% of the time. I also carry a floating line so that I can quickly switch out and go to a floating line in shallow, clear situations or if I want to throw a popper. I also have a type 3 full sink line and find that I like this line in lakes and in fast moving water….I like this line when I want to get a fly down and keep it down….maybe a crayfish or leech pattern. Lastly, I have a sink tip type 6 line (the line sinks approx. 6 inches per second); I use this line in fast moving water, in lakes where I want to get a baitfish pattern down deep or mostly in the summer when I want to strip a baitfish pattern through a deep smallie hole in search of some big fish. One reel and 4 spools can be carried efficiently in a back pack and changed out in under a minute if need be… Hope this helps and hope you are back up fishing soon.

Q – George W.  I have just moved to Minnesota and I am only beginning to fish here and do not know the area. How do you decide which rod weight to use? I have a 3wt, 5wt and a 6wt. Forgive me I am a hacker at fly fishing, but I am addicted to it and do not own any other fishing equipment. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. Was fishing a small pond here with 3wt and dog fish broke my rod. Luckily Cabelas replaced it at no charge. Love their life time warranty.
A – Choosing the right rod has lots to do with your quarry; what fish are you after. I wouldn’t go out after a musky using a 3 weight rod. First off I couldn’t casts a fly the size of a wet sock with a 3 weight and further more if I landed a big musky…I wouldn’t be able to get the fish in. So, with this in mind…a 10 weight rod would be the correct rod for musky, for a few reasons. Second, as you get better you may choose to go on the light side with a rod; for example maybe you are trout fishing and usually use a 6 weight…if you are fishing a stream that can be covered (casted across) easily with a smaller rod, let’s say a 4 weight…then choosing the 4 might be a fun choice as you can really get some play from a smaller outfit.

I fish a lot of weighted line and have found that trying to use a lighter rod with weighted line is and can be a problem as casting can be quite ‘clunky’. For example if I am fishing a wide stream for smallmouth and know I am going to use a sink tip line…I usually go with my 6 weight system as it is easier to casts and I am hopeful that I will catch a large smallmouth and want the power to ‘horse’ or get the fish out of logs and others places that they can hang me up.

Lastly, I often fish my 2 weight rod while fly fishing from my float tube…I love to fish for bluegill with a 2 weight rod as the fight can be quite phenomenal….bottom line is that I try to match the size of rod/outfit to the fish that I am after. I wouldn’t enjoy landing bluegill on a 10 weight system and frankly it wouldn’t be ethical to land a musky on a 3 weight due to the fact that you would completely exhaust the fish (if you were lucky enough to actually land it).

Q – Mike G. – Here’s another technical question. How are you getting such good audio and still able to put your GoPro under water? When I put my water-proof back on my GoPro, I get very quiet and muffled audio.
A – I am using my GoPro Session … not my old GoPro. The Session has 2 microphones and that is how I am getting such good audio…. it is very much worth the price of $200.

Q – Greg H. – Jeff……sorry if this question has been asked before, but type/brand of float tube and float equipment do you use?
A – I do get this question occasionally but don’t mind answering… The Creek Company is located in Colorado and I have been using their float tubes and float boats for a number of years, in fact have never owned anything else. I have found that the tubes and boats allow me to do some pretty cool things while fly fishing. The blue boat in this video named the Voyager is truly different and allows me to get to and fish spots that kayaks and canoes just can’t.

Q – Jarrod L. in Indiana Do you have marks on your rod to measure fish or what? You seem to hold the fish next to your rod, but I don’t see a ruler or anything.
A – Great question…I use what some folks call ‘hero-marks’ on my rods. I use pink finger nail polish and place dots at 12,15,20 and even 25 inches so that I can quickly check the length of a fish without causing it any stress…then get it back into the water so that someone else can catch the same trophy. Simple system that gives you a quick reference to the fishes length.