When breaking down the best way to fly fish, there are several common techniques that most fly fisherman will agree on. However, fly fishing isn’t the easiest type of fishing to learn, so remember to have patience when trying these techniques.

1) Casting

Casting properly is the number one technique that will lead you to a successful catch.  A short cast will give you more manageability, better accuracy, and make it much easier to work the fly. But, you want to be sure that you do not false cast. False casting is a combination of a pickup and lay down cast except you do not let the line touch the water. And, be sure not to touch the water prematurely on the forward cast before you have completed the full cast. A false cast will spook the fish away before you ever have a chance to present your fly. To improve the accuracy of your cast, make sure to always point the rod directly where you want to cast. Also, be sure to lay the fly down on the water as lightly as possible. The ease of doing all of this will come with practice.

FISH TIP

Shorter casts are always better! A short cast will give you more manageability, better accuracy, and make it much easier to work the fly.

2) Rod, Reel, and Line

Picking the right rod, reel, and line is another vital component of fly fishing. These choices can make or break your fly fishing success. In the Tampa Bay area of Florida, a 7 weight rod and reel is a great combo for starting fly fishing. Whether you are freshwater or saltwater fishing, this size rod and reel will let you effectively target the majority of the fish that you want to catch. As you advance, a faster action rod will help you shoot your fly forward a little easier. For your line, a floating line works great for most fly fishing scenarios. And, for your tippet/leader, 7- 12ft is best. Also, remember that fluorocarbon line sinks and mono line floats!

FISH TIP

Correctly tied knots are key!

3) Knots

If you do not tie the correct knots, then even having the best casting skills and the perfect rod and reel won’t help you fly fish successfully. It is important to tie a good line to line knot and a loop knot to your fly line. And, if you’re going to make your own tippets/leaders, then a blood knot will work well, too.

4) Approach and Presentation

A few other crucial techniques to master when fly fishing are your approach and presentation. Fly fishing is not like your typical spinning rod outfit fishing. You need to make sure you have enough space to approach when casting so that you don’t spook the fish. And, if possible, even make sure that you aren’t moving a shadow over the fish that you are trying to catch. Presenting the fly is extremely important. You want to make sure the fly is presented while the line being used is fairly straight. A lot of anglers tend to set the hook by sweeping the rod up, but, for saltwater fly fishing, strip setting the hook is more effective. Keeping the rod tip pointed at the fly is vital. Doing this keeps any slack in the line from taking away the strike to the fly. When you are ready to "set the hook," take the stripping hand and grab hold of the line firmly. Yank it back in a pulling fashion without lifting the rod tip. Your rod tip should not leave the straight line and there should be no bend in your rod. Otherwise, your strip set will not be as effective as it needs to be to drive the hook home. Approaching the fish correctly and having the best presentation will make you successful in landing the fish of your dreams.

Some final important fly fishing tips include making sure to match the hatch. This means to use bait that matches or closely resembles the bait in the area around the fish you are trying to catch. Also, pay attention to little details like tidal flow direction. Casting down tide and bringing it back up against the tide is unnatural. Instead, you want to cast up tide and bring the bait back down tide. Finally, when stripping the line to move the fly, pay attention to how the line lays. You do not want to tangle all of that line. Using a good line conditioner will also help.

So, now with all of these tips and techniques, you are ready to start fly fishing. Just remember that patience and practice make perfect!