Fly Fishing: How to Be Good at it?

Contrary to a popular belief that fly fishing is difficult to learn, the truth is, it’s a sport for anyone to take up. Regardless of your age or experience, or lack of, once you try fly fishing, it’s easy to get hooked! Fly fishing takes you right out there in streams and rivers, fresh water, and salt water. While it does have the main basic skills of fishing, fly fishing also has its own way of casting and luring the fish in.

Like any other sport, practice is needed to improve your game. But besides general practice, this read will focus on specific things you can do to help improve your skills. Half of fly fishing has to do with presentation. Presentation involves choosing a target without causing the fish to scurry, and manipulating your fly so it looks like food to fish. You can never have too good of a presentation, but you need to have solid foundations. There are no precise rules on what presentation to use in a given situation, and it takes experience to figure out what works and what doesn’t.


You can’t be a good at fly fishing without having a good cast. There are many times when the right casts will make a difference in the fish approaching and eating the fly or not. You should keep in mind that the line typically follows the rod tip, and a good cast should start at the shoulder, rather than your elbow or wrist. 

man fly fishing river
Photo via Pixabay

Rod grip:

Your grip on the rod is one of the easiest ways to improve your cast. Lots of people may not realize how the impact of a grip can improve their cast. The most classic grip is the thumb over grip, where the thumb lies over the index finger while holding the rod. This grip is the most common one among even the most professional casters. For short casts, say between 14 and 45 feet, your best grip should be at the top of the rod. This will give you the most flexibility in short casting. The farther down you move your hand on the rod, your rod will bend in a much stronger position. This could help you when casting for a larger distance. Using less power is actually more beneficial. Most casters overpower the rod and doing so is a major contributing factor to a poor cast. It doesn’t take much power to keep a fly line aerial motion.

Use your eyes:

Use your eyes to see what insects are on the water. It’s a high probability that the most abundant bugs are what the trout are feeding on. However it’s not always the case as it could be a time of year when they’re feeding on small fish or being selective; perhaps picking out a certain insect sometimes, say for instance an emerging fly. That said, the best trout flies can be based on how they look to the trout, and that can be known by what sort of critters you’re seeing in the water. How your fly looks to trout in the few seconds after it hits the water is as important, if not more important than all the things you did first before that final cast. Most flies are of two categories; imitations and attractors. If you notice fish paying attention to something specific, then an imitation of that particular fly would be a very good choice. So, if you take to the water in the same spot, presumably casting for the same fish, with the same fly, over and over, your odds decrease with every cast.

Taking it slowly:

Most casters whip a fly rod far too fast when they should slow it down and focus more on their form. Good form and solid technique will get you what you want, not speed. If you’re hearing a whooshing sound from your rod when it cuts through the air, that’s a sure sign you’re casting too fast. Your objective should be to cast silently but not quickly. When in a pole position, try and be as silent as possible and walk softly. Fish are as sensitive to noise and vibration as they are to visual warnings. 

The best fly fishers start practicing their casting on land before they hit the water. When it comes to fly fishing, most failures are due to poor casting skills. Fly fishing and practicing fly fishing are two different things, so don’t limit your practice while you’re out fishing because they both need your attention, but in different ways.



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A student, amateur photographer, and aspiring automotive journalist. Anything with an engine and wheels has piqued my interest for the longest time. It only makes sense that I share my passion with everyone else. Hope you enjoy my adventures in the automotive world and otherwise.

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