Ontario Fly Fishing Outfitting for a Beginner

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Fly Fishing Rod And Reel










Traditional fishing aside many anglers visiting the northern regions of Ontario come for their first fly fishing experience.  Fly fishing is commonly associated with specific fish species such as rainbow trout, brook trout and speckled trout but many visitors to the province also enjoy fly fishing for northern pike, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. While some purists will often visit lodges, resorts and fly in camps in search of traditional trout many are experimenting with different types of fish that provide exciting angling memories.

If you are like many then making the switch from spinning and bait casting reels and rods to your first fly rod can be extremely intimidating and many would like to try it for the first time. Like other sports most don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on new equipment when they first take on a new venture to make sure that they will pursue it further in the future. So what should you be looking for in fly fishing equipment if you are deciding to try it for the first time? Like most other fishing rods and reels it usually comes down to personal preference and what type of fish you will be targeting. Fly rods can be just as versatile as regular spinning or bait casting rods and choosing a rod and reel with good overall performance will allow you to fish multiple species yet keeping some money left over in the pocketbook.

For those with some basic knowledge of fly fishing you already know that it is truly another art form and mastering it with some degree of finesse can take years of practice. With that being said where does one start when looking to delve into the realm of fly fishing? First off you will need a fly rod and reel. Now you might think it’s just as simple as running down to your local tackle and outfitter outlet and grabbing something right of the shelf but for a first time fly angler it is not. Fly rods and reels can be quite pricey as most new fishing gear is so take the time to evaluate your needs over your wants.  Getting over your head and being sold something that doesn’t suit your needs or skill happens all too often so do a little homework before you start looking. If you are the type who simply demands the best no matter what then be prepared to spend some time looking at many fine rods and reels that are indeed works of art.

Generally fly rods are ranked by weight and capabilities. Other contributing factors that should influence your decision are the types of waters you will be fishing. Will you be fishing rivers and streams or lake systems?  River fly rods are generally shorter in length as casting distances are reduced. On most occasions in slow moving rivers and creeks trout are in pools or moving current at closer range and thus a rod lighter in weight such as a 7’3 will handle just about any situation in those conditions.

Faster moving water and lakes generally require a larger rod not only for the increase in casting distance but also for the size of fish and many will settle on a 9’5. Larger fish species do require more backbone in a fly rod. A good all around taper for the novice fly angler is usually a medium action. Newer rods on the market are able to target multi species and are mostly rated between 7-9 weight. These are a great choice for a beginner as they are more versatile when it comes to fish species. Now that you have an idea of the weight and action of the fly rod you need to think about the construction. Fly rods come in many different forms and a rod of fiberglass construction is a good choice for a beginner as they are a little more hardy and easier on the pocketbook yet provide good overall performance.

After you have a rod picked out you should start to think about how you are going to reel in that fish.  For a beginner reel you should look for a simple design with few bells and whistles.  Quality construction should be your primary concern and check that the drag system works properly and adjusts with every turn and that you can feel the incremental pressure differences. A poor drag system will lose more fish than you could ever imagine so pay extra attention to this detail.

Fly line should be matched to the weight of the rod and is usually matched with a less expensive backing of similar line strength. Any reputable fly shop will spool backing for you and setup your line and reel. If in doubt always ask a pro. In the fly fishing world there is never a dumb question. If you don’t feel comfortable at the first fly shop you visit then visit another. Most seasoned fly anglers and pros will take the time to instruct you on what you need over what you don’t need and the experience from these veterans should be appreciated. Just think…You have a new fly rod and reel. Next you get to decide what flies and bait to tip it with. That my friend is a whole new world into itself.


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2008. Ontario Fish Trips .
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