Fly Fishing Techniques
Beyond the basics of casting and knot tying, there are a number of fly fishing techniques to learn that will help you immensely on the water. In fact, few other outdoor sports are as technique-focused as fly fishing. While other forms of freshwater fishing are seen as laid-back and relaxing, fly fishing requires focus, attention, and fast responses to rapidly changing conditions. The fly fisherman has multiple forces to battle on the water, from the current, to the wind, to the fish themselves. The following fly fishing techniques will help you conquer those forces and net fish, no matter what species you’re after.
- Use the “roll cast” for tight areas or windy conditions. While the overhead cast might be the least tough fly fishing technique to learn, the roll cast is probably the most versatile. Because it allows your line to “jump” across the water instead of flying over your head, it’s great for forested areas and disagreeable weather conditions. To perform it, bring your rod tip back like you would in an overhead cast, but do it slowly to let the fishing line in front of you settle on the water’s surface. Then, use a flicking motion with your rod-holding arm to snap the rod forward. The line should make a circular shape above you, which will have enough force to propel your fly forward without pulling the line too far off the water.
- Always make an effort to fight drag. In terms of fly fishing technique, avoiding drag is of utmost importance. When fish see a fly moving in any direction other than with the current, they’ll know something’s up, and simply won’t bite. Therefore, you must plan your casts and pull out line in proportion to the current’s speed to keep the fly from going “against the grain”, so to speak. If that fly isn’t flowing with the water, you won’t be netting any fish.
- Learn to rely on sight as opposed to feel. In most other forms of freshwater fishing, feeling a bite reverberate through your rod is the best way to tell whether you have a fish on. Proper fly fishing technique discourages that indicator, mostly because trout bites are often too subtle to physically feel. Instead, practice reading water surfaces to tell when a fish has taken your fly. Being able to distinguish between a shadowy submerged object and a fish from afar takes time and practice. Regardless, it’s a fly fishing technique that’s essential to your success.