If you are just thinking to start...
In this article I want to try to tell you about my experience in how to start in fly fishing activity.
Usually the first question is the question of motivation, why shall I change my spinning rode with something else. In our country where we have almost lost tradition in fly fishing this point of view is just understandable. The answer depends of what you are waiting for from fishing. If you like such accessories of fishing as stormy sea, a lot of fish, good drunk friends and so on it is good for you instead of fly fishing maybe to think about fishing nets or mild explosives... Actually, if you are "starving" better to spend your money for something more realistic than fly fishing rod. But if you hate to be like all these "others", if you prefer elegance in all what you are doing for "Yourself Beloved" and elegance in how you are doing it, if it is very important for you not simply catch a fish but to do it the best possible way, if you want to foolish the fish with the irresistible bait you have prepared for it by yourself with all your imagination, experience and knowledge of insect's imitations during cold winter evenings ...so you are the guy we are looking for. And now at last before to answer "why" I would remind one old anecdote when one post soviet parvenu like christmas tree decorated with all kinds of golden chains and rings has been asked by reporter, why he have been wearing all this things and the answer was: "At first... it's beautiful".
So, it's beautiful.
In fly fishing tackle there are not anything unusual it consists of the fly fishing rod; fly fishing line and fly fishing reel. The fly fishing line is connected with a leader and the latter is connected with the tippet and a fly. So, we must start with the rod. All what I shall tell you is my own experience because I'm not an expert but the developing beginner. And all this what I'm saying about I experienced by myself not a long time ago. I started many years ago with the cheap Shakespeare fly fishing kit because in the Soviet Union where I used to live it was the best I could get. And during ten years I tried to do something with it but the only feeling was that something has been wrong. But last spring I have met Jaanus Kodar, Michael Veselov and Edward Veselov experienced estonian fly fishermen and they at last helped me to get correct tackle with which I not only started to develop my casting but with Edward caught my first stream trout. Therefor all what I'm trying to share with you is their experience multiplied with my sweat.
The first rule is: the rod must be as good as possible. But the perfect Sage rod costs 500-600$. Of cause, the best solution is to buy it if you have enough money for it. But I think that to begin with Sage is like to begin study piano playing with Steinway piano. At the beginning you will do very much unnatural movements which overload the rod, when you will start fishing the first thing you will catch will be branches of stream side trees and so on. Until your casting technique will grow you will be nearby of damaging your rod many times therefor it's better for you to start with something not so perfect but simply very good. After all "rien est parfait". And here in Estonia the best solution is Loop Tackle rods. And if you are not ready to spend 10000 Estonian crowns for tackle it is the only solution. And believe me it is not a bad one. The another reason not to hurry with buying Sage is the problem of the rod's size. In fly fishing when you are casting you are throwing a fishing line the weight of which is distributed along its length and is not concentrated in one point (in a lure) like when you are casting with a spinning. Therefore the best result in casting will be if the weight of the fly or streamer is much much less than the weight of the fishing line. Or, because the length of the fishing line is not constant during the casting, the weight of the bait must be much much less compared with the weight of the first 30 feet of the fishing line. By its weight there are ten different kinds of flying lines. And ten different kinds of rods to cast with them. So, the weight of the bait is the main thing to think about when you are choosing a rod. The second thing is the wind. With a light line only very experienced fisherman can cast through the strong wind. And the last but not the least thing is that if you are a beginner doing everything slightly wrong you will fail to hold in the air heavy fishing line even for a short time. The conclusion is that the best first rod for the beginner is N5-6 Loop black line rod with the fishing line N6, distant. You can get such a rod in Tallinn for a little bit more than 100$ or N5-6 Loop blue line for a 150$ the latter is perfect even for expert. With this tackle you will easily start casting and fishing improving your master price in both. But in a time you will find that this tackle is a little bit heavy for fishing in estonian trout streams and small rivers and from the other side a little bit light for fishing see trout and pike in the sea. Actually, in Estonia it is perfect for fishing in still water, in trout ponds. And when this time will come if it will come it will mean that you have become a skilled fisherman. And only at this point of your fisherman's career you will start thinking about N3-4 blue or yellow Loop for streams or N7-8 ( N8-9 ) black or blue Loop for sea or both. And only at this point it is not forbidden to start dreaming about Sage.
And now about the reel. For the beginner for whom everything is disturbance the best solution is Loop graphite ( ~40$ ) or something else with minimum of weight and price. Later when you will go fishing to Kola peninsula or to exotic Caribbean or Pacific islands for salmons and tunnies you will get for it a really good reel which will cost at least 300$ and if after that you will still have enough money for journey all tundra salmons and trouts will be yours.