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Cast Away: Basics, On the Fly

Written by Celestina Blok. Photographs by J. Griffis Smith.

Catch a fish on a fly rod once and chances are you’ll be “hooked.” But just like fishing with a traditional rod and reel, starting with the right equipment is key for landing a big one... or any fish at all.

First, determine the body of water you’d like to fish, then talk to the professionals in a local fly shop near that area. Not only will you be outfitted correctly for the water type (freshwater or saltwater?) and the fish you’re after (trout or largemouth bass?), you’ll likely get the scoop on what, when, and where the fish are biting.

“The pros can let you in on hot flies and how to rig up your rod for a specific type of fishing,” says Brent Hodges, a fly-fishing guide and owner of ReelFly Fishing Adventures. “They can also help locate the right rod for each individual based on budget and skill level.”

Once you’re properly outfitted, learning to cast is crucial. The basic fly-casting method has been likened to painting a wall with smooth strokes that stop abruptly at the top and bottom, executed without bending the wrist. However, many excited newbies hit the water and cast more than necessary, often resulting in tangles and snags, as well as spooked fish.

“An open area like a grassy field is a great place to learn how to fly-cast. I would recommend signing up for casting instruction before ever setting foot on the river,” says Brent, who offers lessons for all levels. (If you buy a fly rod combo at his Sattler shop, your lesson is free.) Other New Braunfels-area fly shops include Gruene Outfitters and Action Angler & Outdoor Center.

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