Fly Fishing Beginner’s Guide: How To Fly Fish


Fly fishing, unlike standard fishing, features bait that is light enough to float on the water surface. The fishing technique, when used correctly, makes it possible for expert and beginning fishermen to land fish species that usually swim just below the water surface. Some of the fish you might have the ability to land during your fly fishing trip include salmon and trout.

If you are a fly fishing beginner, taking your time to learn how to fly fish can increases your chances of reeling in a catch. When fly fishing, you will not just need special equipment, you will also need special casting methods. In this article, you will get to learn everything there is to know about fly fishing.

The Fly Fishing Equipment You Should Invest in

Without the right fly fishing equipment, your knowledge on how to fly fish may not help you land your target fish. In this section, we will be looking at the basic equipment you need to pack when you finally decide to get out of the fly fishing beginner stage.

Fly Rod

It is possible to find a fly fishing rod in a wide variety of materials, lengths, and weights. The price is largely dependent on the fishing rod material. A graphite fly rod, whose price is generally in the middle range, should offer great results for any fly fishing beginner.

The type of fishing rod you invest in will be dependent on the fish species you will be going after and where you will be fishing. The 3 crucial things you should consider, however, include:

1. Length

When fly fishing, longer rods generally allow you to cast for longer distances, provided that there are no obstacles in the way. If your fishing spot features a lot of obstacles, for example, bushes and trees, a shorter rod should offer better results.

2. Weight

When it comes to the fishing rod weight, the mid-weight fly fishing rods are typically used by fly fishing beginners. For people who are currently learning how to fly fish, purchasing a weight 5 fishing rod is a good idea.

3. Action

In the market, you will come across slow, medium, and fast action fly fishing rods. The majority of fly fishing beginners will invest in the fast-action rod. This is because the fast-action rods are much easier to cast for longer distances.

Fly Fishing Reels

When buying a fly fishing reel, you must ensure the reel matches your fishing rod weight. This will help you achieve optimum performance.

It is worth noting that the majority of manufacturers do match fishing rods and reels. If you purchase an already matched combination, you won’t have to worry about matching the fishing rod and reel yourself.

Fly Line, Backing, Tippet, and the Leader

If you are used to the standard fishing set-ups, you probably use only a single fishing line, all the way from your rod to your hook. When fly fishing, a single fishing line does not work. The reasons for this include:

  • The weight does not exist at the end of the fishing line. You will only have a fly, which can be considered to be almost weightless. If you rely on the weight of the fly to cast for long distances, this will be impossible. Since the weight has to come from the fly fishing line, it has to be thicker.
  • To land a fish at your best fly fishing destination, you should ensure that the bait is presented on the water without the target fish knowing that it is attached to your fishing line. This is what makes the tippet and leader important.

Below, we have the functions of the equipment which exist between the fishing rod and your fly:

Fly Backing

The purpose of the fly backing is to offer additional length for a longer fish run. It is usually the longest portion of the fishing line. The fact that it is both thick and brightly colored means that it can be seen in the water.

Fly Line

As mentioned earlier, the purpose of the fly line is to provide weight. This makes it possible for you to cast for longer distances. On top of being heavy, the fly line is usually brightly colored.


This transitions from your thick fly line to your thin tippet. To match the fly line, the leader starts thick. It then tapers down to a thinner size.

The leader keeps the fly line from slapping onto the surface of the water and spooking the target fish. When the leader is available, the chances of the fish seeing the fly line decrease. On average, leaders are approximately 9 to 10 feet.


The fly is attached to the leader by a tippet. It makes sure that the fly is being presented without the fish seeing the line. When investing in a tippet, get one that is strong enough but hardly visible.


When you are trying to locate baits for your fly fishing at night or during the day, you will come across 3 primary types of flies. These are:

  • Dry flies – These are designed to look like flying insects that float and land on the water surface. They are the most commonly used baits.
  • Nymphs – These resemble aquatic creatures. They float just below or at the water surface.
  • Streamers – Although these are bigger than the nymphs, they look like aquatic creatures too.

Fly Fishing Waders

If you consult someone familiar with how to fly fish, he or she will tell you that in the majority of instances, standing on the bank will not offer you the best results. To increase your odds of landing a fish, you may have to step into the water. Fly fishing waders make it possible for you to get into the water without having to deal with uncomfortable wetness.

Fly Fishing Waders


If you consult someone familiar with how to fly fish, he or she will tell you that in the majority of instances, standing on the bank will not offer you the best results. To increase your odds of landing a fish, you may have to step into the water. Fly fishing waders make it possible for you to get into the water without having to deal with uncomfortable wetness.

Fly Fishing Setup

After getting all the equipment you will need during your fly fishing trip, one question you may ask yourself is, “how am I supposed to put all this together?”. Luckily for fly fishing beginners, putting the fishing equipment together is not generally hard. All you will need is some practice and knowledge on how to tie fishing knots.

To put your rod, reel, line, and backing together, follow the steps we have outlined below:

Step 1: Attach the reel to your fly rod. You can use the manufacturer’s instructions to do this. In most cases, the reel should slide onto the rod and lock in place.

Step 2: Retrieve your backing and pull off approximately 20 to 30 yards of the backing. The amount of backing you will use will vary depending on the weight and size of the reel. The reel manufacturer may suggest the amount of backing you need to use. The trick is to simply spool enough backing while leaving enough space for the fly line.

Step 3: Pull off approximately 2 to 3 feet of the fly line and tie your fly line to the backing. You can use the Albright knot.

Step 4: Pull approximately 30 yards of the fly fishing line and then clip it.

Step 5: Go ahead and spool both the backing and the fly line to the reel. You should spool in reverse. The fly fishing line should come first. This step will help you get the right amount of backing and fly line on your reel.

Note: When spooling the line, be sure to keep it taut. Ensure both the line and the backing are going evenly across the arbor. The line should spool from the reel bottom.

Step 6: You should keep spooling until you get close to touching the outer rim of the reel. Next, trim off the extra backing and then remove the fly line and backing from the reel.

Step 7: Using the Arbor knot, tie the backing to the arbor. Again, be sure to keep the line taut while you spool it evenly across the reel. Be sure to spool from the bottom. This time, spool the backing first.

Step 8: Using a braided knot, make a loop at the end of your fly line. This loop will make it possible for you to attach the leader to the fly line more easily. With the loop in place, switching the leaders once you wear your fishing shirt and hit the waters should be easy.

Step 9: Using a loop to loop knot, attach the leader to the fly line.

Step 10: To attach the tippet to the leader, use a triple or double surgeon’s knot.

Step 11: Lastly, make use of the improved clinch knot to attach your fly to the tippet.

After attaching the fly to your tippet, you should be ready to enjoy the benefits of fishing with a fly. While the above may appear like a lot to go through, you won’t have to do all the above every time you decide to put on your fishing hat.

You will need to follow the above steps only when you decide to change your lines. When you are not changing your lines, all you will have to do is change out the leader to replace the flies.

Fly Fishing Cast

The choice of cast you use will largely depend on location, the fish species, cast distance, and your personal preference. As a fly fishing beginner, however, the ideal cast is the overhead cast.

Basically, during the overhead cast, you will need to bring the fly line overhead and behind you before casting it in front of you to the desired spot. The steps below should make the overhead cast easier for you:

Step 1: Hold the rod in a position that mimics shaking hands. Your thumb should be on top but pointed to the fly rod end. Place the hand in the middle of the rod grip. You should hold the fly line between the index finger and the rod, to ensure that an additional fly line does not come out.

Step 2: With the rod pointing down a little, from about the waist level, pull approximately 10 yards of the line and then wiggle the rod up and down. This should feed the line down onto the water/ground in front.

Step 3: Step back a little bit to allow the line to extend in front of you.

Step 4: While maintaining the wrist position, lift your arm slowly until the line becomes tight.

Step 5: Rotate the arm backward to bring the fly line behind you. This should cause the rod to bend. Bring the rod to approximately the 1 or 2 o’clock position. Pause while waiting for the fly line to form a loop behind you.

Step 6: Next, bring the rod forward to about the 10 o’clock position quickly. This should cast the line out and forward in front of you. Where the line ends up is highly dependent on the direction you point the rod during this movement. The casting distance will be dependent on how hard the movement is.

Step 7: As the fishing line extends out into the water, lower your arm slowly to lay the line on the water gently.

Note: Slapping the water is not a good idea considering that it could end up scaring the fish. The line should be tight.

Overhead Casting Tips

To execute an ideal overhead cast, you should use these tips:

  • Start and stop quickly enough. This will put the load in motion.
  • You need to pause for long enough to allow the line to come behind you. One of the common mistakes among fly fishing beginners is not waiting long enough.
  • Avoid using too much wrist motion. Too much motion could cause the line to remain horizontal without the tight loops. The tight loops generally put power to the cast.

Globo Surf Overview

When you are getting started with fly fishing, things may not be very easy for you. However, if you take your time to learn how to fly fish, reeling in a catch via fly fishing should become easier. To move on from the fly fishing beginner stage, just learning how to fly fish is not enough. You have to take your time to put what you have learned into practice.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!