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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's face it, I'm very new and very inexpeienced to this sport. I have no problem grapsing the theory of presenting a dry fly to the water in a convincing manner. But I have some problems executing this.

I realize that the majority of my problems will diminish as my cast improves.

Here are my problems:
-I never find myself in that perfect situation where a hatch is driving the feeding trout mad.

-Furthermore, I rarely am able "to see" any fish below the surface (yes I do have polarized sunglasses).

-Unfortunately, I don't have a mentor to teach me tricks and to scold my bad habits and I doubt I have the time or $ for professional lessons.

-If it matters, my equipment is on the lower end (although not super-cheap). I just can't afford to go 'Orvis'.

-I've never caught a fish on a dry fly.

Fortunately, my question is simpler than my problems...

Here's my question: If my cast is less than perfect, are there ways I can compensate and still get some luck on a dry fly?

I've had some luck on nynphs and wooly worms, I believe this is so because the presentation is less relevant. What are you thoughts?

:dunno
-J
 

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I simply cast upstream and at a angle. Another thing I have learned is that can't get wf line to present the fly quite as delicate as the dt line, so you might want to try that also. They seem to work for me.

Scott
 

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Don't give up. It took me most of a good season to finally catch a trout, in a river, on a dry fly. It was like 6 inches:thumb .

I actually found a book that had some good suggestions on reading river water. I am still amazed how large of a fish can be found in the ripples. When I started I would walk right by shallow ripples, now I'll toss a caddis in to see if anything is in there.

So, that is my suggestion, try a caddis fly (elk hair caddis, stimulator) in the ripples, fast moving white water from 3-15 inches deep. Let the fly swing through the ripples. Same fly and similar presentation if you can find a diagnal ledge somewhere in the river. Drop the fly on a swing through where the water drops down and is boiling a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to both harleydeen and alessis.

Alessis: I am certainly guilty of looking for 'holes' and deep water. As a kid you're taught that's where to cast you nightcrawler. I have "the Complete Idiot's Guide to Fly Fishing." It talks about reading the shallows, I can't wait to try it!

Harleydeen: I'll be replacing my reel and line soon (I want to upgrade from what the manufacturer supplied in the combo). Just to be clear, WF is "weight forward" and DT is "double taper," right?
I'll probably go for a floating double taper and a mid-size leader and tippet.
 

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Ever heard the saying, "patience is a virtue"? Have patience, things will come in time. Don't think that you have to be a "orvis" model while fishing. Not to say bad things about orvis, they make good stuff. But it's not about that, looking cool or what ever else. Expensive gear is great, if you afford it. It that Sage XP gonna make you a better fisherman? NO. time on the water is. You gotta start somewhere. I heard this once, so I'll rip it off and pass it on to you. "expensive gear can not make up for inferior skills" Besides, the best thing about a pflueger medalist reel is that they make a great street hockey puck when not is use for the pursuit of fish. Bullet proof. Seriously, I've done tests.:eek Read some books, keep at it, it will come. Don't think you must cast far, If 30 feet of line is where your at, then work that 30 feet the best you can. Line control is a huge factor for moving water. Having a fish nail a dry fly is fun, being able to see a multiplicity of factors collide together and turn out in your favor. drift, presentation, timing, fly, hatch, weather, water temp, all coming together in a fish seeing your fly going by, and the genetic response taking hold. fish on!! complexity and simplicity working together in nature's own special way. keep at it, you'll get it. :thumb YT
 

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The hatch you are looking for is Caddis. Try to find somewhere in your area that has those great clouds of caddis around. That hatch allows you to skate and twitch flys that fish will chase. Perfect dead drifts aren't crucial.

Another hint is to concentrate on riffled water. There is a great deal of food in that habitat and fish feed there constantly. Riffled water also breaks up your fly's siloquette and gives a fish a short window to decide on whether it is food or not. Quick decision by a trout in the chop puts you at an advantage.

Last bit of advice- As you will see in my signature that I have a link to a guide service. That being said you can take the next comments with as much salt as you would like. Every fisherman is in a constant state of growth, time on the water always teaches and is the most important factor in learning. But when you are just starting out you won't have a good grasp of the basics. It's not your fault, it just a fact. Time spent with a patient teacher be it friend or guide will move you quickly through hoops that you would struggle with on your own. With the basic skills, you can move out of the starting gate.

Good Luck with your quest, for me it was the first fish on a fly I tied. I remember that 8-incher vividly to this day. It's a great sport and welcome to it.

P.S. Fish don't worry about gear, they worry about how good your hook set is.
 
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Beginner,
Go to the library and ask for a copy of Lefty Kreh's book Presenting the Fly. If they don't have it they should be able to get it for you from another library. This book is so all-inclusive and down to earth that it will leave few questions unanswered. Pay particular attention to the section on casting stroke and also leader configuration. I recently re-read this book and even after 50 years of flyfishing there were things I learned that will make me a better flyfisherman.
At this point there is no substitute for time on the water and lots of practice. Get the most out of the gear you have and upgrade when your skills require better equipment. There is no magic in a $600 rod and a $500 reel that can make a newbie cast like a seasoned veteran. Every seasoned veteran was exactly where you are at some point so put in the time and pay your dues. It will all come together in time. Ive
 

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>I realize that the majority of my problems will diminish
>as my cast improves.

Your effectiveness will increase with presentation. In some cases that goes hand in hand with casting. If, though, your proper cast isn't mended well, you presentation will not be effective. There are other factors as well, of course.

>Here are my problems:
>-I never find myself in that perfect situation where a
>hatch is driving the feeding trout mad.

Knowing when certain hatches should occur is important. Getting a better idea of specifically when to start expecting that hatch will come with knowledge of the conditions. You will start keying in on the weather (including air and stream temperatures) and time of year, the snow packs (run off), flows, and other factors. Do you know that many fly fishers record outing details every time they are on the water? Those logs as they grow become a great resource. Now, start fishing more, key in on a single river till you really get to know it. Understand what water holds fish, what water seams to allow for an effective presentation using a dry. Then, you might consider not only fishing dries. Some water, flows, rivers, time of year are just begging for your nymph or streamer when your dry floats by without a trace of interest. Simply, remain flexible and adapt to the conditions.

>-Furthermore, I rarely am able "to see" any fish below
>the surface (yes I do have polarized sunglasses).

Being able to spot fish is dependant on the water your on but in most stream situations it'll be the fish breaking the surface that indicates their presence. The hydraulics alone will hide a fish well. I've picked up nice fish in thin water, say 3-8", and hadn't spotted them before the rise. The polarized glasses will aid in seeing the rise which is key to the set.

>-Unfortunately, I don't have a mentor to teach me
>tricks and to scold my bad habits and I doubt I have
>the time or $ for professional lessons.

Neither did I. I fished will bad techniques for years and improved over time on the water. At some point if your interested and it fits your budget, a lesson can open your eyes to a lot you've been missing. Studying the water / conditions / possible hatches before touching your rod, your approach, leader, flies, presentation (proper mending in particular). Improvements on hooking up, especially in light take situations, will come in time with experience.

>-If it matters, my equipment is on the lower end
>(although not super-cheap). I just can't afford to go
>'Orvis'.

So what. For years I used a old Fenwick glass rod with incorrect light weight line. I would still huck it out there a mile. Then I found that as I kept my distance to a minimum, my presentation / line control improved. With experience I'm able to use some distance effectively, but won't unless it's really necessary. I'd rather stay short and effective, able to set when a fish rises, then getting a fly out to water where I'm at a control disadvantage.

>-I've never caught a fish on a dry fly.

You will. Which stream or general area are you fishing? When? One of my haunts is an outstanding dry fly stream but it only produces in the summer / fall and only when flows are optimal. What's optimal? Slow enough for that given stream to present a dry at a speed they'll be interested in. Now that's generally, and an example of one particular river. On another river like the Yak, that doesn't necessarily apply as there are so many great hatches that the fish will come up further or stay towards the banks in pursuit.

>Fortunately, my question is simpler than my
>problems...

Simple answer. Time on the water.

>Here's my question: If my cast is less than perfect,
>are there ways I can compensate and still get some luck
>on a dry fly?

Pretty general question. How the fly hits the water and how the fish might react to that is dependant on the type of hatch your trying to match. Some water might help you out as well, in that you have to put your fly above the fish and bring it down to them. As long as your mended before it gets there, you may get a rise. Depends on the fish as well and how spooky they are. Also, fish can hit when you would never expect it. I was on the Yak walking back up river in pretty fast water. My line was still out behind me skating on top. Looked back to see what I was caught upon, it was a very healthy fish.

>I've had some luck on nymphs and wooly worms, I
>believe this is so because the presentation is less
>relevant. What are you thoughts?

Actually when nymphing your presentation is equally if not more important. A dead drift is usually the rule when starting out and it can be harder then you think. Some nymphing though may require a swing, it may require a dead drift then going taught to bring the fly to the surface, emulating the hatch of certain bugs coming to the surface. I better stop there as it's a subject in itself.

If your taking to the water with the idea of just being there and in pursuit as being enough, and enjoying your time during the learning curve, your already there. Time on the water, reading up a bit, trying new techniques, paying attention to the environment will all help you improve your effectiveness. You may get to a point where success in fish to hand is obtained more regularly, but you'll never stop learning.
 

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First, I totally agree with what the others had to say.. That is, there is absolutely no better way to learn than spend time on the water. Not just fishing either, spend time just observing a good trout stream during a hatch while the fish are undisturbed. This will help you get a feel for where fish will actively feed on adult insects. It's different on every reach of a stream. as mentioned before, it can be a riffle, but it can also be a deep undercut bank, or pocketwater behind large boulders, or at the confluence of a tributary. Trout usually occupy lies, which provide cover and current relief, during times of low hatch activity. As a hatch begins, often, fish will move out into feeding lanes and then you can sight cast to their rise rings. Make notes of any spot where you see fish feeding, or where you catch a fish. Now, begin to concentrate your fishing on other similar areas.
The second part is fly selection. Before fishing, check the surface film for any floating insects or casings. Try to match the size and color of any predominate species you find. Also, you can find generic hatch charts all over the web, that will give you some general clue as to what will possibly be on the water during a particular week of the year.
The third part is presentation. As mentioned above, an elk hair caddis is probably the easiest dry to fish. It floats really well in all sorts of water, and can be extremely effective even with a dragging presentation. The skating imitates caddis taking flight. However, when the fish are turned on to mayflies, midges, or others, they will often refuse a fly that drags. You need a good up or across stream, dead - drift. If there is a wake on the fly, pick it up and cast again. Cast Upstream and pick up line as it drifts back without pulling on the fly. You can throw a loop of line upstream, or mend, to keep the fly dead drifting. This just takes lots of practice on moving water, you can read about it forever, but you need to just get out and experiment, it will come naturally.
Expensive equipment is just part of the game, it is not imperative. Sure it makes a difference, but when your first learning, your skills won't exceed the subtle differences between a $50 rod and a $300 rod.
Thats really what it all comes down to: find out where the fish are, use the right fly, and drift it naturally. When it all comes together, it works almost every time. No fish is safe.
Good luck, Pete
 

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I am a beginner. My problem was developing a reasonable cast, including the roll cast. I mention this because here in Washington the rivers and some lakes a loaded with trees along the bank and the roll cast is a good way to get into the water.Learning to mend the line is very important.
The casting, you should practice at home or at a park. The problem with hatches for me, was my schedule, in that I fish at my convience and not hatches.In this case I had to learn something about nymph fishing. It appears that nymphs are the best way to fish as they are basic food for the trout.This meant get sink tips and or sinking lines to get the nymphs down where the fish eat.
Also, temperature of the water is important.Sometimes its too cold for trout, some times its too hot. I have found in those situations that no matter what I do, they, the fish, seem to sleep.
The best in this case is fish in shallower water and temps between 55F and 63F.
The other is playing with a good selection of flies. Get a good selection and pattern. One choice would be a hopper,or a good big floating fly with a nympy tied below about 18 inches away. In this case you can look for fish hitting the top fly (floating) or the nymph (sunk). Wait and see what happens. If they hit the lower one then go for that type of fly.
All the very best. Keep your chin up and it will happen and when it does you'll be estactic.
tony:beer1 , cheers.
 

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Tips for a beginner

Most of my time is spent dry fly fishing. I practiced as a kid on sunfish, bass, and brook trout which are pretty easy to fool on a dry...

If you want i'll give you the scoop on a sure thing up on the south fork of the snoqualmie where I always catch at least 3 cutthroat in a hour on a #16 sparkle caddis dry...9"-11" fish are fun on a 4 weight...

The key is "drag" you usually don't want any

The other important factor is "feeding lanes" you have to cast into a trout's feeding lane ..

-Piscean
Calmness is power....
 

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JDog, I'll address your post title "Any tips for a beginner".
First, go fishing, go often as you can. Take close friends with you once in a while.
Second, don't hurry down to the water and cast. Watch, see what is happening, current, seams, foam lines, bugs, rises, everything.
Third, Cast to what you see, as best as you can. With each cast you will learn something. If your bug needs a retrieve, do so, vary it, and remember what you were doing when the fish hits it.
Fourth, play the fish quick as you can, release it with your best care, do all you can to help it get back in good health.
Fifth, write down what just happended. Notes help when the quiz comes later.
Lastly, thank who or whatever your "higher power" is for the experience.

Roper,

Good things come to those who wade...
 

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I'll never forget the first time I used a flyrod.
About 12 years ago using a bamboo rod on a small creek in colorado. Caught a small brookie on my second cast, after that i was hooked.
Tips:
Dont give up, keep practicing, the cast is the most graceful and peaceful part of this wonderful sport.
Bluegill are a great option if they are around you.

Good luck!!!
:thumb
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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One very helpful resource is libraries. You can borrow video tapes of some great dry fly and other fishing situations, casting instruction etc. And best of all it's free. There are more titles than you will ever have time to see.That has been a great help to me. I would suggest you join a club that has a program of teaching, sharing and group trips. Some clubs are very inexpensive and do some great things.I recommend the FFF clubs especially since their orientation is teaching and educating conservation through fly fishing. A great bunch of folks. Trout Unlimited groups are also very good, frequently with the same members as the FFF clubs. The club thing could turn out to be your best bet for being introduced to water and techniques, and a few fishing buddies.Look up the clubs on our home page here under "organizations".
There is no replacement for time on the water. And a little help is always good too.
 

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I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

I'm not going to knock anybody. But you all say to match the hatch. Well I do most of my dry fly fishing in the well stocked waters of the West side of the hump. Mainly the Sauk,Stilly, Sky, And head waters of the Sky. In all of these places that I have ever cast a fly I don't think that I have ever seen a hatch come off like they do in the warmer parts of the West.I have been on the water at Rock Creek in Montana and have seen the bugs so thick you could of had to cut thru them with a knife to reach the water.

The most bugs that I have ever seen hatch at one time is just a few of them. But I'm not complaining as I have a good time when I'm out there and manage to catch a few out of our fertile waters.

Jim
 

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One by one:
>I realize that the majority of my problems will
>diminish as my cast improves.

YEP.
>
>Here are my problems:
>-I never find myself in that perfect situation where a
>hatch is driving the feeding trout mad.

WHO DOES. No really, If you want to fish a really prolific hatch you should venture out to Idaho, Montana, etc. That said, some of the waters around here have fine hatches of Caddis. Check any one of the many publications and you can find a hatch chart. Be sure you find out the time of day you can expect a hatch to come off.
>
>-Furthermore, I rarely am able "to see" any fish below
>the surface (yes I do have polarized sunglasses).

Practice and luck. One thing that helps me is getting up above the water and finding a fish then following it down to figure out what it looks like from the angle at which I fish.
>
>-Unfortunately, I don't have a mentor to teach me
>tricks and to scold my bad habits and I doubt I have
>the time or $ for professional lessons.

Go to Green lake or one of the Lake Wahington Docks and just cast. Who cares if you catch a fish, which you might. Casting is like Calgon.

>
>-If it matters, my equipment is on the lower end
>(although not super-cheap). I just can't afford to go
>'Orvis'.

I would generally say it doesn't matter but, if you have a very slow rod you really need to cast well to get the power out of it. Regardless, my best tip for you is to make shorter casts. Seriously. if you get a good drift in a riffle 10 feet is plenty. remember, you have 9 feet or so of rod.

Another practice method that I think I learned from a doug swisher video is take a thin gardening stick and tie on about 25 feet of heavy yarn. Practice casting with that. you can do it watching T.V. if you want. Work on solid elbow and wrist action before you start heaving line 100 ft.

>-I've never caught a fish on a dry fly.

Ouch. Neither have I! Whats wrong with nymphing? Just kidding. The first fish I ever got on a dry was a rainbow from Rocky Ford that litterally came out of the water to take my ant fly that was snagged on a reid. So it is'nt always the cast that counts. Luck has something to do with it when your learning.

>>Here's my question: If my cast is less than perfect,
>are there ways I can compensate and still get some luck
>on a dry fly?

I repeat. Make shorter casts. If your bothered by the fact that your rod does not seem to load with a sort cast Overload your rod with 1 wt. line heavier than you would normally use. You'll lose power on the far end but it can help you to learn to load your rod.

>
>I've had some luck on nynphs and wooly worms, I
>believe this is so because the presentation is less
>relevant. What are you thoughts?

Go fishing
>
>:dunno
>-J
:thumb :thumb
 

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Another great resource is this very website. Search it--page by page. Avoid the philosophy (you won't have to read all my junk that way). Skip the places but try to remember what keeps coming up time and time again. Look for post on techniques. Study them carefully and make notes if you see something that sounds good or something that you might like to try.
Then check it out on the water. Take more notes, especially if you nail a fish. Fishing is really hunting. And hunting is fishing out the good spots and takinig good aim.
Happy both.
bob:thumb
 
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