The Road to Being a Successful Fly Fisher

Catfishers have their favorite stink bait, crappie fishers swear by their favorite-colored jigs, bass fishers have tackle boxes loaded with every conceivable lure.

Fly fishers, well that’s a whole different world, match the hatch, balance the rod, perfect the cast, and don’t break the bank. As with all fishing, success is about comfort, confidence, failure, and most of all, time on the water.


Fly fishing equipment that is mismatched to the fisher and or the fishing can make a day on the water frustrating and miserable. The correct setup will be heavy enough or light enough to match the fly and handle the fish whether large or small. You don’t want to use a 9’- 9 wt rod to fish for bream in a creek or a 7’6”-4 wt rod to fish for large fish such as bass or carp in the open water. What action rod should you use, fast, moderate, or slow and why? Floating or sinking line, the proper size leader and tippet material? These are great questions to ask an experienced fly fisher when getting started.


Second guessing your technique or fly pattern is usually a lack of confidence and is always connected to the success you’re having with it. We all question our choices when the fish aren’t biting so it’s easy to lose focus. One way I deal with this is to learn about the fish and the fishery before I ever start my trip. What are they eating, does my fly match the size and profile of the natural bait? Am I fishing the right depth as it relates to water temp and fish activity? Is my cadence, right? Am I stripping the line in a manner that maximizes the movement of the fly? These are all small things that can be adjusted on the spot. A little bit of confidence goes a long way. Confidence = success.


Failure is the best teacher life has to offer, it broadens our view and presents us with the opportunity to improve. Fly fishing is a constant test of our mental and physical endurance, when it’s good it’s great, when we fail, we learn. Don’t be frustrated when the fish don’t bite and enjoy the act of the presentation. Failure +confidence = success.

Practice makes perfect!

Spend as much time as possible on the water, this is how you learn and stay sharp. Athletes practice every day, musicians are never satisfied with the 1st cut, and fishers experience a new set of conditions every time they get on the water. Most of all don’t forget how privileged and fortunate we are for God’s bounty. Practice + failure + confidence = success.

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 1)

FAIR. Water Stained; 56-59 degrees; 5.47 feet below pool. Fork had a warmer early week but dropped off in temperature and so the bite went with it for the most part. The shallow fish were on spinnerbaits and chatterbaits early in the week in 3-5 feet of water. Texas rigs and Viper XP jigs were doing good on docks with brush in 4-7 feet of water. Black and blue and green pumpkin were the best colors. Still had a few catches on squarebills in red and orange in 4-6 feet along creeks, but with the weather getting colder that should drop-off. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Black bass are beginning the early stages of pre-spawn. Try slow moving suspending streamers and sculpin patterns in 5-7 feet of water. Crappie will be moving shallow in the next few weeks. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. Crappie are really good around deep main lake timber in 38-56 feet along creek channels. Fish have been a little more scattered the past week, so it is necessary to cover more water to catch limits. Seeing big white crappie mixed in with lots of smaller black crappie. Minnows will work very well and small soft plastics and hand ties are working well. Best colors for my boat have been purple and chartreuse. Getting good reports of brush pile fish biting as in 20-30 feet. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins’ Guide Service.

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