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he outdoors industry is booming with new gear and gadgets each year. The fishing industry is no exception. Specifically the fly fishing industry, with high tech rods and lines on top of thousands of flies to choose from it can be rather intimidating for the beginner/ novice fly angler.

We here at KFFM have decided to try and ease the tension a bit by compiling a list of some great rod and reel combos that will handle most of what you could throw at it and a few flies that everyone should have handy on the next outing.

RODS REDDINGTON PATH This is a great rod and reel combo to look into. Pre spooled with backing and Rio brand fly line you are already ahead of the game. The rod comes in several weight options from 4wt-8wt. sporting a moderate action that allows the average entry level caster a nice even rod that isn’t too fast but has enough backbone to fight a good fish. Another big plus is the lifetime warranty which is a big win in our opinion. The Path is $169.95 for the two piece models or $189.95 for the more packable four piece models. ST. CROIX RIO SANTO The Rio Santo is another great combo sporting a diecast aluminum reel with disc drag, spooled with 20lb backing, weight forward floating fly line and a pre installed tapered leader. The rod

is a four piece unit that comes with a nice rod and reel travel case. It has a moderate action and a five year manufacturer’s warranty. The price point swings in at $200-$210 depending on the rod weight you choose. TFO NXT The NXT series combo is another hot one on the list. Ranging from 4/5wt to 8/9wt it offers a nice set up that is designed for fresh or saltwater use with a medium fast action which makes this rod

very appealing. They are also a four piece set up with a diecast aluminum reel spooled with backing, line and leader. The kit includes a rod and reel case for safe travel. The price point on these gems range from $215-$225. If you need something a little more friendly to the budget you can save a few more bucks with several other great options on the market that we didn’t mention from big box stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops.

Words by Todd West Cover Photo by Chris Funk Above: Chris Payne casts a wooly bugger into some cover hoping to entice a bite. Photo by Tod Johnson

Depending on the target species we would recomend staying in the 5wt to 9wt range of rods. The 5wt-7wt will offer plenty of power for decent bass but subtle enough for bluegill and trout. When you go into 8wt-9wt it is more geared for large fish such as big bass all the way up to striper and small tarpon or permit. Your decision lies in what you wish to acheive on the water.

going to be much easier to cast and offer the least hassle at the end of the day. I know what your thinking, “I want BIG fish!�. We all do and belive it or not, some absolute giants of multiple species have been caught on small presentations. We are learning so no need to rush things here. WOOLY BUGGER The first and most recomended fly is the wooly bugger. Tied in many variations this wet fly works well from trout and bluegill to bass and carp. This fly is fished well in a slow strip The next big debate comes in the form of tippet technique. The reward is great when served materials. With many brands to choose from the properly and easily tied for those looking to try size chart becomes a bit confusing. The tippet their hand in tying their own. is the line which you attach to the end of your leader on one side and the fly you choose to use CRICKET/HOPPER on the other. For example 8x tippet is the equiv- The second recommended fly would be a alent of 1.2 pound test. For your average pond cricket/hopper variant. These are top water flies hop, 5x-1x is a good range to stay in which is that tend to drive many species wild from trout 4lb-8lb test range. For targeting your larger fish try going into 0x-x4 range. As you gain size the x moves to the oposite side of the number. This range is from 10lb-18lb test. The lighter rods do not have the spine to turn the larger tippet and flies over properly so it becomes more work and sloppy casting from there.



Proper fly selection is the great debate that any seasoned fly angler has a strong opinion on. Your answers will vary from shop to shop and angler to angler. In order to create a little less friction I asked several anglers their opinions and took the common denominators from each conversation. Fly selection is the key to your sucess at catching fish at this point in the game. For entry level fishing, small and subtle flies are

to bass. Imitating mother nature proves to land fish time and again. Easily fished along weed or tree lines, when the fish are sipping bugs off the top this fly offers a heart pumping presentation for fish and angler. These are inexpensive and a moderate tie depending on how fancy you go. FOAM POPPER The third fly is a foam popper. These come in many sizes and it would be a great idea to have several options in this topwater pattern. With multiple options on how to fish this pattern it offers some great explosive action when fished around structure or weed lines. These are fairly inexpensive and easy to tie. Experiment with different color options for maximum success. NYMPH The fourth fly is a still water nymph. Similar looking to some of the wooly bugger variations, these little wet flies are a pond hoppers meal

ticket to a fun filled day when the bite is on. This pattern is super effective and can be fished slowly across the bottom or stripped a bit faster for a mid colum presentation. A nymph is reasonably priced and moderate level to tie for begginers. CLOUSER The fith fly you should start with is a small clouser or bait fish pattern. These flies come in a wide range of sizes, colors, weighted or unweighted. These flies can be interesting to fish due to the multipile presentation options from stripping slowly to a strip/twitch technique. You can set yourself up for some rowdy action with these type patterns. Some of these can be quite expensive depending on size and can be quite tricky to learn to tie. There are however inexpensive patterns and simple to tie variations in this category. Checking out a fly tying guide can help you find some of the variations that would be the easiest.


There are some great videos online that walk you through presentation and tying techniques for all of the flies mentioned above. Spend some time researching multiple videos because everyone has different styles and you may find mixing these styles or find one that fits you best. Practice makes perfect when it comes to fly fishing. The best and most humbling medicine is to leave the baitcaster or spinning rod at home. This will force yourself into slowing down and thinking through your problems rather than getting frustrated and switching over to the tried and true. Remember we are learning new things here and you’ll soon realize the big picture is all the same, just with new gear and presentations.

“Some absolute giants of multiple species have been caught on small presentations.” Previous: A nice assortment of flies for fishing in multiple water typers, weather conditions and seeking multiple species. Photo by Chris Funk. Below: Reaching a target is easier when standing if you are targeting using flies. Photo by Chris Funk Right: Thomas Flemmons shows off a nice river bass caught on a hand tied wooly bugger with a little extra flash. Photo by Tod Johnson

Kayak Fly Fishing Magazine Preview  
Kayak Fly Fishing Magazine Preview  

Kayak Fly Fishing Magazine Preview