If you have always wanted to…
Maybe you saw A River Runs Through It for the first time and were captivated by the beauty of fly fishing. Maybe you love the outdoors but are bored of hiking and wanted to do more when out in the woods. Or just maybe you have always wanted to try it!
Fly Fishing can be a hobby, sport, job or just may be your calling in life. It is not a ‘go big or go home’ type of activity. Getting started is no different than starting anything else. You need gear of course and a general understanding of what the gear is used for! This is where it can get really overwhelming! Not to worry, WNC Women on the Fly has plenty of resources to get you started in the right direction. One of these resources is a place famous for it’s fishing gear. After you get outfitted, just add water (with fish) and *snap* you too can be a fly fisher! Well, for the most part anyway.
What To Wear?
The most important thing for hitting the water is to be prepared! You don’t want to hike a mile or more into the secret spot on the river, and then realize you didn’t wear enough clothes or you’re going to fry in the sun. Looking good on the water is secondary – let’s talk about the basics here. The fishing gear will come later.
Must Haves: Polorized Sunglasses
Sunscreen LipBalm Hat w/ a brim Layers up top (I prefer sleeveless underneath long-sleeves) Leggings in summer, thermals in winter Long socksThen all the fishing gear. These are the items a girl must have to have a comfortable day on the river and avoid sun damage. If you forget even one thing, your day will be negatively affected. Forget your hat? That tender ‘part’ atop your head will burn and you won’t even know it until you run a brush through your hair the next day.
No lip-balm? Your lips will be parched by the time you get your tippet tied on. The issue is that the sun reflects off the water and bounces up onto your person in magnified doses. All the damage the sun does on its own is multiplied when you stand in a river. Protect your beautiful skin!
What to do First? Hire a guide!
There are a ton of gadgets and gizmos for fly fishing and many beginners think they need all of it to get started. But what do you really need to do first? You need to go fly fishing with someone else…hire a professional guide, take a class, go out with a friend…whatever you do, try it first! Learn how to use the equipment, how to cast a rod, present a fly, etcetera. Then decide if this is for you. Like any sport, it costs a little money to get started. You’ll need a rod, reel, line, leaders, tippet, flies, nippers, foreceps and give or take a few more things. Once you have the basics, you’ll be good to go for a while. Try to buy most if not all of your gear at a local fly shop. Online shopping might save you a few bucks but it is worth its weight in gold to have a local resource to call on if you need help.
Rod, Reel & Line
You’ll need a rod, of course. This is where you will want to spend the bulk of your budget if you plan on fishing for years to come. The rule of thumb is, “spend as much as you can comfortably afford on your rod and reel”. There is no substitute for great gear! There are many sizes of rods and it really comes down to a few choices depending on the waters you will be fishing most. For WNC trout waters, a 4 or 5 wt rod, 8.5′-9′ is a good place to start. An accompanying reel with the appropriate line size is next. Shop locally for this! Seriously! You’ll want to ask questions and have a local resource to turn to when you have questions. They will show you how to choose the right lines and equipment based on your needs. Local fly shops can and will be your best friend!