How to Set Up a Fly Fishing Rod
How to Set Up a Fly Fishing Rod

How to Set Up a Fly Fishing Rod

The first thing most people learn in fly fishing is how to tie flies, but learning to set up your rod should really be the first step.

The very first thing you need to learn about setting up and using your fly fishing equipment is that there is always two ways to do everything involved with the sport. Well, maybe not always, sometime there are three or more ways to do it. Every fly fishing book you read will give you a slightly different take on the best way to do everything. This duality runs through the entire sport. There are two types of rods; there are two types of reel; there are two types of line, etc.

The key to rod selection and set up is the type of fishing that is going to be done. It would be great if there was a one rod fits all types of fishing situation here, but this is just not the case. The rod length might be around six feet for fishing small streams and up to fifteen feet when fishing salt water flats. The most recent trend in fly fishing rods is toward shorter and lighter rods as fishing in smaller bodies of water for different species has become popular. Still, you need to match the rod to the type of fishing you are planning or else expect to get several rods of different sizes.

The beginner is going to do best with a medium size rod. This will usually serve him for the first couple of years. He will be able to use it for both smaller and larger bodies of water and fish sizes. He will not have the best choice for either extreme, but will be safely in the middle no matter where he is fishing. As his own experience grows, he can select a rod more in line with his fishing interest.

When you are learning how to set up a fly fishing rod, give special attention to the line selection. Unlike casting rods, the line is more known for other attributes than just break strength. Quality line is essential. The big problem is what is called reel memory. The line must be played out fairly straight and natural to give the best presentation of the fly. Reel memory is where the line twists when played out due to being wound on the reel. Higher quality fly fishing line has virtually no reel memory.

The actual line is not attached directly to the spool as in casting reels. Rather it is attached to another section of line called the backing. Knowledge of knots is essential to preparing the fly rod. The Boy Scout merit badge illustrates this point as it requires that you demonstrate three different style knots. The backing is attached to the fly reel spool with an arbor backing knot. Then the backing is attached to the actual fly line with a nail knot. A short leader is attached to the end of the actual fly line with any one of three different knots. Finally, the fly itself most be attached to the leader.

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