How to Choose the Right Gear for Fly Fishing.

How to Choose the Right Gear for Fly Fishing.

I love to play golf. Every-time I play I think about how nice it would be to have shiny new clubs. About 2 or 3 holes in I realize that I could suck just as much with new clubs as I do with my old clubs. What I really need is lessons. If I could improve my game with my old clubs maybe I could justify buying a new set. What I am trying to say is take it slow when buying the essential gear for fly fishing.

Beginner Fly Rod Length and Weight:

Fly Rods come in various lengths and weights and can get real confusing real fast. In our Beginner Anglers’ Class I tell my clients that when it comes to Trout Fishing in Colorado the ideal rod is a 9-foot 5 weight. I cannot tell you how many fly rods I currently own, but I will tell you that the rod I constantly use on our guided fly fishing trips is a 9 ft 5 weight. With this length and weight, you can get the job done on most fresh water in the Western United States. From here you can build your arsenal. For smaller water and small fish, you can jump down to an 8.5 foot 3 weight. For bigger water, bigger fish and wind think about jumping up to a 9-foot 6 or 7 weight. When it comes to rod flexes I firmly believe it’s all about the caster and what feels best. Before you buy make sure you get a chance to cast your new baby. Cost is another thing to consider. I have used some great rods that retail for $150 and some dogs that sell for over $500. Liarflies is an outfitter and not a retailer so I have nothing to sell you. My favorite rod is the one I am fishing with.


Here is where I get picky for the beginner angler. When I comes to leaders I like my clients in our Colorado Beginner Anglers’ Class to use a 7.5-foot 4X or 5X leader tapered down with a foot of 6X tippet. A 4X leader is going to have a stiffer butt section. The stiffer butt section is going to turn over bigger flies and nymph rigs easier. The 6X tippet will give you the stealthier presentation you loose with a 4X leader. As your casting skills improve consider using a 9-foot 4X or 5X leader tapered with 6X tippet. Remember these are my suggestions for beginner anglers here in Northern Colorado.

Fly Line and Backing:

WF 5 F…. WTF? Ha this isn’t “Rocket Surgery” it stands for weight forward 5 weight floating fly line. Match your line weight to your rod weight. Floating line is best for trout fishing. RIO and Scientific Anglers make some of the best fly line around…in my opinion. You will also need to match your reel to your line. The smaller the reel the smaller the line weight it was designed to hold. Think the diameter of the spool here. You will also need to consider that you will be adding backing. Backing attaches to your reel first. It serves two purposes. If you hook into the fish of a life time and it’s making a screaming run down stream and that trophy ends up pulling out all your fly-line you have “back-up”. I have been a guide for over 25 years. As a Steelhead Guide this happened all the time. As a trout guide it happens never. So, think of your backing as building up the diameter of your reel. That way you don’t have to make as many revolutions when you are reeling in all that line from breaking off that trophy fish.

Colorado Beginner Anglers’ Class:

Our Fly Fishing Instructors will cover all of this and much more in our Colorado Beginner Anglers’ Class. Using Special Use Permits this class will be conducted on the water. Parks are great for tossing a Frisbee not for learning how to fly fish. Learning how to fly-fish on the water is a no-brainer. This is a hands on class so come prepared to get on the water and practice where the fish are actually at.

The right fly rod and reel for you makes all the difference.



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