Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 16 September 2015

During the past ten years I have been teaching fly fishing to a lot of students. A significant percentage of beginners have been included. They all had a lot of questions how to get started. In this front page I am offering some answers based on my experience.

The last week I taught (coastal) fly fishing for Sea Trout to a mixed group of students. Both beginners and advanced were in the group. It was a 7 days learning-trip, which I hosted. My main goals were to coach everyone:

A) How to choose the tackle. 1. the fly, 2. the leader, 3. the fly line, 4. the fly rod, 5. everything else being important.

B) How to set up the tackle (fly fishing knots included).

C) How to fly cast.

D) How to present the fly to the fish (different strategies for different situations) – both fly casting and retrieving techniques included.

E) How to tie proper flies for different situations based on the fish we were after.

F) How to play the fish.

G) How to handle the fish.

Before starting the whole trip I sent everyone a tackle list what to bring. Clothes were included here. A lot of beginners underestimate the importance of proper clothes! We had one total beginner in the group. I offered to lend all the equipment. He took my offer and is now buying his own equipment based on the experience he gained during the trip. This is a much better way as when one straight runs into a fly fishing shop and starts buying lots of (often pretty expensive) stuff.

Such an educational fly fishing trip is (I think) the best way how to get started.

Another proper way though is to participate in a fly casting course first. I recommend borrowing the tackle from the teacher. It simply is much easier to decide what to buy AFTER having had a proper lesson.

From the list above A), C) and F) are the most important key points. I would make sure to have them included within the first lesson. F) (how to play the fish) is mostly forgotten by many teachers. Personally I play the fish in the end of every beginner’s lesson. Simply I am running of the student’s fly line from his reel. Learning to handle this is everything but not simple. But hey, this easily can get one of the most important steps to YOUR first fish on fly rod. And who wouldn't want to have a successful landing to be included!?

Last week my beginner student managed to hook up with a very serious Sea Trout and lost it due to a broken leader. It broke due to a knot in the tippet. He saw the knot but felt too tired to remove it. Well, we all know how one feels near the end of a long fishing day – especially when just getting started in fly fishing… Anyway I (pre-)recommended always removing every knot when fishing for serious fish.

Of course even the best teachers can’t keep you from still making a few mistakes and that’s fair. I think it helps to learn even quicker afterwards! ;)

Hopefully I offered you beginners (and you teachers as well) some interesting thoughts on how to get started in fly fishing. No need to say: FLY FISHING is among the best things you can do in live. For me it is the best!

Marina and I fished an additional day for Sea trout after the trip and then went home. Right now Marina and I are on the way to south Germany for teaching fly casting. I think there might still be a nice carp waiting for our fly as well!?

Nice week to all of you!

All my best


P.s.: When looking for a proper fly fishing teacher – especially when searching thru a list of certified fly casting instructors – make sure he has serious experience in fly fishing for the species of fish you will/might be aiming to fish for.

As always some pictures of the past days…

fly fishing school