Another beginner with questions...
I am not a beginning fisherman, just a fly-fisher. I have been fly-fishing for 3 years, but it is just cheap outfit (Wal-Mart) with poppers for bluegills. I want to bump up my gear. Instead of my cheap wal-mart rod (8' 5/6 weight), I am thinking about getting a Cortland rod that is 9' and 5/6 weight. I like the feel of it and it is only $40.
How often should I clean the fly line?
I know I need backing, and fly line, but I have just used a short section of monofilament to use as a leader, what should be before my fly line (tippet, leader)?
What are some good flies (besides poppers) that are good for small warmwater species (bass, bluegill, crappie)?
Instead of getting the low-end Cortland rod for $40.00, why not move up to say a TFO, Redington Redfly, or ECHO? They are much better casting rods that don't cost much more than the low-end Cortland you are thinking of getting. Truthfully, the low-end Cortland you are thinking of getting is not much different than the Wal-Mart special you have been using. And after fly fishing with the cheap for 3 years, you would be much better served in the long run by spending the little extra for one of the other rod makes I mentioned in the same size as the Cortland.
Fly lines need to be cleaned when the get dirtly, which depends entirely on how long you fish at a time, the amount of algae and particulates suspended in the water, and wheter you have let the line get in the dirt and sand. All you need to clean a fly line is ivory hand soap and water followed by rinsing the soap off and drying the line with a towel or soft rag like a worn-out T-shirt.
A factory made tapered leader of 7.5' to 9' tapered to 2x ought to be about perfect. Far easier to use a store bought tapered leader and replace the tippet (the end the fly is attached to) as needed than to tie your own. Just get some 2x tippet for this.
Welcome to the forum! :)
I have an 8' Cortland 5/6 weight that I've been using for over 15 years as my pond/lake rod and I love it. I don't know how much it cost, but it casts amazingly well in all conditions.
Maybe I'm an awful fly fisherman, but I never clean my freshwater lines. The one that I use for ponds/lakes is over 15 years old and has never been cleaned, but it doesn't have any dirt built up on it and it casts fine. :) As for flies, my favorite panfish fly is a hornberg streamer. Panfish in general though like anything bright, so I'll use a Royal pattern of some sort a lot with a good amount of red on it. Bead head crystal buggers are another great panfish fly. I like to use Dahlberg diver style flies for bass around me since lakes tend to be weedy and sinking flies just get hung up a lot. I find some of the smaller striped bass saltwater baitfish patterns work very well for largemouth too, and you can also try a woolly bugger or crayfish. One of my other favorites is a yellow marabou streamer about 2.5-3" long with a 1/2" thread head on a size 2 hook.
Thanks for the replies. I think I'll go with the cortland though, cause I'm a teenager with not much money. I will also probably respool with new line on my reel, because that was cheap shakespeare line. I might go to the shop later on today.
Starting at the fly and working backwards:
Tippet: This is a section of line that you don't want the fish to see. Also, it is the last (or first) link in the chain. The size will depend on the size of fly you're using. For panfishing I generally go with 4x or 5x for flies up to size 10. Bigger flies (i.e. bigger hooks) require more force to get a hookset so I increase the tippet strength accordingly.
Leader: The section of mono or fluro that connects the tippet to the fly line. Usually (not always) tapered to help make a good presentation when casting to specific fish. The idea is to put as much distance between the end of the flyline and the fly so the fish don't hear the line when it touches down on the water or see the thick fly-line before they see the fly. Total length of leader is really goverened by the situation you are in. Generally the longer the better but there are times when a very short leader makes sense. About 7ft would be the minimum I would use with a floating line and preferably something like 9ft. Another old rule-of-thumb" was to keep the leader/tippet total length about the same as the length of the rod.
You an buy commercially tapered leaders with integral tippet and they work great but can be expensive. I trick I use is to take a commercial tapered leader (say 9ft with a 5x tippet). I snip off the tippet portion (usually the last couple of feet - you can see where the taper begins). Then I make a tiny loop at the thin end of the leader and add tippet from spools as I need it. The tapered portion is very strong and will last a whole season.
Backing: This is usually dacron. For freshwater you don't need anything terribly sophisticated. It serves a couple of purposes. First, it fills out the fly-reel spool to provide a better "arbor" for the fly-line. A tightly coiled fly-line will be difficult to cast and will need a lot of stretching. Second, if you hook a really big fish and it takes off into the next zip code the backing gives you some measure of safety before everything goes tight, at which point something usually breaks. But hey, that's what makes great fishing stories :smokin:
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