How To Practice Fly Fishing
Casting fly rods is a skill that takes lots and lots of practice. Your best form of practice would come from going to the local watering hole and practicing on the water. However not every fly angler has convenient access to a body of water. If you are of the latter you still need to practice in order to optimize the time you do get on the water.
Practice on whatever surface you can. The street, lawn, dirt road, whatever is close and easiest for you. Any other surface than water will damage your fly lines though so it’s a good idea to have a separate outfit just for practice. Fly ties also connection. Or at least have a line cleaner and dressing to apply to the line after practicing.
This article is not about the tactics of fly casting, but about the fly fishing strategy. So first you’ll want to practice getting the feeling for when the rod is loaded and ready to shoot. Make sure the entire head and about 2 feet of running line are outside of the rod tip. Do a back cast and make a long pause before doing a forward cast. This will teach you what a loaded fly rod feels like. Once you get the hang of that, practice shooting the loaded line on the forward cast.
When you’re comfortable shooting line, it’s time to practice accuracy. Accuracy is usually more important than distance in actual fly fishing situations. If you can shoot 50 feet easily, you’re ready to practice accuracy. Set up cones with hula hoops around them at 30, 40, 50 and 60 feet from you. Practice getting the fly inside the hula hoop at each distance. This is your most important practice. Once you’ve mastered this, you can go through the same process at greater lengths to practice distance.
If you’re going saltwater or warm water fishing, you’re going to want to train yourself to strip set as well. Set up an object that you can cast at and a hook will get stuck on if you hit it. A short, heavy piece of wood will work. Cast the fly behind the wood. Then drive it home with a long steady strip, all while keeping the rod tip pointed down.
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