Fly Fishing Expert Advice

Get Started with Great Trout Fishing Instruction

Fly fishing enthusiast and guide Jeff Marshall, who runs this site, has written a concise guide for the beginning fly angler. His short essay is about as close as one can come to have a favourite uncle who just happens to be a fly-fishing expert and is delighted to introduce you to his beloved sport.

Marshall begins with a bit of philosophical musing about fly fishing. He explains a part of the mystery that all fly-fishing addicts understand that trout live in beautiful places. To pursue wild fish, one must spend time in wild places. He also reveals the second element of fly fishing’s challenge: “You will not be able to techno your way to success in fly fishing.” Unlike some types of hunting and fishing that use super scopes, sophisticated game-finding equipment, and game management that puts the quarry right where the hunter or angler wants it to be, fly fishing relies, as it always has, on the angler’s ability to find fish in their natural habitat and then entice the fish into taking the fly. Possessors of such skills work hard to acquire them. They must learn about fish, the waters where they live and the food they eat. They must gain a deep understanding of the environment surrounding the fish, so much so that they step into it and become a part of it. They must attain insight. Loftin says, “Wilful development of insight is something the world could use.”

Fly Fishing Equipment

Fish do not fear logos” and “Price has nothing to do with performance” are two often-repeated bits of Jeff Marshall’s advice. His overview of outfitting includes rods, reels, boots, waders, vests, nets, fly fishing lines, and more. While he is certainly correct in his estimation of a trout’s ability to discern any difference between a fly presented with a big-name, expensive rig and one fished with a bargain outfit, there is a point at which inexpensive becomes cheap. Equipment good enough to catch fish need not be costly, but it needs to be enough to function properly and withstand regular use. That said, few experienced anglers would argue with Loftin’s assertion that successful fly fishing depends more upon the fisherman’s skill than upon the price of his equipment.

How to Fly Fish

Having assured the reader that a slim wallet should be no serious impediment to learning the art of fly fishing, Loftin presents the how-to portion of his guide. He covers casting, mending, knot tying, wading, river approach, and spotting fish. His outstanding directions for building a leader should enable any beginner to master this confusing task.

This little guide also presents a brief yet clear picture of trout behaviour. Loftin tells readers where trout are likely to be found in diverse types of water, what they eat, and when to anticipate their feeding times.

Readers with no fishing experience could find some how-to advice difficult to picture. However, reading the advice again after gaining some experience on the water will be all that is needed for the descriptions to make perfect sense.

Fishing Guides

A fishing guide himself, Marshall gives practical advice about fishing successfully with a guide. He stresses the importance of being honest with the guide. The guide can tailor the fishing trip to maximize success with a clear understanding of the client’s experience, ability, and desires. Clients need to let their guides know whether they are interested in catching big fish, a lot of fish, or just some fish. Loftin points out that guides find out quickly what skill level clients possess, so there is no point in exaggerating beforehand. This is excellent advice. Fishermen who misrepresent their skills to their guides wind up looking silly to everyone else on the water, and they don’t catch many fish. The client who is upfront about being ready to learn will be able to do just that.

Although his great little guide is not currently available in print form, readers can find it on his bait website