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How to setup your new fly rod


I just purchased a fly rod and reel. I am brand new to fly fishing and I did some research on what to get because fly fishing and types of rods are totally different then regular fishing rods. Fly fishing rods and reels use a number system from 0 to 14 weight. 0 being used for small fish to 14 being used for off shore fishing. If you are doing something other then those two types of fishing your rod will land somewhere in between. I have done a lot of research on the rod weights and the different kinds of line and what is used before I bought it so I am going to tell you how to find the right fly rod and reel and how to rig the reel with the four different types of line used for the reel.

Lets get started with the weights of the rod and reel. Weight has nothing to do with how heavy the rod is. It is how strong the rod is. To make it simple the normal size for inland trout or stream fishing, a 5 or 6 weight rod and reel is sufficient. For inshore saltwater fishing a 7 to a 9 weight should be used and anything off shore or fishing large tarpon a 10 weight or bigger should be used. For the most part you keep all your numbers the same. If you get a 7 weight fly rod you need to get a 7 weight reel and line. I have a 7 weight setup (St Croix Avid Inshore Fly Rod) for inshore saltwater fishing here in Florida.

Finding the rod and reel is the easy part. I was confused at first when I went to get the line for my setup. A normal spinning reel has the braided line and leader. Easy enough. A fly reel has backing, fly line, tapered leader and tippet. The backing and fly line was easy to figure out but what the heck was the difference in a tapered leader and tippet? I am here to explain the difference so you aren’t as confused as I was when I set up my fly rod. 

Backing – backing is a dacron line which is a type of braided line used for fly reels. This line attaches from your reel to your fly line. This is the first line that goes onto your reel. This is used incase your fly line runs out while fighting a fish you have extra line. Your fly line is only about 100′ long so it is good to have extra line just incase. You should see how much your reel can handle but it should be about another 100 to 200 yards of extra backing line. Depending on what size fish you are fishing for.

Fly line – the fly line goes on after you put the backing on the reel. This is your main line. If you are a beginner you should get floating line. There are many kinds of line to get and I will go into that at another time. It is good to get floating line to start with. Also there are different types of weighted lines, get the weight forward line if your new at this and that will make it easy on you also. It will give you the best casting action and get you use to casting a fly rod. It is the easiest to learn from.

Tapered leader – this is the next line that attaches to the fly line. This line should be about the lengh of your rod. This is exactly what it sounds like. It is tapered. It starts out thick and thins out as it gets closer to the tippet.

Tippet – the tippet attaches to the tapered leader. This is really thin line that is strong. This line should be about 3′ to 4′ long. This is the line that you attach your flies.

I suggest once you get it setup to practice without hooks in your back yard or wherever there is a sufficient enough room to practice casting. Stay away from concrete because it will scratch up your line. I also recommend that you use some type of eye protection because that line came really close to my face the first couple of times I cast it to get the hang of it. It takes a little while getting use to casting with the fly rod. It is totally different then the traditional fishing rod. I am just now comfortable enough to put a hook on it and try fishing with it. I am not going to get into casting with it or fishing with it yet because I am still learning. I will cover that at a later time.

Wether you use a fly rod or a regular rod go out and have fun fishing. It can be a calming experience. Thanks for reading.