Beginners guide to fly fishing

If you are a fly fishing novice, but still want to have a successful day of fishing, then follow our tips and recommendations for the best places to find your catch.

Here are our tips for finding those fish…

Spotting fish

Sight fishing is a skill which can be learned by understanding and recognising patterns in the water. Before you get waist-deep and start trying to spot fish, make sure you have done the following:

  • Get a quality pair of polarised glasses – these are an essential piece of equipment when trying to spot fish as they reduce the glare of the sun on the water.

Browse our range of specialised fishing sunglasses

  • For sight fishing, a shadow is more distinct than the well camouflaged fish so you are usually able to spot the shadow long before you see the fish. Make sure the sun is at your back if at all possible as this will give you a better view of the shadow and will also help avoid the fish seeing you.
  • Remember that fish like looking at the sun as little as we do so make sure your fly is not between fish and sun as they simply won’t be looking in that direction.

Finding the Fish

What about the fish you can’t see? While spotting fish may not always be possible, learning to ‘read’ a river or stream will help you to understand which type of habitat the fish will favour at different times of day.

Generally, fish will tend to be found in areas of water with a slower current as this allows them to conserve their energy reserves. Thus, fish will tend to swim through fast flowing water and then rest up and feed in slower sections…..thus fish in pools rather than rapids.

Some natural features which attract fish are:

  • Rocks/Boulders – Rocky sections or large boulders slow down a stream and create pockets of slower water on their downstream side. These areas are ideal environments for fish as they can feed without exerting too much energy. Even fallen trees can attract fish for the same reasons.
  • Banks – the banks of a river allow fish to feed on nymphs or other insects often found in shallow water and again, the water here is also less fast-flowing and allows them to feed without much energy expenditure.

Remember to move quietly and wade softly. Sound travels faster in water so when wading, take care not to spook the fish. Use a wading stick to help feel your way and to help avoid slipping and stumbling both of which will quickly give the game away.

Get kitted out

Now that you know where to find your fish, make sure you are kitted out properly so you can enjoy a full day of fishing in comfort. We have a comprehensive range of fishing clothing, equipment and accessories that will help you to stay warm and dry.

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