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First, the technology, specifically as it applies to fly fishing equipment.. The equipment is so much better (like light years better) than when I first started 45 years ago. That includes the rods, reels, line, leaders, waders, vests, etc. , but particularly the rods. Fiberglass rods seemed to work okay back then but today's graphite rods are like magic in comparison. That's the good news. The bad news is they aren't cheap. Yes, you can pay $1,000 if you want, but you can also get started for $100 or so for a very functional graphite rod. You might want to consider a complete outfit of rod, reel and line available from some of the national outdoor suppliers and possibly from a local shop, too.
Rods come in various lengths from about 7-10 feet and weights (a measurement of how heavy of line they can handle on a scale of 1 being the lightest up to 10 or so). To get started, an 8 or 9 foot, #5 or #6 weight rod is a good choice for an all-around rod. If you will be fishing mostly smaller waters where longer casts are usually not needed, you might try a 71/2 to 8 foot rod. Shorter rods tend to be less intimidating and a little easier to handle.
The line weight is recommended to match the rod weight - but then you have the decision of what type of fly line. Floating lines are encouraged for a fly angler's first outfit. Floating fly lines (compared to sinking lines) allow the angler to easily lift the line off the water to make casts. Nymphs, streamers and other wet flies, along with dry flies, can be fished with sinking lines. Weighted flies will usually pull the leader far enough under the surface to get to where the fish are feeding. If you need more weight, small split shot can be attached about eight inches above your leader. A weight-forward line assists casting by taking less line to accommodate the action of the rod. Double taper lines can come in handy because when one end gets worn, you can swap it around and use the other end which as the name alludes to, also has a taper. That all gives you a little background on the equipment, but if you get a good starter combo as we suggest, it'll come with the correct balanced components.
So, you've got it in hand and it sure looks cool, but how do you use it? The best way to learn is from some one-on-one instruction. Fly anglers tend to be somewhat passionate about their hobby and often willing to serve as an instructor. If you don't know one personally, you might check with the local chapter of Trout Unlimited or parks and recreation department. Those entities sometimes offer classes. Check with local fly shops or outdoor stores, too.
Now, if you're a woman or a teenager, you can get a good fly fishing introduction, as well as a bunch of other outdoor activities, from a couple Game and Fish sponsored camps near Dubois. The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop will be June 20-22 and applications need to be received by April 15. The youth camp is Aug. 3-8 and applications are due May 31. Contact the Game and Fish for more details.
And of course you can be self-taught, which also has better "equipment" than when I started. Some excellent books and compact discs are on the market to help. As with any activity, the more you practice, the better you become. Have fun.
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