fly fishing tips for beginners

Fly Fishing Tips for Beginners - What Beginner Fly Anglers Need to Know to Get More Fish in the Net

So, you’ve decided to jump into the incredibly addicting world of fly fishing…

I can’t say I blame you. It’s been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding hobbies I’ve ever gotten into.

But I’m not going to lie…

It’s also been one of the most challenging at times. Trying to learn which flies picky trout and bass want, how to set up an indicator rig, or even what rod and reel you need can leave your head spinning. If you're just getting started, it can be a bit intimidating - there are so many different flies, rods, and techniques to choose from and learn about, and it's not always easy to know where to begin.

In this blog post, we'll go over some of the most important fly fishing tips for beginners, covering everything from selecting the right equipment to casting techniques and beyond. Whether you're an experienced angler looking to brush up on your skills or a complete beginner just getting your waders wet, don’t go it alone. Use these tips to speed up the process and save yourself a ton of frustration and time.

So grab your rod and let's get started.

Choose the Best Beginner Fly Fishing Gear for Your Goals

The first step to having a successful fly fishing outing is to make sure you have the right equipment. While there's an endless variety of fly fishing gear on the market, there are a few key pieces of equipment that every beginner should have to start fishing:

Fly Rod

best beginner fly rodFly fishing rods come in different lengths and weights, and the right rod for you will depend on the type of fish you're targeting and the conditions you'll be fishing in. As a general rule, beginner anglers should start with a 9-foot, 5-weight or 6-weight rod, as these are versatile sizes that can handle a wide variety of fish and conditions.


Fly Reel 

which fly rod and reel to use

Your reel is what holds your fly line, and it's important to choose a reel that's the right size for your rod. Again, a 5-weight or 6-weight reel are good choices for most beginner anglers, as they are suitable for a wide range of fly sizes and can handle a variety of fish.


Fly fishing line is what you'll use to cast your fly, and it's typically made of a braided or fused material. Beginner anglers should choose a weight-forward line, as this type of line is easier to cast and more forgiving of mistakes.

Most of the traditional fly fishing you'll be doing will be with a floating line. Floating fly line is just like what it sounds like. Your line will be suspended on the surface of the water when you cast it out.

If you're fishing in a lake or need to get down really deep quickly, you'll want to use a sinking line. Don't worry about that at this time. The majority of the time you are fishing will likely require a floating line. Using a fly line that matches your goals as an angler will help you land more fish and keep those lines tight.

Leaders and tippet

Leaders and tippet are what you'll use to attach your fly to your fly line, and they come in different lengths and strengths depending on the type of fish you're targeting. Beginner anglers should start with a 9-foot, 4X leader, as this is a versatile size that can handle most types of flies and fish.

As you progress and fish in different places you can build out the rest of your tippet collection. Just remember that your tippet should always be smaller than your leader. (For example, if you have a 4x leader, use a 5x or smaller tippet.)

Fishing Flies

Flies are what you'll use to lure in fish, and there are literally thousands of different types to choose from. For beginners, it's a good idea to start with a selection of basic patterns, such as nymphs, dry flies, and streamers, as these are effective for a wide range of fish species.

This is exactly what we’ve put together with the Brookbow Guide’s Stash Fly Kit. If you’re looking for a first fly kit and fly box that you can trust will catch fish in just about any situation, we’ve got you covered HERE.

best fishing flies for beginners

Fly Casting Tips

One of the most important skills you'll need to master as a fly angler is casting. While it may seem intimidating at first, casting is actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. 

Dialing in your fly fishing cast can increase your fun on the water, but it can also be intimidating for those who are new to the sport. Whether you're a seasoned angler looking to improve your skills or a complete novice just starting out, there are a few key things you'll need to know to get the most out of your fly fishing experience.

First and foremost, it's important to understand that fly fishing is all about timing and precision. In order to cast your fly effectively, you'll need to coordinate your movements and pay close attention to the direction and speed of your line. This can take some practice, but with a little patience and persistence, you'll be well on your way to casting at monster browns 50 feet away.

So, where do you start? One of the best ways to learn how to cast a fly fishing rod is to get some hands-on experience. 

There are a number of fly fishing schools and instructional programs available that can provide you with the guidance and support you need to get started. One of the best coaches out there on the subject is an incredible teacher named Dayle Mazzarella. 

He’s one of the world’s approximately 210 master casting instructors and we’ve actually partnered with him to give you access to his training methods. Plus, you can use his class all from the comfort of your own home or local park. Go HERE to access the training now.

If you're more of a do-it-yourself fisherman or fisherwoman, here are a few tips to follow if you’re training yourself:

As you begin to practice your casting technique, it's important to pay attention to your form and body positioning. The key is to keep your movements smooth and fluid, and to avoid any sudden or jerky motions. In order to achieve this, you'll need to pay close attention to your grip on the rod, your arm and wrist movements, and your overall body posture.

One of the most common mistakes that new fly fishers make is to overcast, or to try to cast their line too far. While it's certainly possible to cast long distances with a fly fishing rod, it's important to start small and work your way up as you gain more experience and confidence. Over time, you'll be able to fine-tune your technique and increase the distance of your casts as you become more comfortable and skilled.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. Whether you're learning from a professional instructor or on your own, there are always people who are willing to lend a hand and share their knowledge and experience. With a little guidance and some practice, you'll be well on your way to becoming a proficient fly fisher in no time.

how to cast a fly rod

Pay Attention to the Water to Become a Better Angler

Fly fishing is a sport that requires a lot of patience, skill, and knowledge. One of the most important things to master when fly fishing is reading the water. Understanding the flow of the river and where the fish are likely to be hiding can make all the difference in having a fish in the net and going home without feeling a tug. 

Here are some tips on how to read water when fly fishing:

Look for seams and eddies: Seams are areas where different currents meet and can create pockets of calm water. These areas are often where fish will rest or feed. Eddies are circular currents that can form behind rocks or other obstructions. These areas can also be good spots to find fish.

Pay attention to depth: Different species of fish prefer different depths, so it's important to pay attention to the depth of the water when fly fishing. Look for drop-offs or deeper pools where fish may be hiding.

Observe the surface: Look for ripples or disturbances on the surface of the water. These can be indicators of fish feeding or moving through the area.

Look for structure: Structures like rocks, logs, and vegetation can provide cover and food for fish. Look for these types of structures in the water and consider casting your fly near them.

Watch for insect activity: Observing the types of insects that are present can give you clues about what kind of fly to use. If you see a lot of mayflies, for example, consider using a mayfly pattern fly.


reading water for fly fishing


Ok, if you’re just getting started with fly fishing, following this guide should save you a lot of heartache and wasted time. Fly fishing is a beautiful sport and one that will hopefully be a part of your life until you grow old.

Just remember to take it one day of fishing at a time. There are endless mistakes beginner fly anglers make, and you'll likely make many of them. Just remember that each time you're out on the water, you'll learn something new.

If you take the time to practice these things and get out on the water whenever you can, I guarantee you’ll start catching a lot more fish.

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