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The Basics of Fly Fishing

Chapter One: The Basics of Fly Fishing

You might have heard that fly fishing is just for trout but nothing could be further from the truth. You can catch sunfish on a farm pond with fly tackle. You can catch bass and pike. You can even use a fly rod in salt water for fish like striped bass, bonefish, and even huge gamefish like tuna and marlin. It just takes a little adjustment to your tackle.

You might have also heard that fly fishing is expensive and complicated. Let's see just how simple it can be. In this chapter you'll learn how fly and spin fishing differ, how to make the basic overhead cast and a roll cast, a little about the history of fly fishing. You'll learn the two basic knots you will use every time you go fly fishing. You'll also learn about the bare essentials you need to get started in this fun and addictive sport.

Chapter Two: Fishing For Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass

We believe that it's best to start out on a pond with bass or panfish instead of on moving water. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass is a wonderful way to spend a quiet afternoon and most people have them close to home so it's a way to get out and try your newfound skills right away.

Bass take flies eagerly but timing is important to make sure you fish the right places throughout the season. We'll explore their life cycles, how to select flies for largemouth and smallmouth bass, the right tackle to cast bass flies, and how to retrieve the fly with both floating and sinking flies. You'll also learn how to cast big bass flies into the wind from our casting expert Big Pete.

Chapter Three: Pike & Muskie Fly Fishing

Pike and muskies are the sharks of freshwater and are some of the biggest and most exciting fish to chase with a fly rod. Many times they are difficult to catch on a fly rod, so learn when and where to try for them with big rods and giant flies.

In this chapter you will also learn how to attach wire to your leader to avoid getting cut off, and will also learn some tips on casting the large flies required for these voracious predators.

Chapter Four: The Basics of Stream Fishing

Moving water adds variety to your fishing and there is nothing more soothing than wading a trout stream. In this chapter you'll learn how to deal with the complexities of currents and how to present your fly so that it looks natural. You'll learn special casts for making your fly look natural. Then we'll show you how to fish a streamer, perhaps the easiest way to begin fishing in moving water.

You will also learn how to wade safely and how to play a fish in moving water.

Chapter Five: Wet Fly & Nymph Fishing

Trout do most of their feeding underwater, and day in and day out you'll catch more trout on wet flies and nymphs. In this chapter you will learn the best way to fish nymphs, both with an without a strike indicator, how to rig indicators and weight, and how to fish two nymphs at once.

You will learn how to swing a wet fly, how to use a Reach Cast to get a better drift, and how to set the hook when nymph fishing. We'll help you unravel the mysteries of subsurface fishing.

Chapter Six: Dry Fly Fishing

Some feel that catching trout on a dry fly is the epitome of fly fishing, and we can't argue that it's about as much fun as you can have on a trout stream because everything is visual. Learn how to avoid drag, when to fish emergers, what to do when a rising fish does not take your fly, and when to add movement to your dry fly.

You will also learn how to make a curve cast, how to fish a dry fly from a drift boat, how to modify a leader on the stream, and much more.

Chapter Seven: Streamer Fishing

Learn how to fish streamer flies in this episode. Streamers are bigger flies that you fish on an active retrieve, and these flies imitate baitfish, crayfish, leeches, and large aquatic insects like hellgrammites. Streamers are the fly-fishing equivalent of conventional lures. Because they fly is usually moving, strikes can be explosive. Streamers are a great way to cover a lot of water and are the best flies to use when you don't know what fish are eating, or if you are fishing unfamiliar water. Streamers are perfect for the impatient angler because you move the fly a lot and don't stay in one place very long. And streamers are typically the best flies to use when you want to catch big fish!

Chapter Eight: Reading the Water and How to Approach Trout

In this chapter you'll learn about the habits of trout. Trout are seldom found everyplace in a stream and choose their location based on current, food supply, and protection. Learn how to narrow down your choices by fishing in the most likely places.

You will also learn how to sneak up on trout without scaring them, and special ways you can cast to keep your line out of their view. You'll also learn about the best clothing for sneaking up on wary trout.

Chapter Nine: Stillwater Trout

Trout in lakes and ponds require different techniques and skills, and master stillwater angler Phil Rowley will share his vast knowledge with you. Learn about how to find trout in still waters, what flies to use, and how to present them.

You'll also learn how to attach a leader to your line with a nail knot, and a very valuable lesson on the five most common casting mistakes.

Chapter Ten: Steelhead and Salmon

More fishless hours are spent in the pursuit of salmon and steelhead than any other freshwater fish. But when you do connect with of these trophies it makes all those hours worth while. Learn when and where to catch steelhead, Pacific salmon, and Atlantic salmon, how to choose tackle and flies for them, and the best way to swing a fly over their lies.

In this chapter you will also learn the basics of Spey casting and how to add a riffling hitch in front of your fly.

Chapter Eleven: Fly Fishing Saltwater Inshore Flats

From striped bass in New England to bonefish in the tropics, inshore sight-fishing for saltwater fish is an addicting pastime. Learn how to find saltwater fish in shallow water, how to stalk them, what flies to choose, and how to play these big, strong fish.

You will also learn the basics of the double haul, a casting technique that is essential for saltwater fly fishing, and you'll also learn a special loop knot for attaching big flies to your leader.

Chapter Twelve: Near-shore and Offshore Fly Fishing

Nothing is more exotic than using a fly rod miles from shore, for fish like striped bass, bluefish, dorado, and even sailfish. Big rods, big flies, fast-moving fish, and hard battles epitomize this kind of fly fishing, and the thrill of a school of fish busting into a pod of bait is always on the horizon.

Learn how to hook and play big game fish and some special tricks for retrieving the fly. You'll discover the secrets of fly fishing with sinking lines, one of the strongest knots for attaching a fly to your leader, and advanced techniques for perfecting your double haul.

Chapter Thirteen: Fishing Close to Home

Fishing close to home is all about getting more time on the water and still enjoying a happy work and home life. Whether it’s the easy pleasure of panfish in a local park, or the challenge of matching wits with a weary carp, broadening your horizons will get you more fishing time and make you a better angler when you do take that trip of a lifetime. Some of us are also fortunate to have trout streams fairly close to home, but many of these are small, intimate streams that are passed up by most fly fishers. We’ll show you how to fish them, too.

Chapter Fourteen: Choosing Equipment

Fly fishing seems like an intimidating pastime at first. It doesn't have to be. With a few basic skills, you will enjoy many fun and productive hours on the water. Choosing fly tackle can also be confusing and overwhelming.

Chapter One: The Basics of Fly Fishing

You might have heard that fly fishing is just for trout but nothing could be further from the truth. You can catch sunfish on a farm pond with fly tackle. You can catch bass and pike. You can even use a fly rod in salt water for fish like striped bass, bonefish, and even huge gamefish like tuna and marlin. It just takes a little adjustment to your tackle.

You might have also heard that fly fishing is expensive and complicated. Let's see just how simple it can be. In this chapter you'll learn how fly and spin fishing differ, how to make the basic overhead cast and a roll cast, a little about the history of fly fishing. You'll learn the two basic knots you will use every time you go fly fishing. You'll also learn about the bare essentials you need to get started in this fun and addictive sport.

Play Entire Chapter

Bass-and-Panfish-reflectWe believe that it's best to start out on a pond with bass or panfish instead of on moving water. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass and sunfish is a wonderful way to spend a quiet afternoon and most people have them close to home so it's a way to get out and try your newfound skills right away.

Bass and panfish take flies eagerly but timing is important to make sure you fish the right places throughout the season. We'll explore their life cycles, how to select flies for largemouth and smallmouth bass, the right tackle to cast bass flies, and how to retrieve the fly with both floating and sinking flies. You'll also learn a great loop knot for attaching bass flies to your leader.

Pike-and-Muskies-reflectionPPPPike and muskies are the sharks of freshwater and are some of the biggest and most exciting fish to chase with a fly rod. Many times they are difficult to catch on a fly rod, so learn when and where to try for them with big rods and giant flies.

In this chapter you will also learn how to attach wire to your leader to avoid getting cut off, and will also learn some tips on casting the large flies required for these voracious predators.

The-Basics-of-Fly-Fishing-reflectionMoving water adds variety to your fishing and there is nothing more soothing than wading a trout stream. In this chapter you'll learn how to deal with the complexities of currents and how to present your fly so that it looks natural. You'll learn special casts for making your fly look natural. Then we'll show you how to fish a streamer, perhaps the easiest way to begin fishing in moving water.

You will also learn how to wade safely and how to play a fish in moving water.

Wets, Streamers, NymphsTrout do most of their feeding underwater, and day in and day out you'll catch more trout on wet flies and nymphs. In this chapter you will learn the best way to fish nymphs, both with an without a strike indicator, how to rig indicators and weight, and how to fish two nymphs at once.

You will learn how to swing a wet fly, how to use a Reach Cast to get a better drift, and how to set the hook when nymph fishing. We'll help you unravel the mysteries of subsurface fishing.

Dry-Fly-Fishing-reflectionSome feel that catching trout on a dry fly is the epitome of fly fishing, and we can't argue that it's about as much fun as you can have on a trout stream because everything is visual. Learn how to avoid drag, when to fish emergers, what to do when a rising fish does not take your fly, and when to add movement to your dry fly.

You will also learn how to make a curve cast, how to fish a dry fly from a drift boat, how to modify a leader on the stream, and much more.

Streamer FishingLearn how to fish streamer flies in this episode. Streamers are bigger flies that you fish on an active retrieve, and these flies imitate baitfish, crayfish, leeches, and large aquatic insects like hellgrammites. Streamers are the fly-fishing equivalent of conventional lures. Because they fly is usually moving, strikes can be explosive. Streamers are a great way to cover a lot of water and are the best flies to use when you don't know what fish are eating, or if you are fishing unfamiliar water. Streamers are perfect for the impatient angler because you move the fly a lot and don't stay in one place very long. And streamers are typically the best flies to use when you want to catch big fish!

Reading-the-Water-reflectionIn this chapter you'll learn about the habits of trout. Trout are seldom found everyplace in a stream and choose their location based on current, food supply, and protection. Learn how to narrow down your choices by fishing in the most likely places.

You will also learn how to sneak up on trout without scaring them, and special ways you can cast to keep your line out of their view. You'll also learn about the best clothing for sneaking up on wary trout.

Stillwater-Trout-reflectionTrout in lakes and ponds require different techniques and skills, and master stillwater angler Phil Rowley will share his vast knowledge with you. Learn about how to find trout in still waters, what flies to use, and how to present them.

You'll also learn how to attach a leader to your line with a nail knot, and a very valuable lesson on the five most common casting mistakes.

Steelhead-and-Salmon-reflectionMore fishless hours are spent in the pursuit of salmon and steelhead than any other freshwater fish. But when you do connect with of these trophies it makes all those hours worth while. Learn when and where to catch steelhead, Pacific salmon, and Atlantic salmon, how to choose tackle and flies for them, and the best way to swing a fly over their lies.

In this chapter you will also learn the basics of Spey casting and how to add a riffling hitch in front of your fly.

Inshore-Saltwater-reflectionFrom striped bass in New England to bonefish in the tropics, inshore sight-fishing for saltwater fish is an addicting pastime. Learn how to find saltwater fish in shallow water, how to stalk them, what flies to choose, and how to play these big, strong fish.

You will also learn the basics of the double haul, a casting technique that is essential for saltwater fly fishing, and you'll also learn a special loop knot for attaching big flies to your leader.

Offshore-Saltwater-reflectionNothing is more exotic than using a fly rod miles from shore, for fish like striped bass, bluefish, dorado, and even sailfish. Big rods, big flies, fast-moving fish, and hard battles epitomize this kind of fly fishing, and the thrill of a school of fish busting into a pod of bait is always on the horizon.

Learn how to hook and play big game fish and some special tricks for retrieving the fly. You'll discover the secrets of fly fishing with sinking lines, one of the strongest knots for attaching a fly to your leader, and advanced techniques for perfecting your double haul.

Fishing close to home is all about getting more time on the water and still enjoying a happy work and home life. Whether it’s the easy pleasure of panfish in a local park, or the challenge of matching wits with a weary carp, broadening your horizons will get you more fishing time and make you a better angler when you do take that trip of a lifetime. Some of us are also fortunate to have trout streams fairly close to home, but many of these are small, intimate streams that are passed up by most fly fishers. We’ll show you how to fish them, too.

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