Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Beginner's Western Flyfishing Kit

My previous post summarized the gear I picked out for Tenkara fly fishing. I'll show off my western kit in this one.

Overall, I kept my choices entry level, and budget conscious (insofar as that's possible with flyfishing). I visited a couple of local fly shops to look at rods and reels, and asked what was the current recommendation for an "outfit," which is apparently fly fishing lingo for a rod/reel/line/case combo. The Reddington Voyant outfit was recommended at both shops I visited. I liked what I saw, but wondered if I could do better than the $300 price tag for a similar setup. 

I spent some time browsing online, and ended up finding a 9 foot 5wt medium action Reddington Classic Trout rod, with case, for $80 with shipping on The Clymb, a gear deals website. It MSRP's at $150, so it was a pretty good deal. Over on the Cabela's website, I picked up a cheap Cabela's reelRIO backing, WF line, some floatant, and some tapered leader with tippet. That set me back another $120 or so. So in all, I put together a decent kit for about $200, saving me some cash versus the Voyant outfit. Now the Voyant rods might be a bit better if the MSRP ($40 more) means anything, but it's a fast action rod and in my reading I found that medium action rods are nice for beginners, for a variety of flies, and for those only wanting one rod. I've accumulated a few flies and a fly box from setting my my spinning and Tenkara kits, so I haven't bought any more yet.

I don't see myself taking the western kit backpacking anytime soon, with both the other two options coming in much lighter, so I didn't bother weighing it. Still, for fishing daytrips up to local streams or lakes, I'll carry it on short upstream hikes.

In terms of setup, everything was pretty easy to do by hand. After looking up a few knots, here's what I came up with: 
  • I used an arbor knot (slip knot) to tie the backing onto the reel. 
  • Then I put a pen through the backing spool, held it between my knees, and then held the reel in my hands and wound the backing on. I only added about 40 or 50 yards, which I read should be plenty for trout on small to medium streams.
  • Next I used a nail knot to fasten the backing to the fly line. I hadn't tied a nail knot before, but I found it easiest to improvise a nail-knot-tool using a drinking straw, as shown in this YouTube video.
  • Winding the fly line onto the reel was the same as for the backing. 
  • I used the butt end of some tapered leader and tied in onto the fly line with another nail knot. Then I put a perfection loop onto the end of the piece of leader. This serves as a connection point for line-to-leader where you can attach a new leader a few times without having to cut the fly line. 
  • Next I did a loop-to-loop connection with the 9ft tapered leader I bought
  • Finally, I tied on some 5X tippet with a double surgeon's loop just to finish it up
While I've got it all setup now, I haven't had a chance to cast it yet. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon. Another thing I ran across online (can't find the page now) is that some micro spinning reels will fit on a fly rod, which would be an interesting combo for throwing a torpedo bubble with a fly on the end. Might have to test and see whether my little ultralight reel fits the fly rod. 

Hopefully I'll be reporting that I caught some fish sooner rather than later. Thanks for reading.