How Hard Is It To Learn Fly Fishing?

How hard is it to learn to ride a bike, drive a car, cook a meal, or anything in our lives? For some of us it’s easier than it is for others and often it’s the teacher that makes the difference. My dad introduced me to swimming by throwing me into a swimming pool when at the age of 5 to the vocally expressed dismay of my mom. My grandfather taught me to fish for bream with a cane pole and a can of worms, 1st he taught me how to dig the worms to make sure my experience was complete. 

Recently I was hired by a married couple that wanted to learn flyfishing, beginning with how to cast a flyrod. We met at a local lake that I recommended because of the existence of a swim beach that I mistakenly thought would be easier to practice on, never giving thought to the issue of walking on loose sand and sand in my fishing reels (No more lessons on sandy beaches). 

I began the lesson by explaining the fundamentals of the flyrod itself, how the flex of the rod controls the flight of the line. Then I positioned their hands on the handle of the flyrod and explained how it was similar to the grip of a golf club (they don’t golf).  Next how to position their arms and elbows to properly guide the rod in flight, where to begin and end their swing, and how to hold the flyline in their fingers.

Next, we began simple techniques on the actual wrist movement required to make the flyrod cast correctly. I explained that it’s much like swinging a hammer (neither one of them could relate). A failed attempt at using the 10 and 2 o’clock metaphor was a loser since I don’t relate to it myself, I’m starting to feel like I’m the worst teacher ever in the whole wide world. 

At this point things began to look dismal; they were both looking to me for guidance and wisdom, and I was feeling a lack of confidence in my abilities, so I reverted to my normal fallback and said,” let’s go fishing and figure it out”. So, to the boat we went.

Funny how the world improves when people have a fishing rod in their hands. I quickly realized that the advice I had given them was well received and helpful in their basic understanding of the mechanics of tossing a fly. 

For the next few hours, they fished and laughed, often at themselves, I instructed gently (threatening to scream if they didn’t listen) and patiently. As my clients began to put the pieces together and occasionally get a great cast, the catching became less important as the enjoyment of conquering the challenge of the mechanics became the focus.  

On this day we all learned a little bit about ourselves and enjoyed a great day on the water. So, the question remains, how hard is it to learn to fly fish? My answer is “Just go fishing” and the learning will happen.

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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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