Fly fishing – so, where to start?

I’ve been sea and coarse fishing my whole life. I go out boat fishing around the south west coastline every month as well as exploring the rivers, canals and lakes that are on offer in Devon & Somerset whenever I have the opportunity. Now in my 40s I’d consider myself sufficiently skilled with a fishing rod to not embarrass myself in front of onlookers and fellow anglers – unless I’m trying to fly fish that is….

I recently bought myself a couple of fly rods and have been enthusiastically waving them round for the last few months. Enthusiastically is probably the most flattering thing I can say about my efforts as well. Alright, with a couple of young kids I can only sneak away every now and again, and haven’t been able to devote that much time to fly fishing, but still – I’ve come to realise I’ve got a long way to go to get to the level of accomplishment I’d like to attain. I won’t be concentrating solely on fly fishing either – I’m still out on the boats sea fishing every month, along with the odd bit of coarse fishing, and can’t see that changing in the near future. The fly fishing will have to fit in around everything else. Not ideal I know, but there’s just not enough hours in the day!

Having just starting out in fly fishing and not wanting to break the bank, I’ve got myself an Airflo Delta #5-6 rod for coarse fish and trout along with a Greys GS2 #8 rod for pike and saltwater. A couple of ‘economical’ reels loaded with weight forward line completes the selection. We’ll see how it goes and upgrade if & as necessary.

To date my fly fishing has mainly consisted of targeting coarse fish on ponds and canals to varying degrees of success, along with the occasional trip after stocked trout.. Again with limited success. I’ve had chub up to just under 3lb and carp around 9lb on the fly rod, along with a smattering of rudd, roach & perch so to my mind I’ve have been doing ok. Granted, as with all fishing, there’s the occasional blank but I have managed to catch fish every now and again!

One area I have completely and utterly failed at, is catching a pike on the fly. It’s not through lack of trying either sadly. I’ve caught plenty of pike over the years on dead baits, live baits, plugs and any manner of lures, but just cannot seem to do the business with a fly rod. In fact my Greys GS2 #8 fly rod I’ve been using on the local canals for pike has yet to be christened with any fish whatsoever! shocking really considering the number of times it’s been aired.

As for tackling the salt water with a fly – I’ve just not even tried yet but it is definitely on my ‘to do list’ for 2015 – although I’ll look to invest in a pair of waders before then.

Looking critically at my efforts to date, it’s easy to see a pattern – most my fishing is on small ponds and canals where there is no need to cast too far. Being self taught, I’ve no doubt picked up lots of bad habits that need ironing out at some stage. I can just about get by on these small venues where poor casting technique can get me by, but can definitely see the need for proper lessons in the very near future.

We all need something to aim for right? So, the immediate target – Get some casting lessons ASAP!

Target for end of 2014?  – Christen the #8 rod, preferably with a pike.

Target for 2015? –  get off the mark with some saltwater species. Bass, Pollack, Mackerel & Wrasse.

Coarse Fish on Fly