Best Kept Secrets of Fly Fishing Pros (TOP 28 Tips for Beginners)

I want to share some of the best kept secrets of fly fishing Pros. Improve your fly fishing and take it to the next level with these 28 useful tips.

Best Kept Secrets of Fly Fishing Pros

Make Sure to Try Moving Upstream During Fishing

In cases where trout is the main target, it is advisable that fishermen take care not to spook fish. They should move along the river upstream rather than downstream.

This is because trout swim upstream against the direction that water may be flowing towards. Therefore, as one moves upstream, the trout that is upstream is incapable of seeing them.

This is because the fishermen are in the blind spot of the trout. Trout on the downstream will, however, see the fisher and split up for cover. In addition, if it is necessary for one to move downstream, the best way to do so is to get off the water.

Then try and cover the distance on land to avoid spooking fish along the way.

fly fishing angler makes cast while standing in water

Regularly Use The Roll Cast

If a fisherman keeps on casting constantly, it may scare fish especially the trout. This is because they can see the line tearing through the water in the process of lifting it for another cast.

Therefore, rather than doing this wrong, The fly fishers attempt changing the criteria by using the roll cast quite often. This means that they allow their lines to drift all the way behind them until they pull tight enough.

Then they should lift the rod upwards as well as forward to the spot in which they are to fish. The fly rod tends to load and it is now safe to throw the line where they point it.

Keep a watch on the fly for drag. Usually, a drag happens when the fly is pulled through the water by the fly line. When a drag occurs, fish may happen to notice it and evade being caught by swimming away.

It is better to allow a natural drift of the fly as it floats without being disturbed along with the water current top as fish won’t notice this.

Occasionally, a drag is considered most troublesome when the casting is done at slower sections of the river. This is where the water tends to be flowing at a slower pace. The faster moving sections are the ones that are supposed to be pulling the line to create a drag.

Practice Mending of The Fly Line

Fly fishermen know that mending usually aid in the prevention of a drag. They recommend that one creates a slack line on the upstream to prevent pulling to occur on the fly.

Mending should be done when the line is right in front of you. But after the cast just like it can happen as one gets to flip a loop in a particular rope.

However, the loop should not run the whole line length in order for it to manage to move the fly effectively. Therefore, that only enough looping should be done to throw slacklines in the upstream director of the fly.

Hire a Guide

Hiring a guide tends to be quite costly but on the other hand, one gets to acquire wisdom. This is because most guides share their expertise with aspiring pros at fly fishing.

However, getting a guide to get one through the entire process is optional. This is because time as well as finances are the limiting or rather determining factors.

If at a position where finances allow the accommodation of a guide, then a fly fisher will learn specifics about certain fish species such as trout in the river in which the fishing is being carried out.

Generally, so many facts get to be shared as well as discussed exhaustively leaving a fly fisher well equipped with skills.

man fly fishing in saltwater

Fishing a Nymph Using an Indicator

This criterion is most applicable when it comes to fishing for trout. They usually feed on these larvae throughout their hatching days. A nymph is a fly pattern that is fished submerged or underwater. It is tied so that it looks like mayfly larvae inside the river in which fishing is to take place.

On the other hand, an indicator should be of a buoyant material or piece of yarn that is bright. The nymph lure ought to be attached to the fly fisher’s line.

It is advisable that the fisher keeps on observing the indicator as it floats on too in the process of fishing a nymph underwater. What happens is that, once some fish or rather a trout takes the fisher’s nymph, the indicator dives under instantly resulting to trapping of the fish.

Teaching Beginners How to Fly Fish

It is very effective to teach beginners on ways in which they can learn as well as perfect their fishing skills. Fishing pros usually reinforce their skills in the process of delivering the skills to someone else.

This is mainly because learners are very likely to do the wrong things that the teacher could also be doing. By observing these commissions or rather mistakes, the teacher then gets to know where to make adjustments in their fishing procedures.

Eventually, they transform to well-skilled fly fishers that are of almost absolutely perfect ways of fishing.

Enjoy and Relax in The Fishing Process

Occasionally, fishing is considered a serious business while it should be just a fun activity. I consider it fun because the aim of fishing is usually to get away from normality and rather get to enjoy the awesome gifts of Mother Nature.

Since we all know that human is to error; anyone is capable of committing mistakes when it comes to fishing irrespective of whether they are experts or not.

Instead of getting gloomy after making some mistakes, fly fisher pros often laugh it off. But they will try not to repeatedly do them again. Other people that are intending to become better fly fishers should also ensure that they enjoy themselves. This is also true whether they managed to catch any fish or not.

fly fisherman fishing in sea

Read The River

It is important that you get to learn or rather adopt a way of reading various sections of a river. This way you stand a better chance of catching a lot of fish such as trout.

Sections of a river are riffles runs, some pools, eddies, as well as tail outs are known to be patterns of a river.

These patterns ought to be studied as some of them could be holding a lot of fish. This could result in a bountiful catch for fly fishers.

Be Sure to Inspect The Life of Insects

Prior to setting up a rig, most seasoned fly fishers to check for insects that are hatching around the river. Most anglers are known to appear swatting in the air in the process of checking up for insects.

Usually, they do this so that they can match up their flies to the exact color as well as the size of actual insects in the area surrounding the river. This prior inspection will help confuse the fish and may even increase chances of catching more fish.

Begin a Collection of Flies

Usually, it is not necessary that one gets hundreds of flies to be used for fishing. Instead, many alternate colors, size, and patterns are essential for the process.

As a matter of fact, fly hooks become smaller as their number increases. It is advisable that fly fishers range their size of flies between twelve and twenty-four for awesome results.

Use Short Casts First

Mostly, beginners find casting as well as fly presentation a difficult task for them. In fact, anglers prefer catching the trout species to struggling with their cast for a long time. The first step is to find a small pond or river with shallow water to fish in them.

After you get to one of these places then, pull out around 8 to 10 feet of the line. Now allow it to drift in the stream behind you. Now you can proceed on to lifting your line upwards with the aid of the rod.

When it is directly above your head make sure that it lands right in front of you. Repeatedly carry out this exercise ensuring that the line lies precisely as well as softly in the pool each time. This helps one to grow into a fly fishing pro.

fly fisherman fishing in river

Practice Casting Flies in a Bass Pond

To begin with, sloppy casting makes little difference when it comes to fly fishing for bass. When a fly creates a splash in the water all the trout around tend to swim away in different directions.

But on the other hand, bass tend to hone in on the action as well as the sound. They, therefore, act as though they are availing themselves to be caught. So, one may end up enjoying their time fly fishing for bass and get to practice casting in these ponds.

Utilize The Countdown Method

This technique helps one to determine the level of depth at which fish are holding. The method needs to be utilized as the fish will keep on changing their depth.

This is also with respect to light levels, level of wind, the temperature of the water as well as insect hatches. After casting your fly, strip in some line in to straighten it and make that any bites are felt.

Continue to count down for five, ten, or even twenty-five seconds so the flies go down through the depths. Ensure that a longer countdown is used for each individual cast prior to proceeding on.

By beginning to retrieve so as to assist you to find out the depth where the fish are holding. Always start near the surface of the water and work downwards. In between the countdowns, one may be lucky enough to get the attention of the fish.

Watch The Fly Line at The Tip

It is essential that fly fishers make a habit of keeping the rod tip down after the cast. You should do this in the process of casting so that it is right above the surface of the water.

Otherwise, retrieving with the tip of the rod up in the air would create a slack line below the surface. If the fish takes the fly gently it might fail to be noticed as it moves the slack line that is dangling below the water surface.

To avoid this, fly fishers ought to keenly observe the line dangling just below the tip as the rod tip is pointed down through the entire retrieve.

Once a fish gently takes the fly, the line will be seen moving outwards irrespective of whether the bite was felt or not.

fly fisherman wearing wading boots and jacket fishing trouts in river

Utilize The Fan Casting Technique

Often, the majority of fishers have a common behavior of casting right in front of them. They start this at every point they happen to fish from.

However, this should not be the case because the flies appear to be covering a narrow strip of water. So, it’s best that fishers try to hover around that region by ensuring they get to the sides as well.

This is done by assuming a pattern of a fan drawn on the water and proceed on to placing casts. By starting from the furthest left going towards the furthest right.

After the left to the right distance across the fan is covered. Then the area that had been covered before should now be tackled beginning from the same point as the start. But this time around use a different fly or drop down to a different depth.

This would increase the chance of catching more fish as opposed to standing still at one spot.

Fish Deeper Once The Sun Comes Out

Once the sun shines bright, light upon the earth increases. M0st of the animals have eyes that are very capable of controlling the light level traveling to the eyes.

Some animals have eyelids that are able to squint. While the others have pupils that can constrict to block out excess light. In some fish such as the trout, these awesome features are absent.

They are forced to move below the water surface to protect their eyesight. This is because their eyes work better for lower levels of light. They tend to seek the deeper waters as less light is able to penetrate there.

On the other hand, trout tend to avoid getting into shallow water places as this would mean that they are at a great risk of being seen by predators. They tend to cruise the margins only during the morning as well as night hours and not during the day.

If you arrive ahead of the other fishers, fish margins first because chances of catching large fish are high. To avoid the fish missing your flies, it’s best to fish deeper waters when the sun is shining bright.

Fish More Than One Fly

Since no one can tell you which fly that will end up catching fish. Some fly fishermen have a habit to use several different flies. This is because many flies would mean that there is an increase in the catch rate. Therefore, adapting these criteria would mean that one could catch quite an increased number of fish.

If lucky enough perhaps you can catch one or two on the droppers and one on the point. Though for it to work much creativity has to take place in order to lure the fish into the traps. It could be worth the struggle.

Flies that are selected should consist of natural looking colors and patterns. Patterns such as buzzers, nymphs, on the droppers and bright attractor patterns such as blob, and some drab.

The fish may get drawn by the brightness of the attractor but end up going for one of the natural looking items.

fisherman wearing waders and sunglasses fly fishing in river

Use a Sinking Line in Order to Fish Deeper as Well as Faster

While fishing a faster sinking fly line, that particular fly gets to the correct depth faster. It also allows one to keep it in the zone for a longer period.

On the other hand, one ought to utilize a quicker retrieve so as to observe whether it induces a take. Also, fishing a line that sinks quicker changes the angle it goes back up to the water surface.

This is considered very effective in luring a trout into following the fly and smashes it at the end of the cast.

Make a Habit of Checking Your Leader for Knots

Wind knots refer to things that are formed after the creation of tailing loops while casting. They are usually observed as little overhand knots appearing along leaders of fishermen. Despite the fact that they look so insignificant, they do tend to reduce the strength of the line.

Therefore, fly fishermen are highly advised to check on the leaders for wind knots so as to switch to another line. Failure to change lines may result in a fly fisher losing any fish they happen to hook.

Losing the fish may happen when the fish smashes the flies very hard or if they are of a size that is above average. To avoid this, fly fishers need to work on casting to reduce the formation of wind knots.

By using proper casting techniques it usually minimizes the likelihood of wind knots and their formation.

Attempt Fishing Static if The Fish Fails to Take The Moving Flies

During times when there tends to be extremely cold or extremely warm water. The fish may fail to be persuaded to take a fly that is in motion.

This may be so frustrating that it may even result in fly fishermen giving up on catching any more fish. Which this should not be the case. It is therefore advisable that a different approach is adopted by trying to fish when the flies are completely static.

Then you should observe whether it would attract the attention of fish or not. Also, one may cut off the old fly and tie a new one on. Later on, try to attach a strike indicator a few feet above the line and proceed on casting it out. The outcome may be overwhelming high chances of a bountiful catch are present. Fishing static means you get a relaxing break as this position allows one to sit and rest the arm.

Fish The Hang

Fly fishers that have been in this for some time and especially those that have fished in clear water. You may have seen trout follow the fly all the way to the bank without ever taking it. Those have fished in murkier still waters may have missed this.

Frustrating, right? A solution to this is going to the end of your retrieve and count up to ten. Then pause your strip and allow your fly to drop down towards the bottom.

When a fish happens to be following, it will try to smash the flies as it swims to escape. So, hanging flies at the end of a cast will usually get a bite.

fly fisherman fishing in river in winter

Observe and Talk to Other Fly Fishers

It is important to observe how other fly fishers do their thing as you may end up learning something. You see they might have been doing something different or omitting something.

Also, if you happen to not be in a position of figuring out what lies beyond try asking someone. If you see the success of a fly fisherman, go ahead and ask them for tips.

There are many experienced fly fishermen that would be pleased to share their advice as well as knowledge. Try starting a quick chat as it can and would save you from your blank state. Interesting, right?

Be Stealthy

You could have observed fishers that carelessly stomp heavy footed along the bank. Others can be notorious for dropping heavy bag as well as dropping boxes on the bank with a thud.

These are not right as fish nearby could be spooked as a result of the sudden loud noise. The end result would be less fish or no fish at all. It is important to tread gently as well as quietly along the bank. Also, stay back away from the waterbed so as to avoid making the fish suspicious.

Avoid Leaving Your Dries in The Same Spot for Long Period

Don’t leave your dry flies longer than ten seconds in the same spot. Some fly fishers have a habit of fishing dry flies in a commonplace in still waters for way too long. It should not be the case as this would mean that much time would be wasted in the process of waiting for a catch.

They need to use a technique that entails casting out flies and counting up to ten. After the count, they should re-cast to a different position if no fish was caught earlier on.

Allow Space in Between Flies

In situations where a fly fisher opts to use several flies on a common leader while fishing. It is important that plenty of room is allowed in between the flies.

The general rule of thumb states that space should be five feet in size. I think it is what you prefer. For instance, the top dropper ought to be tied five feet from the end of the fly line, the second one should also be five feet below that, and the point fly should be five feet beyond that.

The result will be a leader fifteen feet in length with three flies that are spaced properly. It is said that if the flies are closer than that will reduce the catch rate.

On the other hand, if you are using brightly colored flies, a ten feet length ought to be allowed. This is because the fish may get spooked by two or more bright flies placed that close to each other.

fisherman wearing waist pack and fly fishing in river

Scale Your Fly Size Down

Fly fishers ought to scale down their fly sizes if the fish keep on ignoring their flies. Usually, the common size that majority of fly fishers use range from eight to size twelve.

If one of those fails to catch fish, then the flies should be scaled down to size 14, 16 or 18 dry or nymph for better results.

Trying Out a Range of Fly Colors

In the recent past, people have come up with various theories explaining various colors suitable for various periods. Some suggest that dark flies are best for dark days while bright flies are suitable for bright days. However, this could be ineffective because fish never read theories.

The best way to determine which colors suit different seasons is to use trial and error.

Start with some dark flies for murky still waters as it creates a silhouette that easily visible for the fish. In case it fails, it is with trying a light fly; could be white or beige.

If the dark and light colored flies, then trying out with bright colored is the only option left. One may use an orange Bob, cat’s whisker or the yellow dancer. To determine the fly that works best, start with a bright fly on the point and drab patterns on the droppers.

Keep in Mind That Still Waters are in Motion

Despite the fact that still waters are termed as still, they are usually in motion beneath the surface. It is the wind that causes the constant movement of water and one can evidently observe ripples on the surface.

The food in the water is also moved by the water movement while fish follow along in order to catch it. Fish position themselves so that their noses point upstream to catch any food that drifts past them with no strain.

In still waters, trout may position themselves into the wind so that they may catch food. Besides, obstacles such as islands may affect water movement as well. Therefore fly fishermen should observe the direction of water flow to locate a feeding fish or rather a trout.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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