Fly Fishing 101

Each week I get lots of questions….most all of them are good, usually the questions center around the simple parts of fly fishing; simple, that is, for someone who has been at it for 45 years. So, I have made a two part video series for the beginner. In the first video (Fly Fishing 101 (Part 1) – Let’s Get Started!) I cover rods, size of rods, leader and tippet materials, wet wading vs. waders, boots, lanyards and vest, float tubes and a few others items that the ‘newbie’ or beginning fly person will need to know.

This first section is off the water and thus it gives a chance to discuss getting started by what outfit size to choose; a 2 through a 12 weight…along with some reasons behind choosing a 5 or 6 weight over a smaller weight outfit. This isn’t a casting lesson…there are plenty of those out there, you can even find a few on my YouTube channel that will get you started with some practice ideas. This first video was made to help you make sense of the terminology that goes hand in hand with fly fishing … arguably, some of which can get a bit confusing.

My advice is to watch the video all the way through, then watch it again and pause it at a few of the spots where things might seem a bit complex. If you have questions from that point, then please don’t hesitate to email me at and I will do my best to answer the question(s) accurately and expediently. Then go out and start the process; sometimes the best medicine is just to dive in and see how it goes. As I said in the video…please consider getting a lesson from a person of worth. A good fly casting instructor can move you along quickly and help you better grasp the concept of fly casting…which equates to fly fishing and the landing of fish.


Part two of the series (Fly Fishing 101 (Part 2) – Let’s Go to the Lake and Catch Some Fish!) starts with a drive to the lake and some thoughts as you pass the time and get nearer to your destination. This is an enjoyable and exciting part of the trip each time I go fishing…doesn’t matter if you are just starting or been at it for 45 years…the thoughts that go through your mind and the mental prep you put into the trip will better prepare you to solve the puzzle of how to catch fish on that day; let me add…each day is a new day and very seldom does the same thing work on back to back trips!

As we get to the lake you will watch as I cast to and make some commentary on what the thinking is upon entering the water. In this case…my thinking was pretty accurate, in that I had chosen a good fly and my rod combo was also nice for both this lake and the size of the fish I was landing. I would say that…like most things, the more you do, the better chance you have to show up and get it right!

Along the way I talk to you about a very important task of stripping your line (I am fishing a streamer) and strip setting once a hit or tug has happened. In all my travels and in fishing with other fly-guys, the one area I see that causes repeated issues is the ability to quickly and efficiently strip-set your line, either hooking the intended fish or at the least, not raising your rod and moving the fly out of the ‘death-zone’ where the fish, if it misses the first time, can come back and make a second or even a third attempt, a tug, at the streamer. I can’t emphasize this skill enough and it will get better with time and by catching more fish…which is in turn a ‘catch-22’ pun intended!

In the end it was a very successful 90 minutes. Our goal was to go to the lake and catch fish…and we did. Don’t set your goal high in the beginning; enjoy your time on the water, have fun, learn and make mistakes…and as I just said, try and catch fish, any fish. You can’t start out and expect to land a mature brown trout or a 4 pound smallmouth…you might get lucky, but luck comes from preparation and that is what you are learning to do. So, again…watch the video and if you have any questions email me at the email address listed above. I will do all I can to help you move forward in your fly fishing career.

NOTE: Click here > Fly Fishing From The Ground Up … to access an additional series of videos and short articles that cover much of the equipment used in fly fishing.
Jeff in float tube with bass

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.