Helping a Novice Get Started

Helping a novice Fly fisher to get started

By Gerry Frederick

If you have been a fly fisher for years you probably have been called upon to assist someone get started in the sport. Strangers, family and friends make up this group of eager beginners that want what you got. They see the fluid art of the casting. The moment of impact when the fish strike. The overall simple approach to the whole effort to catch fish is appealing to most everyone that witnesses a fly fisherman working the water.

Helping a novice Fly fisher to get started is easier because beginners have an advantage over those of us that have been at it for years. They don’t have all the bad habits that we do. And while we are working with novice fly fishers we can get them started on the right track and perhaps straighten out our own difficulties at the same time.

Things like over casting. What I mean by that is trying to cast as far as we can. Beginners just can’t cast far so we must show them how to be an effective fly fisher at much shorter distances. Just helping a novice to cast at all will keep our feet on the ground. We must break down the casting to effective short controllable distances. Show them how to master casting and fishing at distances of forty feet or less.

Selecting flies are also important. We need to explain why we choose the flies we do. Why we cast to the areas we cast to. How to manage the fly line and retrieve the fly in a manner that hopefully will produce fish. Teaching knot tying is another important part of the sport. No one wants to loose a fish after all this effort to a poorly attached fly.

As we work our way through our time with novice fly fishers we also teach ourselves that sometimes we over do it all. We realize that we really don’t need and the stuff we carry to catch fish. We over do the gear, the fly box, the clothing and even mindset. It all comes with our desire to catch more fish and look and feel good doing it.

As a teacher to a novice fly fisher we find ways to pass along our experience and probably help ourselves polish our own game. The old adage that says, “Keep it simple stupid” helps the novice as well as the teacher.

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2 thoughts on “Helping a Novice Get Started”

  1. Jackie says:

    It is so important to introduce youth to the sport of fishing And finding ways to make it easy and get them “on the fish”. You’re so right – teacher and pupil benefit. Great article.

    1. Larry Dunbar says:

      Hi Jackie, this is a good article. Gerry has it right. I spent a lot of time getting my daughter started fishing, but alas it never stuck. The good news is I’ll soon get a do-over when my toddler grandbaby gets a little older. Debbie Kay’s article “Fishing with Kids has Long Term Benefits”, discusses the real benefits of teaching little ones to fish. It is another well thought out piece.
      Larry Dunbar