FLY FISHING: How to guide for beginners

Fly fishing needs a lot of practice and patience to be PRO at, whether it’s just the basic forward & backward cast or the advanced roll cast. But the learning curve can be less steep by grabbing some basic techniques and by practicing in an open space.

Fly Fishing Techniques: Fly Casting

Casting can be frustrating at first, but don’t give up. Just like anything, practice makes perfect. In fact, even when you’re an accomplished fly caster, you’ll still be learning every time you make a cast.

Fish in Your Driveway

You don’t need a river or lake to practice casting, just an empty piece of concrete or field will do. Of course practicing your fly fishing techniques on bodies of water is more fun, but we don’t always have time to travel like that, so just head out the door and practice in your driveway. Now you’ve got less of an excuse not to practice.

Don’t Get Hooked

Put your fly rod together, but instead of attaching a hook, attach some bright colored yarn. If you feel you need more weight, add one of those twisty bread bag ties.

Don’t add too much, though; you don’t want a lot of drag when you’re first starting out.

Why not a real fly hook? Fly hooks have hooks! Hooks that tend to embed themselves into beginner fly fishermen’s ears and scalps.

Even accomplished fishermen are prone to this, especially in windy conditions. Ever wonder why we all wear fishing hats? Now you know.

Start Slow

Don’t get fancy. Start with a small amount of line, figure out the fly fishing techniques in increments. Everyone has seen the videos of guys casting hundreds of feet of fishing line. Don’t think you can start out doing that. Little bits of the line until you’re completely comfortable then add more. Even if you’re using a spay setup, start small.

If you add too much too early, you’re going to turn your line into a rats’ nest of knots. That’s frustrating and will end your practice session. You may have to start from scratch, cutting your leader and be forced to practice your fly fishing knots.


Once you’ve gotten the basic overhead cast down and you can do it with 25 to 30 feet of line, add a fly fishing fly and head to the river or lake. But just to be on the safe side debarb the hook. That way, if you do embed it into your cheek, it’ll be easier to extract.

Debarbing’s easy, simply grab a pair of pliers and carefully pinch the barb down onto the hook. Don’t be too rough or you’ll break the hook and be left with a good practice fly but useless for catching fish.

Now you can practice your fly fishing techniques, and you may even catch fish. Just remember, they call it fishing, not catching for a reason.

Set Up for Success

When you do head for a body of water, be sure to pick somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of stuff around. You don’t want a bunch of bushes behind you snagging your overhead cast.

This may be a place where you know you won’t catch a fish, but it’s more important at this stage to learn the cast. Besides, you’ll be so engrossed casting you may forget you’re even fishing. Learning to cast can be all consuming.

There are ways to avoid bushes with your overhead backcast. You can use the roll cast or the tower cast, but when you’re starting out, give yourself a break and pick somewhere without any obstacles. Learn the basic overhead cast first. Once you have, it mastered the other fancy casts will be easier to learn.

Casting is the bread and butter of fly fishing, once you’re proficient at these fly fishing techniques, your fishing success will skyrocket.

How to Make the Basic Cast

Most anglers tend to overlook the importance of a primary cast using a fly rod. I discussed the details of a back cast and a forecast. To make this cast, I’ve pointed out the need to make the rod do only three simple things:

  1. Get that rod to bend. Once it does this, it is called loaded because basically, it is loaded with energy.
  2. Then, you need to make it come to a very abrupt stop. When the rod strains back out and stops, the line will be sent forward. When you make a basic cast, you need to make it bend and stop twice: once behind you and again, in front of you.

3.The most important step of them all is to get the rod to travel in the straightest path possible. The straighter the path; the tighter the loop; and the straighter the cast will be.

basic cast

To summarize the steps for making a basic cast,

steps for making a basic cast

Important Pointers in Making a Good Cast

To make a good cast, you need to get that nice tight loop. For this, you need to bend that rod starting with a smooth acceleration. You need to start with the rod tip nice and low. Then, pick it up using the strength of your forearm or wrist. Either way is possible. The point is to get that smooth acceleration to an abrupt stop. That will get the line to jump out behind you.

When you make the cast, see to it that you pause and wait for the line to roll out behind you. Once it is strung out, flick it forward. If you do not pause and wait, you will eventually hear a snap/crack/pop, which means that the fly is broken. The cost of breaking a fly will add up to your overall cost, making it a little expensive.

Watch closely as you make the cast, particularly your back cast. In my opinion, this is one of the most important steps to making a good cast. The proper way of holding the rod is to hold it simply with your thumb on top in a relaxed grip with the rod in line with your forearm. Start out with the rod tip in a low, relaxed position, not high up, which indicates that you are almost halfway through the cast.

When it comes to casting, you can make it wherever you want. You can draw that straight line down low, which will help get that line out there. Alternatively, you can draw it up, or over your head and then out in front, and even off your opposite shoulder. The point is to make that rod stay on the straight path.

There are two kinds of the straight path. The first one is similar to the rod, which could be tilted up a little. The second is harder to see. What you have to avoid doing is curve around your body, which will send the fly out in the direction behind you. Once this happens, it will not make that nice, tight loop, which is necessary for making a very accurate cast—and speaking of accurate, check out our other blog posts that contain helpful tricks on how you can improve your angling skills.

Wellness and Fly Fishing

To be honest, fly fishing was something I thought Brad Pitt looked good doing. To truly confess, I never saw the movie, ‘A River runs through it.’ I was completely oblivious to the entire concept of fly fishing until 2010. Although fly fishing was not part of my prior journey, it became a substantial part of my future.

Fly fishing became my new passion. I love the industry, the people and the serenity of a day on the water. Because of my passion, I am always looking for a ‘workout’ or the ‘health benefit’ of anything. Lucky for me, fly fishing was both! It is an amazing sport utilizing some fitness principles and enhances the health of all those who participate. The one odd fact I have discovered over my recent years of experience was the neglect of preparation by most anglers, and the lack of recognition in the industry that fly fishing is a sport.

It may not be played at a high-intensity level, but it still requires the physical body to perform for hours on end. And unprepared angler is risking injury every time they step on the stream. Of all the sports considered, fly fishing is the longest in duration; eight to ten hours on the water, casting hundreds or thousands of times while wading and balancing the entire time. It is wrong to think all the aches, pains and injuries were a normal part of the process; I felt I had to tell the majority.

Stroup Fly Fishing is truly a unique combination of talents. I always feel good to guide people with proper techniques for a successful day on the water. It is the understanding of how to fish, the passion of loving to fish and the ability to physically sustain the duration injury and pain-free that I pass along to our readers.

The anglers are curious about the importance of physical health in fly fishing. Proper hydration, nutrition, flexibility, balance and physical condition are essential components of this awesome sport. It will enhance your game on the water and your life off the water.

Fly fishing is a sport, and you must prepare for your day on the water!

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Fishing Tails - December 2, 2017

Hey, super post! Real inspiring. I just like fishing, hunting and outdoor activities. Thanks for sharing!


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