Teaching the girlfriend how to fly fish...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by DarianClemensBWO, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,142
    Ratings: +183 / 1
    I taught my wife how to fly fish a couple years ago. It was the best choice, fishing wise, I've ever made. We have a lot of fun going fishing together. Have fun, and keep it fun.
    enlightened and Paul Norton like this.
  2. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,164
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +800 / 1
    My Dad passed along some sage advice when it comes to teaching wife's how to drive, bowl, golf, fish, etc... don't. He always told the story about his attempt to teach my Mom to drive when they lived in Florida in the late 1940's. It ended with her putting the car in park at a streetlight, getting out of the car and hailing a taxi. :D When it came to Mom's interest in golf, a good friend of his suggested he hire a club pro to give lessons...which he did and that worked great... even though Mom never developed a long term love of the sport.

    So when my wife hinted that she was interested in learning to fly-fish, I followed my Dads advice. We stayed with an outfitter in MT (who I'd known awhile) and said "she's all yours, just put me in front of some fish". She took to it very well and I chuckled to myself all day long thinking; now if I had said or suggested that to her, we'd already be back at the lodge packing.

    Honestly, I really think when it comes to fly fishing, that is a good way to NOT kill what can become (as it has for us) a hobby we can both enjoy together. Because now when I suggest anything while were out, I start with "remember what John said..." ;)
  3. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Posts: 2,370
    Ratings: +744 / 0
    As with anything Female , it's best to leave it to the professional instructers. At the very least I try to consult with a pro before I move forward ...
  4. DarianClemensBWO New Member

    Posts: 10
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    She picked up casting very easily from just watching me then practicing for 2 days in the yard, so casting shouldn't be an issue... I'm thinking the south fork snoqualmie due to the activity on the dry, who doesn't love those little trout flying out of the water for a tattered ehc that's lost it's elk hair ? And yes patience will be tough but that's how it is with all things right?
    Sawyer likes this.
  5. Paul Norton Member

    Posts: 152
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I like your choice, I think it'd work well.

    Something that works for us is that we don't fish very close together, certainly not within earshot. I don't really watch what she's doing, although my wife has reached a point where she would know what questions to ask if she was going to ask for help.

    Don't forget to grab a couple of pictures of her fishing, especially since it sounds like she's got the casting down fairly well, a picture of her, out on the water, doing well with the casting, fly line out behind her in a perfect loop, will do tons for her confidence in being able to fly fish.
  6. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,495
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +792 / 0
    The water is still a bit high for easy wading on the Forks so pick your spot carefully.
  7. Tom Bowden Active Member

    Posts: 455
    Black Diamond, WA
    Ratings: +74 / 3
    A couple things from my experience as a bamboo rod maker:

    When bamboo rod making instructor Wayne Cattanach was teaching us how to make cork grips, he got really agitated about rods with small diameter grips, supposedly made for women. Most women's fingers are just as long as men's, and their hands don't have as much padding. When they put their hands around a slender cork grip, their nails dig into their palms, making it very uncomfortable to grip the rod hard enough to cast. Wayne's small teenage daughter walked in, and he demonstrated how her hand required a cork grip the same size, sometimes larger, than us men's.

    A short bamboo rod is great for someone learning to cast. These rods usually cast with a slower stroke than today's stiff graphite rods, load well with a short line, and require timing rather than power. I've read about casting instructors who use bamboo rods to teach fundamentals.

    enlightened likes this.
  8. rwbailey05 GO COUGS

    Posts: 623
    Spokane, Washington
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    Took my wife out earlier this spring to teach her on a Spey... she swung up a nice Clark Fork Rainbow on her 3rd cast....
  9. DarianClemensBWO New Member

    Posts: 10
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Alright so if the forks aren't low enough for easy wading by early next week, any other recommendations?
  10. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 822
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +349 / 5
    If you don't mind a drive, I've found the Tilton is a decent smaller river for beginners. There's some good access less than mile upstream from Morton and within the first 5 or 6 miles downstream of the town.

    Another good small stream (that produced great numbers of 8-10 inch fish on dries two weeks ago for Donna and me) is the North Fork Taneum south of Cle Elum/Thorp area. REally a fun little river. Just jump in anywhere up in the Forest Service section.
    John Hicks likes this.
  11. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,329
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +570 / 0
    Keep your expectations low.

    Go Sox,
  12. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 822
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +349 / 5
    I should also note that, while Donna is a helluva fly fisher now, I tried to teach her about 15 years ago. NO go. She "enjoyed" being on the river, but never really got into the fishing. About 10 years ago, I had a chance to get her into a drift boat with a professional guide and instructor out in Jackson, WY. She has been a trout fanatic — and a dry fly aficionado — ever since. She also got a 'refresher' from Derek Young about 3 years ago. She frequently outfishes me: Case in point, Friday during a VERY windy day on the upper Yakima, we both caught a lot of fish on dry flies, but she pulled in the two biggest — an acrobatic 14" rainbow and an incredibly bright 18+" cutthroat. Both on small crippled mahogany caddis.

    In short, then, I'd recommend get your woman some professional instruction – or at least some instruction from someone other than you. More specifically, I'll go so far as to say: Book a day for the two of you with Derek Young (www.emergingrivers.com). He is THE BEST instructing guide in the state as far as I'm concerned (that is, he is a great guide AND a great instructor — a combo that is very hard to find. Lots of great guides, lots of great instructors, but few who excel at BOTH).

    During a day with Derek, your girlfriend will learn learn to LOVE to fly fish and she'll gain important skills at the same time. BUT, you will learn a great deal as well. I've been fly fishing for more than 35 years and I learn a little more each time I go with Derek — or virtually any pro, for that matter. For instance, the success Donna and I had during that incredibly blustery day on Friday was a result of a tip I learned from a guide on the South Fork Snake in eastern Idaho. The fish were loving small dries, but because of the wind (gusting well into the 40 mph range), keeping though little #18 caddis afloat was nearly impossible. So we rigged them up as a double rig: We started with a big #8 Golden Stone to provide good flotation, and then trailed the little caddis about 18" behind that big foam fly. Donna easily had a dozen fish on that set up while we floated, and she and I each had another dozen during stops for wade-fishing. Some of the fish took the stone, but most went for the caddis.

    By hook up with Derek you will both learn, but most importantly, you will get a great day on the river with your girlfriend with an all-around great guy working the oars for you and putting you both on a the best fishy water. (what's more, Derek makes a great riverside lunch for his all-day float clients!)
    John Hicks and Skysoldier like this.
  13. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,142
    Ratings: +183 / 1
    Dan, I was just thinking the Tilton myself. It really is a pretty river and there are some nice fish in it as well.
  14. martyg Active Member

    Posts: 988
    The world at large
    Ratings: +79 / 0
    Awesome advice. And yes, always hire a professional to teach your SO. I am certified by the appropriate bodies to teach paddling and skiing, but am still the husband and all of the baggage of the relationship (good and bad) will follow you.

    My wife enjoys Trophy Lake. A club house with food and beverages, take a golf cart to where you are going to fish, plenty of room for a backcast, and larger, feisty fish. It is artificial, but the finer points of the experience is not necessarily the focus of this outing.