Combine the serenity of being outdoors and the satisfaction of conquering new skills, and you have fly fishing. Enthusiasts describe it as exciting, satisfying, rewarding, and challenging.
Artificial bait (that mimics common bugs or bait fish) is used to fly fish. Along with using artificial bait, fly fishing differs from regular fishing in the reel and rods used. Spin fishing rods have reels and are heavier. Fly fishing rods are long, loose, and lighter in weight. Spin fishing is practiced in still waters from a boat, aiming to catch various types of fish. Fly fishing is done in moving waters such as rivers and streams while focusing on catching fish like trout and bass. Fly fishers can cast from the edges of moving waters or enjoy getting into the water using waders and casting from there.
Cody Wurzel, a local fly fisher, explains that, in short, technique is more important than the quality of equipment. “However, using equipment that is more durable and more forgiving will allow for greater success,” he says. Choosing your equipment carefully can help you catch as many fish as possible, with equipment designed for particular conditions and water types. Cody recommends starting with a 9-foot 5 weight fly rod outfit that includes the reel and line together. He advises against purchasing the cheapest set—it’s likely low quality and tends to break easily and perform poorly. Additionally, polarized sunglasses will protect you from the sun and increase your vision through water. “The best time of day to fish during the summer,” shares Cody, “is early mornings when the weather is cooler; that’s when the fish are most active.”
Local club, Kaweah Fly Fishers has monthly meetings at the Lifestyle Center in Visalia on the first Friday of every month. Speakers share on fly fishing topics including catch and release and conservation of natural resources. They also offer trips and classes throughout the year including free casting lessons at Valley Oak Golf Course, where you can practice with equipment provided.
Find visual how-to information either from books or online in YouTube videos.
Practice casting a fly line on a lawn, at a park, in a pond or anywhere that you have plenty of space all around you.
For your first trip, go with someone who is familiar with fly fishing. They can act as a guide.