Fly Fishing: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I choose a fly rod?

A.Most fly rods built today are made from graphite. Graphite provides a lightweight, strong tool for casting a fly line and delivering the fly to your target. Typically, fly rods are between seven and nine feet long, and will cast flies ranging in size from a tiny mosquito to a mackerel-sized baitfish imitation. They're also designed to handle fish ranging in size from small trout and panfish to ocean speedsters like sailfish.

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Q. How do I know what fly to use?

A. This requires some knowledge of basic fish foods: you'll need to learn which fish feed on which foods and what kinds of imitations are available. You also need to look for clues that will lead you in the right direction, like turning over rocks in a trout stream, observing any flies that may be on the surface, looking for minnows, etc. Excellent resources include the L.L.Bean Fly-Fishing Hotline (800-FISH-LLB), your local fly-fishing shop or library, and the L.L.Bean Fly Fishing Handbook.

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Q. How do I choose the right size waders?

A. Fit is one of the most important considerations when it comes to waders. It's important that they be comfortable and provide sufficient room to allow you to climb out of the stream or up a hill without pulling and binding or restricting your movement. The extra room is also necessary if you need to layer underneath them for warmth. More information on sizing waders.

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Q. How do I get started?

A. You can start with the help of a friend, but the best idea is to attend a well-established and recognized teaching program for a one- to three-day school. There you'll learn the right way to cast and all of the other fundamentals. Our Fly-Fishing School has introduced thousands of men, women and children to the exciting sport of fly fishing.

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Q. How do I choose the right fly line?

A. It's always helpful to try different lines on the rod of your choice. But whether you opt for a weight-forward or double-taper, floating, sinking, sink-tip, shooting-head or neutral-density line will depend upon your fishing needs and the rod and reel with which the line will be used. As a beginner, you should acquire a balanced "outfit" that includes a rod, reel, line and backing, all of which are designed to function efficiently together. Then, as your skills evolve, you will be in a better position to upgrade your equipment.

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Q. Which waders are best?

A. Fishing conditions, water depth, temperature, current speed and general weather conditions dictate which type of waders you'll need. Neoprene waders offer the most warmth and are a must for cold weather or cold-water conditions. In more moderate air and water temperatures, the most versatile and comfortable waders are made of Gore-Tex® or other performance fabrics. A boot-foot type of wader will be warmer since your feet are not laced-in, but a stocking-foot model with good wading boots will provide significantly more support in the ankles and feet. If you want to know more about waders, call our Fly-Fishing Hotline at 800-347-4552 (800-FISH-LLB) any day of the week between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST.

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Q. How does one find the best fishing in a new area?

A. Unquestionably, the best way to find out what's available is to talk to some of the local fly shops. To learn more detailed information, hire a guide. If you're moving to a new area, seek out local chapters of Trout Unlimited or The Federation of Fly Fishers, join and attend meetings to get to know the other people who share your interests. Many of them will be delighted to show you their favorite spots, some of which you might never find on your own.

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