Sunday, July 21, 2019

Fly Fishing Basics – An Introductory Guide

Fly fishing Small still waters the best way to Start Fly Fishing

Stillwater Fly fishing could be split into one of two categories, the small commercial fisheries heavily stocked with rainbow trout into double figures, and the large reservoirs such as Rutland and Brenig.

Wherevever you decide to begin your fly fishing I am certain that you will find it a very enjoyable pastime.

If you are new to fly fishing then there is no better place to start than out than on one of the many small commercial fisheries.

A small stillwater fishery for  starting flyfishing

Small stillwaters are the ideal place to begin flyfishing

What Tackle Do You Need?

Tackle is the equipment used by fishermen.  This can include hooks, lines, sinkers, floaters, baits, nets, and more.  To see the basic set of stillwater fly fishing tackle to begin with, take a look at our list below:

Fly fishing Rod

a fly rod for flyfishing

Choose a fly rod for #6 or #7 flylines

Take care when buying a fly rod as each fly rod is designed for a line weight. Line weights range from 1 through to 15 and I would suggest that you start with a 6 or 7.  You can read more about line weights on our other pages.




Fly fishing  Reel

flky fishing reels

Orvis fly fishing reels

Fly reels come in all price ranges – some have a drag system to make playing a fish easier, some have a quick change spool system to enable switching between different lines.  A simple basic reel such as Shakespeare’s Omni fly reel is ideal to start out with.


Fly Line

fly fishing line

Choose the correct weight fly line

Find a fly line with a weight that matches your chosen fly rod.  There are three basic types;

Double Taper, weight forward or shooting head. From that, there are also floating, sinking or intermediate.

Make it easy for yourself and start out with a weight forward floating fly line. This is a perfect starting place for beginners.




Another item you will need is a leader – this is the monofilament that connects the fly line to the fly, you need one that is about 9 feet long.


fly fishing net

You will need a landing net, to land your catch

Landing Net


A landing net is used to help sweep up a fish when it is near the surface of the water. There are a few things to consider when purchasing a net, a telescopic handle is handy.

If you plan on returning your catch then you should consider using a knotless mesh net, as this is less damaging to the fish. Some fisheries will insist on this.





There are many options when it comes to choosing flies.

I would suggest that you have the following;

Pheasant tail nymph, gold head hares ear, shipmans buzzer, damsel, and a couple of dry flies depending on the time of season.

preist for fly fishing

Use a priest to kill your catch quickly and humanely


This is a heavy club to dispatch your catch quickly. Some fishermans priests have a long marrow spoon on one end, this is so that after you have dispatched your trout you can use it to find out what the fish has been feeding on, this can help you to match your own fly to the natural aquatic life in the water.



Other Vital Bits and Pieces

Above are the essentials, but you will need a few other things if you want to become successful at fly fishing.

Scissors are handy for cutting line and more, forceps are helpful to remove hooks from fish.

Eye protection is vital when you are casting a fly, so use quality sunglasses.  A good pair of polarised sunglasses are a useful and functional accessory, as these will help you to spot any fish activity under the surface.

You will also need a bag for your tackle. Another option is a fly-fishing vest; this saves you carrying a bag around and everything that you need will always be close at hand.

That’s it, you’re all set to go!

There are lots of other items that you can buy, but start with these essentials and build up from there.

This hobby of ours can become very addictive, and like everyone else you will probably start to enjoy buying the latest craze items to improve your fly fishing.

Rest assured, you do not need any more than what I have listed above to be able to catch plenty of fish.

So you have the tackle, you have turned up at the water and set your tackle up, what now?

Begin by choosing which fly to use.  Look around see what’s hatching on the water, for example, are the trout rising and taking flies off the surface? If so, use one of your dry flies.

After you have attached your dry fly, cast out onto the water. If there is any activity around your fly be ready to strike by giving the rod a sharp upward pull to set the hook in the trout.

If there is no surface activity, then I would suggest starting with the hare’s ear or damsel. Once the fly is attached and cast out into the lake, this time you will need to use a slow retrieve.  Remember, in this case you are trying to fool the trout into thinking your fly is a small aquatic creature. When a trout takes your fly you may feel it through your rod, but you will more likely see your line straighten quickly

This again is when you need to strike!

After hooking a trout he will put up a fight, so don’t just try to reel him in.  Let him run, while you keep your line tight and keep some pressure on.  Too much pressure and you will snap your line.  Too little, and your line will go slack and he could easily slip off the hook.

As the trout tires out you can bring him in towards your waiting landing net.  Be warned – often as soon as the trout sees you or your net he will make one last dart for freedom.  Be prepared for this as just when you think he is beaten he suddenly shakes his head and darts back out.

After you have landed your first trout you will either want to kill it to keep for the table, or release it back into the water to fight another day.

If you plan to keep it, hold it using the net as soon as you have it out of the water to help your grip.  Then, give it a sharp, hard tap on the back of his head.  This will quickly dispatch the trout.

If you are returning it then try not to take it out of the water.  Unhook it while still in the net and try not to touch the fish at all. If you are fishing catch and release you are best to squeeze the barbs on your hook with a pair of pinchers which makes it much easier to remove the hook from the mouth of the fish.

Before you is a very brief beginner’s guide to learning to fly fish.  There is much more information available on this site if you click around and explore., Plus, you will learn lots from fellow anglers at the waterside once you get out and give it a try.


Some tackle suggestions

Ron Thompson 9’6” fly rod = £35.00

Shakespeare Fly Reel = £21.00

Shakespeare Fly Line= £22.00

Leda Leaders set of 3 =£4.99

Shakespeare fly fishing vest £21.99

Fly assortment Approx £10.00

Priest approx £10.00

Shakespeare Landing Net £12.00

AS you can see, you are able to purchase a complete kit for under £150, and remember your eye protection!

I have listed many Shakespeare items above, and that is because they have very good quality products at budget prices.  These products will be a perfect place to start your fly fishing journey.

As well as a day ticket for your chosen fly fishing venue, you will also need a licence issued by the enviroment agency, there is more details on this on our page about licences.

You can purchase the licence here. The licence you need for small stillwater fly fishing venues is Non-Migratory trout & Coarse.




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Fishing in the UK

The internet is an amazing resource when it comes to fishing. It can be used first of all to find the places that you would like to fish, then when you have decided where to fish you can use the map features to help you get there.

There is a huge amount of angling information in the form of videos, blog posts and official websites.


Beach Fishing

You can find out anything from when is the best time of year to catch a sea trout to how to unhook an eel.

Fishing is a very broad topic with so many different types of fishing, for instance the category of game fishing could also be split into fly fishing, spinning, bait fishing then there’s Salmon and sea trout,  brown trout, Stillwater or river the list just goes on and on.

Here on  this blog site I have divided up into three main topics of coarse, sea and game angling, I will be updating the site regularly so that hopefully it will grow into a fantastic resource for both seasoned anglers and newcomers to the sport.

There is also a store on the site where all of the items have been hand picked, and each week there will be at least 3 featured products.

I have noticed that most of the internet fishing sites are based in the united states, I don’t know why, but when I watch those American fishing shows it looks a lot easier over there to catch a good sized fish.

This site is aimed at fishing in the UK.

Some of the topics I hope to cover in the coming weeks are:-

Game Fishing

Stillwater Flyfishing

River Flyfishing

Float tubing

Coarse Fishing

Float Fishing (explanations of different types of floats and different set ups etc.)

Carp Fishing (Modern tactics, choosing the right tackle)

Stillwater fishing

River fishing.

Sea Fishing

Beach Fishing  (Casting advice different baits, where to go.)

Pier fishing


Kayak fishing  (this is the most amazing way to fish)

Please feel free to email any ideas or leave a comment on any of the blog pages.





Angling or Fishing as it is populary called, originated as a means of providing food by man, it is an act where one hunts for fish using, the hook, line and sinker, this act has conservatively grown over the years into several faces, today it is not just an act of hunting for seafood but it is also a game, a hobby and a sport to be engaged in. Fishing’s popularity whether for pleasure or as a competitive sport is at an all time high, it is estimated that there are well over 6.1 million people in the UK that fish regulary. here in this articles I will show you 5 things you should know before you start fishing, especially coarse fishing in the UK.

Basically in a very simple term fishing is throwing out a fishing line and pulling in any fish that goes for your baited fishing hook or fishing lure. This actually sounds so plain and very simple, however, various fishing disciplines have emerged that targets specific fishing conditions and species of fish. These variations have their own unique equipments, know how’s, and technical skills that may be specific to the type of water in which an angler will be fishing or the kind of fish that is targeted.

There are actually three main genres of fishing, or angling as it is popularly and commonly called: here they are below,

  1. Coarse: Coarse angling, is what we call fishing for any species of freshwater fish other than Trout and Salmon.
  2. Game: While Game fishing pertains to the pursuit of Trout and Salmon.
  3. Sea fishing: as the name suggests, is fishing for species that inhabit the sea.


With fishing becoming more and more of a specialized sport, there are offshoots of these genres. For instance there is an off-shoot of coarse angling which is called, Carp fishing. These fish can grow to really big weights and over the last decade or so anglers have specifically targeted these specimen fish, hence the birth of Carp fishing. Here are the five things to note as a beginner before you start either fishing for pleasure or sportfishing especially in the UK.



Any angler who is between the aged of 12 years or over that is fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England, except in the Tweed River, Wales or the Border Esk and its tributaries in Scotland such person must have an Environment Agency Rod license. You can either buy your rod licence at Post Offices, by telephone or you can contact me if you need help in getting your Rod Licence. As a beginner it is worthy of note that It is an offence to fish for freshwater fish and eels without a valid rod licence and if you do, you are looking at a fine of up to £2,500. If you are serious about taking up fishing then it is cheaper for you to buy a 12 month licence, but if you are unsure, then I would suggest buying a 1 day or 8 day licence.


  1. Handling fish:
    There are procedures in handling fish that you need to know as an angler, all fish are usually covered with a protective layer of slime and this acts as the first line of defense against parasitic infections, bacteria, and other diseases that a fish may contract. So when you catch a fish you must make sure you don’t remove too much of its protective coating, always wet your hands before handling the fish and never you use a cloth to hold a fish. ALWAYS unhook fish quickly but carefully and return them to the water as quickly as possible. If the fish is too large to hold, don’t unhook it on the ground as this can damage it and remove the slime, use an unhooking mat. With a smaller fish hold it tightly so that it doesn’t flap about and slip out of your hands onto the ground but don’t hold it too tight or you may damage its internal organs.



In the Uk there is a season known as the Close season, it is a season where there is no fishing activities, you are not allowed to fish in certain areas in a specified period of time. Coarse fish close season is between 15th of March to the 15th of June, which is precisely a period of 3months. The coarse fish close season applies to all rivers, streams and drains in England & Wales, but does not apply to most still waters, there are however some exceptions that retain the close season. Recent bylaw changes mean that the coarse fish close season does not apply to most canals in England and Wales, in the areas where there is no coarse fishing close season the fishery owners and angling clubs are free to introduce a close season through their various club rules or fishery rules if they wish


  1. Unhooking a fish:
    It is important to take proper caution in handling and unhooking fish as an angler, never pull on the line to remove a hook from a fish – this WILL NOT work without seriously injuring the fish. If the fish is too large to hold in one hand then lay it on an unhooking mat for removing the hook (unhooking mat & padded cushion to protect fish from being injured on the ground)

If the fish is lip hooked you may be able to remove it using your fingers. If the fish is hooked inside its mouth and you can see the hook then use a thin plastic or metal rod with a slot in the end call disgorger. Hold the line tight and put the slot of the disgorger over the line and slide it along the line until you reach the hook. Remember to always push the hook in the opposite directions to the way it went in until it is free and then carefully remove it. If the fish is deeply hooked and cannot be removed, then it is better to cut the line as close to the hook as possible.



The welfare of the fish is paramount to the future of fishing and all fish that are caught must be returned to the water without injury.

Preferably use barbless hooks as these do less damage to fish. They are a lot easier to remove as well, when returning fish to the water

NEVER throw a fish back into the water. Always get down close to the water to release a fish and let the fish swim away. If it is a large fish, especially Barbel, it may have tired itself out while you were catching it. In this case hold the fish in the water facing the current until it is ready to swim away. Moving the fish backwards and forwards sometime aids its recovery

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Learning How to Fish

You have decided that you want to learn to fish. There are several ways of learning, the hardest being trial and error. It would be best to find an instructor for one-on-one lessons.

1. Buy seasickness medication

Nothing is worse than ruining your fishing because of seasickness. Most seasickness medication e.g. Bonine would be fine. Even seasoned fishermen are known to take some on rough days. Take one before you go to sleep, another when you wake up and a third one before you board.

2. Buy a reference book

A lot of good books are available at your bookstores and online. The book should give you instructions as well as terms and definitions. Some things you may not immediately understand but you should know anyway. Learn how to tie different kinds of knots. This knowledge will be invaluable for other purposes throughout your life.

3. Go to a party

There are party boats that carry from fifteen to as many as sixty anglers. The boat provides everything like bait, rod, reel, sinkers and hooks. They assist you in fishing and take the fish off the hook for you. Mates will spot you and will generally stay close to assist you. Party boats generally will cost you $25 – $70 a day, and the fish are yours to keep. The party boat is a bargain for beginners.

4. Pick your pier

Assuming you have already acquired skills to operate a rod and reel, you need to look for a fishing pier.
Majority of coastal cities have one public pier or pay-to-fish pier. You can rent tackle and buy bait at the piers. If you’re having trouble, there are many pier anglers willing to help and give you tips.

5. Party or pier

You may want to do either step three or four or both at this point. The best thing to do is to do both several times to really learn.

6. The reel deal

The conventional reel is probably what you’re using up to this point. The conventional reel is designed for a lot of wear and tear. You may now want to consider other types and makes of reels. Ideally you have met people and perhaps made a friend or two who can assist you in selecting a reel. You can even ask a tackle shop owner for tips.

You need to understand the mechanics of the reel and the other equipment. Learning to cast, tie knots and bait are not that complicated. Secondly, you need to learn where to fish. Successful fishermen know where the fish are located. Fish move from place to place and knowledgeable anglers understand these patterns and are able to anticipate where the fish are located.

Deep Sea Fishing Tips

Deep sea fishing is a wonderful and extremely enjoyable activity. Here are some tips that will make your salt water fishing adventure even better.

1. Watch the signs

If you see birds e.g. Seagulls that are feasting on small bait-type fishes, there are probably larger game-type fish below the surface of the water. Also, look for floating wood or debris. In most cases when you chance upon a large floating wood, you would find a large game fish in the area even encountering dolphin.

2. Stop, Snook and Listen

Fishing for snooks is quite similar as fishing for bass. Snooks like to be around ledges, posts and rocks.

3. Crabs for full moon

During full moons use soft crab imitations as bait. That’s the time when crabs shed their shells and stripers come looking for them.

4. If you’re looking for tunas, find the dolphins

Yellowfin tuna are usually found schooling with dolphins. So if you see a group of dolphins, chances are there are some tuna in the area.

5. Cut and Burn

If you have trouble cutting through a spiderwire braid, try using a lighter or a match.

6. Good Reef

The best place to fish is near reefs since big game fish feed on fish that live on reefs.

7. The Circle Hook

Use a circle hook if you would like a higher hook up ratio. These hooks guarantees more catch, because of the minute gap, and the reverse point. They are generally better for the fish since they do not hook in the gut just the lip.

8. Don’t have sea legs

Watch the horizon and stay on deck. These would generally help you if you’re having trouble with sea sickness: Stay away from the boat fumes, breathing it only exacerbates the problem.

9. Anchors away

When your anchor is stuck at the bottom, try attaching a float to it. Return after the tide has changed in direction. This should be enough to loosen the anchor.

10. Fish where the fish are

A lot of fisherman have the idea that they should be catching their live baits over the reefs before going to deep waters. If the live baits are not in the area you’re planning to catch the larger games, then why would you come up with the idea that the large fish are there. Wouldn’t they be in the area where the bait fish are?

Fresh Caught Fish Cooking Preparation

To maintain the delicate flavor of a newly caught freshwater or saltwater fish, this must be handled properly to avoid spoilage. Not to mention preserving the fish with pleasing odor. There are ways to properly prepare and maintain the quality just after the catch of the fish into a sumptuous fishmeal. Check out the tips below:

1) As soon as the fish lands avoid any contact with hard surfaces to prevent bruising. It should be washed immediately by hosing or bucket rinsing in order to remove the slime and possible bacteria that cause spoilage. Never use water from close proximity marinas, municipal or industrial discharges. To make sure, always use potable water instead.

2) Simply chill the fish to prevent deterioration in less than an hour. With a little advance planning, proper icing can be accomplished with the use of some relatively cheap equipment. Fish should be stored in coolers and should be well chilled. It should be 3" deep, thus, covering a pound of fish with pound of ice. Use chlorinated water per quart of water for the final rinsing.

3) Clean the fish as soon as possible. Their tissues are sterile but not their scales, which contains many types of bacteria. When cleaning fish, avoid rough treatment because wounds in the flesh can allow the spread of bacteria. Gutting the fish does not have to be necessarily long. It is wise to cut the belly, as it leaves no blood or viscera in the body. Make sure not to soak cleaned fish fillets in a prolonged freshwater as this could reduce the meat texture and flavor.

4) The eating quality and nutritional value of fish can be maintained up to 5 days if properly cleaned. Washing of the hands before touching the fish is also important. No matter what fish and the cooking technique used, one golden rule is to be followed always. Whether it is whole or not, cook exactly 10 minutes for every inch measured. 15 minutes should be allotted to fish enclosed in foil or sauce baked. Double the time for frozen fish.

Allow extra time if fish will be baked while packed in an aluminum foil and allow extra time for the penetration of the heat. That should be an additional 5 minutes for fresh fish and 10 for frozen. In thawing frozen fish, slowly thaw in the fridge for 24 hours or let the wrapped fish be run under cold water not at room temperature. Do not thaw a fish that’s frozen before cooking as it may make it mushy and dry.

Fishing Kit Basic Tips

Before going deeper into the technicalities, make sure that a fishing license is secured. To be an amateur fisherman there are basic pieces of fishing equipment needed to complete your exciting journey in the fishing world. Knowing the line type and matching the right rod and reel to the fishing technique is just basic common sense. Match these tools appropriately and expect a more enjoyable experience for a more comfortable fishing. There are several things that causes the reel to turn into a bird’s nest, don’t worry, even experienced fishermen encounter this every now and then.

The main objective is to match the rod, the reel, the line and the lure. These will only cost a newbie around $25 to $40 and they could last for years. The 3 main issues when shopping for a rod are: Guides that are attached to the rod; Grip or handle holds the rod and could come in either cork or foam. They come in different lengths so the comfort to the user must be considered; and the reel seat where the reel is connected.

Dealers make a lot of fishing rods that could either be single or consist of two or more pieces when assembled. The connection is very simple; just connect the male and female ends together to make sure the guides are lined up. This would only last for a minutes. Sometimes, lubricants are needed. When shopping for a rod, slightly bend it to get the feel of it. Again comfort should be considered when using the equipment.

Rods of any type will work. It should be around 6′ long and medium weight. Even a long stick will work. This should be long, straight and flexible so it will not easily break. The most popular rod is Graphite because it is so light yet so strong. Wispy rods should be up to 4m long to be used for long casts in moderate winds.

There are a lot of fishing lines to choose from and it can be very confusing to find the best. It is mostly made of nylon and "monofilament" that comes in spools of different lengths that are called Tests. The larger the fishing line the thicker it is in diameter. Find a piece of a 4lb. or 4 lb. Test that is almost 10′ long for the basic rig.

The basic rule is that all the gears should match. To summarize your fishing kit, it should include other stuff as well: net, stringer, line clippers, fishing knife, first aid box, a pail of bait, sunglasses, fishing hat, and talking about the basics, don’t forget your SNACKS!

Eat What You Catch?

It is surprising how few people actually eat the fish that they catch. For many people, hooking and landing a fish is all they want, and when they unhook the – still living – fish, they will return it to the body of water.

This may not strike everyone as logical – “if you are humanitarian enough to not want to kill the fish, why are you putting a hook in its mouth”, they will demand.

But for some people the thrill of the challenge is enough, and there is no need to go any further.

However, if you do intend to eat the fish you catch, you should be sure what kind of fish live in the body of water you plan to fish. It may be that the available species are not really the kind of fish you want to eat.

It is true that everyone has different tastes, but there is no doubt that some tastes are so “out there” that most people will not consider it to be worth the effort of acquiring them.

If you can find nearby a fishing location with a fair supply of the kind of fish that you want to eat, then it is all the better for you.

If you are going to eat the fish you catch, it is probably also worth reading up on how to prepare them for cooking.

The fish that you hook will not be ready for eating, by a long way, and needs to be cleaned and filleted before you can even think about putting it in your mouth.

Your Own Little Patch Of Heaven

Many people travel far and wide to find the best spot to fish. Many others don’t care so much about the best spot, but want to try fishing in as many different places as they can manage.

But everyone who enjoys fishing has their own spot which they return to time and again.

Where it is does not matter so much – it could be a quiet spot you found by accident, it could be the first place you went to with your father when he was teaching you to fish, or any number of other locations and reasons. The fact remains that we all have our patch.

As humans we are very drawn to the significance of signposts. Not literal signposts, but rather times, places and things which have a deeper meaning for us.

Our wedding anniversary, our home town, our lucky rabbit’s foot, whatever they may be, these items have a connection for us which means that we don’t forget them, and which we will always recognize them when we see them or when they happen.

Your favorite fishing spot has the same effect.

The interesting thing about this is that the favored spot may not be one where we were especially successful.

We may have landed more and bigger fish in other places, and the place we love may be entirely imperfect.

But when push comes to shove, and we need a trip to get our spirits up, it will be there that we return. Surely you have a favorite spot? If you don’t, you will one day.

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