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Chris17223August 25th, 2019, 2:24 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 2
Hi new to the forum, I’m thinking about taking up fly fishing but it seems very overwhelming. I’m debating on taking it up over deer hunting as hunting isn’t the same since loosing my places to hunt an I’m seeking a new hobby. I love fishing with spinners an live bait. Just any tips in getting started an what gear for small stream fishing for trout, smallmouth, an blue gills would be my target fish. Thank you
Christopher
TroutnutAugust 25th, 2019, 10:01 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2541
Don't be overwhelmed. It doesn't take much to get started having fun, and you can choose to keep it simple or dive as deep as you want into the details as you go along. Most of the technical things on this website, like all the entomology information, aren't necessary to start catching some trout. They just help with catching more trout at times in some of the most difficult places. I began fly fishing with an inexpensive, gifted fly rod and a few flies I knew nothing about, on a river I didn't know how to fish, and I caught one trout. I had so much fun that I became obsessed with it.

As for gear, an inexpensive 5-weight rod and reel setup would be ideal for starting out. Don't go with Wal Mart type stuff if you can help it, but you don't need to spend $300+ on your first rod either. Go to a real fly shop and tell them you're looking for an inexpensive starter setup (unless you're rich, I guess) and have them show you how everything works: backing, line, leader, tippet, etc. Tell them what you want to fish for and get recommendations for some basic flies.

Taking a casting lesson or two at first is a really good idea, but not completely necessary. There are plenty of good books and Youtube videos to learn from, too. Learning fly casting is 99 % about practice, but it helps a lot to have somebody tell you what to practice doing differently until you get the hang of it and learn what a good cast feels like.

Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfAugust 26th, 2019, 4:06 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2903
Good advice, Jason. My first experiences fly fishing are like yours. It also helps if you can find a few guys to help you get started. A local Trout Unlimited group will often have some guys who are willing to take a new guy out a time or two. Or take a lesson from a guide if you can afford it. I've been fishing a while, and went out with a guide this spring who gave me a number of helpful tips to sharpen my nymphing game. One other thing that you might try is starting with warmwater fishing mainly. Panfish can be a lot of fun to catch on a fly rod. For small streams, an 8 foot rod may be useful, and you may find a 4 weight fun if the fish are small. A good fly shop will help you a lot, and give you a chance to try out rods. Sometimes they offer casting lessons.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Chris17223August 26th, 2019, 4:57 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 2
Thanks for the advice, I googled an there’s a local shop about 20 miles from me that I’m going to check out. My limit is 4,000 to start out with. Spending less would be a bonus lol
Christopher
TroutnutAugust 26th, 2019, 12:56 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2541
You can stay WAY under a $4,000 limit. I'd suggest going for a rod and reel from a high-quality brand (e.g., Sage, Orvis, G Loomis, St Croix, Temple Fork Outfitters, and I'm probably forgetting a few), but you can typically go with one of their cheapest offerings. Usually the extra cost for the really high-end gear just gives you similar performance (or slightly better in advanced hands) for slightly lighter weight.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
WbranchAugust 26th, 2019, 4:12 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
Hi Chris.

My limit is 4,000 to start out with.


Whoa there newbie! You don't (and shouldn't) have to spend anywhere near $3000 to get started in fly fishing and with some sound equipment. Where do you live in PA? I live in York and would be happy to mentor you via emails or PM or meeting in person if it is logistically possible.

Here is what you need to get yourself into the water;

1. Waders - Breathable - $125 - $200
2. Wading shoes - preferably felt soles - $50 - $125
3. Fly rod (length depends on where you fish) 7' 6" - 9' - $100 - $200
4. Fly reel $50 - $100
5. Fly line $35 - $75
6. Backing - $15
7. Tapered leaders - $15
8. Tippet - $12
9. Vest or chest pack to store fly boxes, clippers, stuff - $40 - $100
10.Fly box - $20 - $40
11.Flies - The sky is the limit! Seriously $50 - $100

So around $502 at the lower spend limit to $982 for the upper end.

I'm quite sure your local fly shop will give you good advice but you might want to stop by here after you speak to him, and before you buy anything, for further input.










Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PartsmanAugust 28th, 2019, 10:08 am
bancroft michigan

Posts: 232
Chris, listen to Matt, don't go nuts yet I admire your enthusasim, and your going to enjoy the journey, but save a bunch of money and learn to cast and maybe go out with some guides on waters you intend to fish a lot and learn, then find a fly shop that has tying classes and learn to tie your own. It makes it so much more satisfying. Me personally, Im a old man some Im screwing with some new rods, but really I want to do some guide trips on a river that im really liking, learn and learn somemore!

Mike.
SmallflyguyAugust 30th, 2019, 5:11 am
Posts: 16On the other hand, spend it all now and tire of it quickly. That way you will save a significantly greater sum of money in the future.
Deception is my art
StrmanglrAugust 30th, 2019, 9:25 am
Posts: 153
I've been at this fly fishing thing for about 10 years or better. Money spent on gear that entire time, I'm a bit over a $1000 only because of wader purchases, take the waders out and I know I'm under a $1000 easy.
WbranchAugust 30th, 2019, 3:37 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
I know I'm under a $1000 easy


I'm curious about how many days a year do you fish? You must have had to buy lines a couple of times. Wading shoes don't last me more than five years. Higher prices waders go for $350 - $500. I probably bought two pairs over the past ten years. What about flies? Even if you tie you need hooks, material, other stuff. I guess it is a matter of degrees. I fish 80 - 100 days a year and admittedly I like to buy stuff just because I can and not because I need it.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
StrmanglrAugust 31st, 2019, 3:47 pm
Posts: 153
I know I'm under a $1000 easy


I'm curious about how many days a year do you fish? You must have had to buy lines a couple of times. Wading shoes don't last me more than five years. Higher prices waders go for $350 - $500. I probably bought two pairs over the past ten years. What about flies? Even if you tie you need hooks, material, other stuff. I guess it is a matter of degrees. I fish 80 - 100 days a year and admittedly I like to buy stuff just because I can and not because I need it.


I've went through a pair of cheap neoprenes with boots attached. Those were covered in silicone when they went in the trash. A cheap pair of frog toggs waders. I've had my Simms replaced for free once and hopefully they'll do it again. Got to get in contact with them on that. Got a back up pair of waders this year for $140. I just got my second pair of Simms boots this year, first pair ran me about $150 I think, the new ones $200.

As for tying stuff, a lot I bought at a local shop that charged reasonable prices. 25 hooks for $3-4 a pack. Their stuff was easily 25% less than what I could get it for anywhere else, at that time. I don't have exotic feathers. Just the basics. I also don't have a lot of tying material. I don't try to tie everything under the sun. Got about 6-8 patterns of dries in various sizes I use. Same with nymphs, not a lot of patterns, about the same or less. I practically never use streamers although I should, I have an abundance of material for that. I also don't tie just to tie. I carry two fly boxes, one wets and one dries. I have a back up box that I don't carry, it's big.

Those guys at the fly shop sold me a Regal type vise for $30. Works great for me, I dont need a super duper $400 rotary vise, my flies look as good as anything out there. I don't tie anything smaller than an 18.

When I was new to trout fishing I was on the river twice a week every week until winter. The last couple years I haven't been out anywhere near what I want. Got a house that needs a lot of work and I got a dog about 5 years ago and that slowed me down too.

The most expensive rod I own is a Cabelas combo I love that ran about $200. I got a couple rods less than $50 each when I started. One is a 7' 5wt that I use all the time on small creeks. The other is a St Croix 9'8wt that I don't use, action is too slow. So I bought another 8wt and I spent around $60 on, if that. So, I only have 4 fly rods and one doesn't get used. 8wt for steelhead and salmon, the other two for everything else.

I built a spinning rod that cost me $125 and I thought that was way too much. I broke it and wasn't too happy with myself about it. I don't want to carry a rod that's several hundred dollars. I'm on another fishing forum and I see these guys debating between a couple $8-900 rods and I just shake my head. No huge fish or number of fish to me can justify that. I would probably quit fly fishing if I busted one of those or got it stolen, I'd be sick.

I buy only what I need. That goes for quality as well. My equipment doesn't keep me from catching fish.

I could spend that kind of money, I can afford it. But it wouldn't change how many fish I catch and the fish don't care if I'm casting w a $1000 set-up or a $100 one.

You out fish me by a long shot for days on the water. I wish I could be out there that much.

I will say, I'm impressed by my Cabelas combo on the power and ease of casting it has. It has made me think of getting something better for steelhead and salmon. I walked into Cabelas about a month ago with several hundred bucks in my pocket to spend on whatever. All I walked out with, a new thing to hold my floatant on my vest.



StrmanglrAugust 31st, 2019, 3:49 pm
Posts: 153
I know I'm under a $1000 easy


I'm curious about how many days a year do you fish? You must have had to buy lines a couple of times. Wading shoes don't last me more than five years. Higher prices waders go for $350 - $500. I probably bought two pairs over the past ten years. What about flies? Even if you tie you need hooks, material, other stuff. I guess it is a matter of degrees. I fish 80 - 100 days a year and admittedly I like to buy stuff just because I can and not because I need it.


I've went through a pair of cheap neoprenes with boots attached. Those were covered in silicone when they went in the trash. A cheap pair of frog toggs waders. I've had my Simms replaced for free once and hopefully they'll do it again. Got to get in contact with them on that. Got a back up pair of waders this year for $140. I just got my second pair of Simms boots this year, first pair ran me about $150 I think, the new ones $200.

As for tying stuff, a lot I bought at a local shop that charged reasonable prices. 25 hooks for $3-4 a pack. Their stuff was easily 25% less than what I could get it for anywhere else, at that time. I don't have exotic feathers. Just the basics. I also don't have a lot of tying material. I don't try to tie everything under the sun. Got about 6-8 patterns of dries in various sizes I use. Same with nymphs, not a lot of patterns, about the same or less. I practically never use streamers although I should, I have an abundance of material for that. I also don't tie just to tie. I carry two fly boxes, one wets and one dries. I have a back up box that I don't carry, it's big.

Those guys at the fly shop sold me a Regal type vise for $30. Works great for me, I dont need a super duper $400 rotary vise, my flies look as good as anything out there. I don't tie anything smaller than an 18.

When I was new to trout fishing I was on the river twice a week every week until winter. The last couple years I haven't been out anywhere near what I want. Got a house that needs a lot of work and I got a dog about 5 years ago and that slowed me down too.

The most expensive rod I own is a Cabelas combo I love that ran about $200. I got a couple rods less than $50 each when I started. One is a 7' 5wt that I use all the time on small creeks. The other is a St Croix 9'8wt that I don't use, action is too slow. So I bought another 8wt and I spent around $60 on, if that. So, I only have 4 fly rods and one doesn't get used. 8wt for steelhead and salmon, the other two for everything else.

I built a spinning rod that cost me $125 and I thought that was way too much. I broke it and wasn't too happy with myself about it. I don't want to carry a rod that's several hundred dollars. I'm on another fishing forum and I see these guys debating between a couple $8-900 rods and I just shake my head. No huge fish or number of fish to me can justify that. I would probably quit fly fishing if I busted one of those or got it stolen, I'd be sick.

I buy only what I need. That goes for quality as well. My equipment doesn't keep me from catching fish.

I could spend that kind of money, I can afford it. But it wouldn't change how many fish I catch and the fish don't care if I'm casting w a $1000 set-up or a $100 one.

You out fish me by a long shot for days on the water. I wish I could be out there that much.

I will say, I'm impressed by my Cabelas combo on the power and ease of casting it has. (I know some would chuckle at that and call it cheap)It has made me think of getting something better for steelhead and salmon. I walked into Cabelas about a month ago with several hundred bucks in my pocket to spend on whatever. All I walked out with, a new thing to hold my floatant on my vest.



StrmanglrSeptember 1st, 2019, 8:18 am
Posts: 153
I checked my boxes, I was a little conservative on the number of patterns but not much.
WbranchSeptember 2nd, 2019, 7:38 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
I've had my Simms replaced for free once and hopefully they'll do it again. Got to get in contact with them on that.


I hope you have better success than I did. I bought a pair of their mid priced Headwaters for $450 in June of 2016. When I got a leak in the right lower leg seam I send them in for repair. About three weeks later they were returned, not repaired, with a letter "Dear Mr. Hanist we hope you enjoyed your Simms waders because we believe they have reached the end of their serviceable life".

I found the leak in ten minutes and repaired it in half an hour with a long iron on patch on the inside and Aqua Seal on the outside and they are fine. I'll never buy another Simms product. Not because the quality is inferior but because their repair policy sucks and they didn't even have the courtesy to tell me in advance that they weren't going to repair them.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
StrmanglrSeptember 2nd, 2019, 9:40 am
Posts: 153
That's surprising to me.

If they aren't serviceable then replace them!

Mine I got replaced were in really bad shape. I had patched every seam on the things. Had aqua seal inside and out. They developed a leak between the breathable material and the neoprene foot. I patched that whole seam twice, still didn't get it to stop leaking.

I shudder to think what I'll spend next time. In June I was up in Grayling in the fly shop and looked at the price of their Simms. Wow! They've doubled in price easy since I bought that first pair.

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