Talking to the locals at your nearby fishing shop is a great and easy way to leave with the exact rod, reel, and fly line you’ll need. However, there are some things you should know before you waltz on in there. You’ll need to know what kind of fish you’ll be aiming for, and where you plan on fishing. For instance, fishing at a lake yields much bigger fish than what you’ll find in some rivers, streams, and ponds.
Fishing for trout in rivers and streams means you should use line weights 4-6. A four-weight outfit will make it more fun to catch smaller fish because they’ll have enough strength to bend your rod. If you’re fishing for bass, you’ll want a heavier outfit since their flies tend to be larger and bass are known for their aggressive take. If you’re a beginner, this probably doesn’t make a ton of sense just yet, but we’ll get more into the weight, action and more here.
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Here is a beginners guide to picking your rod, reel, and fly line. Rods are given an action (or flex) and a weight. A fast action rod will bend from the tip when its cast, while a slow action rod will bend about a quarter down the length of the rod. A mid-action rod will bend somewhere between the two, this is a good in-between that most beginners can feel comfortable using.
A fast action rod will generally be stiffer which means more power on the cast. If you know you’ll be fishing a lot in the wind or casting large distances like from a bank, then a fast action is recommended. What you don’t get out of a fast action rod, but you’ll notice in a slow action rod, is refined accuracy. Slow rods are also best suited for catching smaller fish, since you’ll notice weaker strikes much sooner and the general level of flex doesn’t fare well with bigger fish.
Your fly line determines which kind of rod and reel you add. To understand which weight line you should use, you must know that a lower weight is a lighter line. Too heavy a line and you risk slamming your fly into the water. A light line has issues casting in the wind. You’ll want to also pay attention to the size of your fly. A heavy fly paired with a light line means you risk scaring the fish as it lands. Ideally, you’ll want to use a lighter fly than your line, but not by much. A weight of 5-6 is perfect for trout.
A rods weight has to do with the weight of the fly line that it is best suited for. Simply put, a lower weight (wt) means a lower weight fly line, and a lower weight reel. To make building your outfit easy, just make sure your rod, reel, and line have the same weight.
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