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An Introduction to Fly Fishing

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Published on: Jan. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 10, 2010

Fly-Tying Basics

most people actually fish.

Another consideration might be how many pieces the rod comprises. If you carry your rod in a small car, you might like the convenience of a short tube that holds a multi-piece rod.

For your first fly rod, consider one between 8-9 feet long. A rod designated for a 4- or 5-weight line is a good starting place. There are two ways to dive in. One is to buy a rod, reel and fly line separately. The other is to buy a package that includes these items, plus a protective tube for the rod and a leader to go with the line. You can get a good quality, entry-level kit for about $180.

Whichever you buy, I suggest you do so at a full-service fly tackle shop where knowledgeable people can help you. You can take a step up in a fly rod by considering a rod alone that costs in the range of $250. This might get you a better grade of graphite and nicer trim.

The tip of a fly rod is delicate. That's why some rods now come with lifetime guarantees. It doesn't matter if the fish of your dreams breaks the rod or you slam it in a cabin screen door, the manufacturer repairs or replaces it at no cost to you.

Reel

A fly reel should serve a purpose beyond merely storing line. Use it to play fish, once they are hooked. Many fly reels have drags to reduce the stress on the line.

A basic die-cast aluminum reel with a simple drag system costs about $40 and will suffice for most Missouri angling. By tightening or increasing the drag, you control how much pressure a fish has to apply to peel line off the reel. Double the price for a basic reel and you can get a die-cast version with a more efficient disc-drag.

If you are of the Swiss watch persuasion, you may prefer a reel machined from aluminum bar stock. These reels are mechanical marvels, but there is something to be said for starting out with a reel that you don't have to worry about dropping on a gravel bar, or denting or scratching in any other way. If someday you move up the fly reel ladder, your initial reel can still serve as a reliable backup.

Lines

The line is what makes a fly rod work, and while fishing you will usually be holding your rod with

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