Super Flies: I am a beginner, what do I buy

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine by typing key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc. The search engine is located on the right side, just below…

How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine by typing key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc. The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia; i.e., the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog. Thanks.

You've spent years telling yourself that someday you'll learn how to fly fish.  Well, for the purpose of this post, that time has finally come; your doing it, lessons are scheduled!  What next?  If your like most beginner anglers, you'll spend many hours on the internet, viewing sexy fish porn photos.  If you look closely at these photos, you'll notice how the angler(s) clothing and equipment are spot-free new; these anglers get paid to model and on a day-to-day basis, may not use much of the equipment/gadgets that you see being featured. Also, you'll probably visit a handful of stores and you may begin to wonder why one fly rod cost $100 vs. another that cost $900 USD.  You may find yourself standing amongst 100's of flies, wondering which to buy. In a short while, you'll end up looking at 1,000's of purchase options, and most likely, be overwhelmed. Unfortunately, based on my experience, many of the items sold to beginner angler's, are unnecessary. With all that said, the purpose of this post, plain and simple, is to help you.  Specific to flies, I'll narrow down your choices to a handful of flies that will catch fish any where in the world.  Before I begin, allow me to lay a foundation for purchasing fly fishing equipment.

  1. Always remember, Less is More.  (you'll be surprised how little you need) 
  2. Don't believe everything you see or read. In other words, just because the model in the photo has all the gear, doesn't mean you need it.  Plus,  I have met employee's in fly shops that have no real world experience = they really don't know if the product works (I have also met some fly shop employee's/owners, who are experts).  Bottom line, buying fishing equipment can be a tricky game, so take your time.
  3. If you are on a tight budget, shop Craig's List and visit local yard/garage sales.   In other words, start off with equipment that cost $ vs. $$$$$.  

Super Flies: Beginner vs. Expert Angler

Let's keep this simple:  I'll assume you'll never be able to match the hatch.  Matching the hatch is the process of identifying aquatic insects that fish feed on, and then picking a man made fly that exactly, or best matches it.  So, whether you are a beginner or an expert bug man, if you fished with the following flies for the rest of your life, you'll catch lots of fish.

  • San Juan Worn. Size #10, #12, #14.  Color: Red, Pink, White. 
  • Egg Patterns.  Size #10, #12, #14, #16.  Popular Colors: Pink, Peach, Yellow, Orange.
  • Wooly Bugger.  Size #06-#10. Color: Black, Green, Brown.
  • Rubber Leg Stone Fly/Sexy Stone/Pat's Rubber Leg Stone Fly/Turd Fly (all the same fly, just depends on location).  Size #06,#08,#10. Colors Vary. 

San Juan Worm's are fish magnets! Tied on a straight shank and curved hooks.

Why San Juan Worm?

  • If you have not noticed, rivers are filled with worms (not the worms you buy in the store).
  • It WORK's any where in the world and they will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! 
  • If you are a beginner angler, and can not determine which nymph to use, put on a SJW and get ready to catch a lot of fish.
  • Worldwide, it is readily available in ALL fly shops.
  • It's one of the most inexpensive flies that you can buy.
  • If you tie, it's SUPER easy and very cost effective.  I have taught kids how to tie this fly in less than 5 minutes.   

    Standard Egg Fly.  There are many variations.

    Why Egg Patterns?

    • During spawning seasons for cold and warm water species, egg patterns can be extremely effective.
    • They WORK' any where in the world and they will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! 
    • If you are a beginner angler, and can not determine which nymph to use, put on an egg and get ready to catch a lot of fish.
    • Worldwide, it is readily available in ALL fly shops.
    • It's one of the most inexpensive flies that you can buy.
    • If you tie, it's SUPER easy and very cost effective.  I have taught kids how to tie this fly in less than 5 minutes.

      Bead Head Wooly Bugger , with flash in the tail.  Many variations and colors are available.


      Why Wooly Bugger?

      • They WORK' any where in the world and they will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! 
      • Mimics a wide variety of aquatic creatures; think cray fish, minnow, leach, and sculpin. 
      • If you are a beginner angler, and if you are learning how to swing flies 1/4 downstream, most anglers begin by using a Wooly Bugger.  Experiment with various sink tips to get the right depth/presentation.
      • Worldwide, it is available in ALL fly shops.
      • With some practice, it can be easily tied. 

        Rubber Leg Stone Fly

        Why Rubber Leg Stone Fly?

        • They WORK' any where in the world and they will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! This is my 100% Angus Beef,  bacon double cheeseburger, with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce fly.  No fish can resist it!
        • I use this fly exclusively as my anchor fly nymph fishing.  Add a trailer fly like a San Juan Worm and get ready to catch some big bad fish.
        • Worldwide, it should be available in ALL fly shops, but some shops don't carry them.
        • With some practice, it can be easily tied. 

        How to Fish these Flies?

        The easy part is buying the flies that I have recommended.  Now comes the hard work; how to fish each fly in a variety of locations/conditions.  Specifically, you'll need to learn how to cast, set up your leaders/nymph rigs, perfect your presentation, and properly catch-n-release fish. So, if you try it on your own and don't have much success, this is what I suggest:

        • Get Help: read books, watch videos, join fishing clubs, attend fishing seminars, etc.
        • Working with an instructor/guide may help you avoid years of frustration and stress.
        • Most importantly, if your work with an instructor/guide, be patient, honest,  communicate, and come prepared to learn, not necessarily catch fish (I know anglers who would rather BS all day long about how/why they are not catching fish.  In other words, they really don't want to learn... they just want a guide to catch them a trophy fish). 

        At FCFF, while we are in the USA, we spend more time teaching than guiding. Our rates and programs are designed to take you through series of classes, rather than a one or two day cram session.  If we can help, please feel free to contact us.


        Final Word

        Most seasoned anglers don't call these super flies.  In fact, so called purist refuse to fish with a San Juan Worm because it is not a dry fly or a nymph.  So, why do I call them super flies?  If you are a beginner and if you want to catch fish on your first or second cast, then in the eye of the beholder, these are SUPER FLIES!    

        For information about dry flies and nymphs, read the following:
        http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/2015/06/dry-flies-i-am-beginner-what-do-i-buy.html
        http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/2015/06/nymphs-i-am-beginner-what-do-i-buy.html




        Nymphs: I am a beginner, what do I buy?

        How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine by typing key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc. The search engine is located on the right side, just below…

        How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine by typing key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc. The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia; i.e., the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog. Thanks.

        You've spent years telling yourself that someday you'll learn how to fly fish.  Well, for the purpose of this post, that time has finally come; your doing it, lessons are scheduled!  What next?  If your like most beginner anglers, you'll spend many hours on the internet, viewing sexy fish porn photos.  If you look closely at these photos, you'll notice how the angler(s) clothing and equipment are spot-free new; these anglers get paid to model and on a day-to-day basis, may not use much of the equipment/gadgets that you see being featured. Also, you'll probably visit a handful of stores and you may begin to wonder why one fly rod cost $100 vs. another that cost $900 USD.  You may find yourself standing amongst 100's of flies, wondering which to buy. In a short while, you'll end up looking at 1,000's of purchase options, and most likely, be overwhelmed. Unfortunately, based on my experience, many of the items sold to beginner angler's, are unnecessary. With all that said, the purpose of this post, plain and simple, is to help you.  Specific to flies, I'll narrow down your choices to a handful of flies that will catch fish any where in the world.  Before I begin, allow me to lay a foundation for purchasing fly fishing equipment.

        1. Always remember, Less is More.  (you'll be surprised how little you need) 
        2. Don't believe everything you see or read. In other words, just because the model in the photo has all the gear, doesn't mean you need it.  Plus,  I have met employee's in fly shops that have no real world experience = they really don't know if the product works (I have also met some fly shop employee's/owners, who are experts).  Bottom line, buying fishing equipment can be a tricky game, so take your time.
        3. If you are on a tight budget, shop Craig's List and visit local yard/garage sales.   In other words, start off with equipment that cost $ vs. $$$$$.  

        Nymphs: Beginner vs. Expert Angler

        Let's keep this simple:  I'll assume you'll never be able to match the hatch.  Matching the hatch is the process of identifying aquatic insects that fish feed on, and then picking a man made fly that exactly, or best matches it.  So, whether you are a beginner or an expert bug man, if you fished with the following flies for the rest of your life, you'll catch lots of fish.

        • Copper John. Size #12-#16. In deep fast waters, I may use #10's. Overall, I favor the color red.
        • Bead Head Pheasant Tail.  Size #12-#18. In certain situations, I also use non-bead head and soft hackle PT's.  In deep fast waters, or waters known to have large stone flies,  I may use #10 PT's. 
        • Bead Head Prince Nymph. Size #12-#18.  In deep fast waters, or waters known to have large stone flies,  I may use #10. 
        • Bead Head Hare's Ear. Size #12-#18. In certain situations, I also use non-bead head, green color, and flash back Hare's Ear Nymphs. In deep fast waters, or waters known to have large stone flies and mayflies, I may use #10. 
        • Zug Bug.  Size #12-#18.  In deep fast waters, or waters known to have large caddis, I may use #10 Zug Bug. 

        Why These Nymphs?

        • They WORK any where in the world and they will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! 
        • The Copper John, Prince are true attractor flies.  In other words, they were not designed to replicate a specific nymph.  They were creatively designed to mimic a variety of nymphs.
        • The PT's, Hare's Ear and Zug Bug were originally designed to mimic specific nymphs in the mayfly and caddis families. An argument could be made, in certain situations, they also act as attractor nymphs. 
        • Worldwide, these nymphs are available in ALL fly shops.
        • For the beginner fly tier, these are not the easiest flies to tie.  Though, with practice/patience  and following on-line video tutorials, you should be able to master these flies.    

          I can never have enough red Copper John nymphs!  
          Bead Head Pheasant Tail.  Do not leave home without them.
          Bead Head Pheasant Tail with soft hackle.  If you like swinging nymphs 1/4 downstream, put this in your fly box.
          An amazing attractor nymph that works on nymph rigs, dry-dropper rigs, and swinging line 1/4 downstream. 
          Bead Head Hare's Ear.  You'll find this in my fly box 24/7.  You may also see this with a collar/soft hackle.
          You'll find many variations of the original; they all work.  This is a LePage Hare's Ear Nymph.  You may also see this with a collar/soft hackle. 
          The Zug Bug; an oldie but goodie.  I have caught some enormous fish on this fly.  If you like swinging nymphs 1/4 downstream, with various sink tips, put this in your fly box. 
          British Columbia Chinook Salmon. Caught on a Zug Bug, dead drifting and swinging a sinking tip 1/4 downstream.


          How to Fish these Flies?

          The easy part is buying the flies that I have recommended.  Now comes the hard work; how to fish each fly in a variety of locations/conditions.  Specifically, you'll need to learn how to cast, set up your leaders/nymph rigs, perfect your presentation, and properly catch-n-release fish. So, if you try it on your own and don't have much success, this is what I suggest:


          • Get Help: read books, watch videos, join fishing clubs, attend fishing seminars, etc.
          • Working with an instructor/guide may help you avoid years of frustration and stress.
          • Most importantly, if your work with an instructor/guide, be patient, honest,  communicate, and come prepared to learn, not necessarily catch fish (I know anglers who would rather BS all day long about how/why they are not catching fish.  In other words, they really don't want to learn... they just want a guide to catch them a trophy fish). 

          At FCFF, we spend more time teaching than guiding. Our rates and programs are designed to take you through series of classes, rather than a one or two day cram session.  If we can help, please feel free to contact us.


          Final Word

          Neatly un-organized and filled with nymphs mentioned above.

          Not many guides will show you their fly box.  If you have read a few post and if you have met me in person, you know I believe in sharing info and knowledge.  So, I leave you with this photo.  The take away message is, you don't need dozens of fly boxes and hundreds of flies.  This fly box fits into my shirt pocket and the amount of flies seen in the photo, will last me a good while.

          For information about dry flies and super flies, read the following:
          http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/2015/06/dry-flies-i-am-beginner-what-do-i-buy.html
          http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/2015/06/super-flies-i-am-beginner-what-do-i-buy.html





          Dry Flies: I am a Beginner, what do I Buy?

          How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine by typing key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc. The search engine is located on the right side, just below…

          How to use this blog?  Use the blog search engine by typing key words such as Float Trip, Walk-Wade, Float Tube, Lessons, DIY, Pesos, Fy Rods, Lodging, Food, Wine, Flies, Best Months, etc. The search engine is located on the right side, just below the weather.  FYI, there are over 100 post about fishing Patagonia; i.e., the information you are looking for, is probably on this blog. Thanks.

          You've spent years telling yourself that someday you'll learn how to fly fish.  Well, for the purpose of this post, that time has finally come; your doing it, lessons are scheduled!  What next?  If your like most beginner anglers, you'll spend many hours on the internet, viewing sexy fish porn photos.  If you look closely at these photos, you'll notice how the angler(s) clothing and equipment are spot-free new; these anglers get paid to model and on a day-to-day basis, may not use much of the equipment/gadgets that you see being featured. Also, you'll probably visit a handful of stores and you may begin to wonder why one fly rod cost $100 vs. another that cost $900 USD.  You may find yourself standing amongst 100's of flies, wondering which to buy. In a short while, you'll end up looking at 1,000's of purchase options, and most likely, be overwhelmed. Unfortunately, based on my experience, many of the items sold to beginner angler's, are unnecessary. With all that said, the purpose of this post, plain and simple, is to help you.  Specific to flies, I'll narrow down your choices to a handful of flies that will catch fish any where in the world.  Before I begin, allow me to lay a foundation for purchasing fly fishing equipment.

          1. Always remember, Less is More.  (you'll be surprised how little you need) 
          2. Don't believe everything you see or read. In other words, just because the model in the photo has all the gear, doesn't mean you need it.  Plus,  I have met employee's in fly shops that have no real world experience = they really don't know if the product works (I have also met some fly shop employee's/owners, who are experts).  Bottom line, buying fishing equipment can be a tricky game, so take your time.
          3. If you are on a tight budget, shop Craig's List and visit local yard/garage sales.   In other words, start off with equipment that cost $ vs. $$$$$.  

          Dry Flies: Beginner vs. Expert Angler

          Let's keep this simple:  I'll assume you'll never be able to match the hatch.  Matching the hatch is the process of identifying aquatic insects that fish feed on, and then picking a man made fly that exactly, or best matches it.  So, whether you are a beginner or an expert bug man, if you fished with the following flies for the rest of your life, you'll catch lots of fish.

          • Parachute Adams. Size #10-#20.
          • Elk Hair Caddis.  Size #12-#20 (I tie #08 and #10 EHC. You won't find these in shops.  I tie these larger EHC for Patagonia only).  
          • CDC Elk Hair Caddis.  Size #18-#22.

          Why Parachute Adams?

          #10 Parachute Adams = The one fly I never leave home without.

          • It WORKS any where in the world and it will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! Tip: you could spend the rest of your life trying to match the hatch, name and identify the gazillion species of mayflies, or you could keep it simple by using a Parachute Adams. Regardless of hatch or latin name, you'll catch fish, build your confidence, and in time, begin to properly identify specific species of mayfly's.  
          • The Parachute Adams is known as an attractor dry fly.  In other words, it was not designed to replicate a specific specie of mayfly.  It was designed to mimic a variety of bugs (mayfly's). 
          • Typically, when you use a Parachute Adams, your using it to mimic a mayfly (specifically, what is called a Dun Mayfly). Down on the river, you may not know which mayfly is hatching; or, there might not be any mayfly's hatching. If your see bugs hatching, your best option is to match the size of the Parachute Adams to the size of bugs you see hatching.  How do you do that?  A) Catch some bugs in your hands. B) Over time, with some experience and understanding of hook sizes, visibly you'll be able to guess the most appropriate size hook/fly.  If you see no hatch, think about seasonal trends, or time of day, etc (big bugs vs. small bugs).  FYI, I use a #10 Parachute Adams all the time... anglers look at me like I am crazy (see pics below... who's crazy?).
          • Used properly, this classic dry fly, is DEADLY.
          • Worldwide, it is readily available in ALL fly shops.
          • It's one of the most inexpensive dry fly's that you can buy.
          • If you tie, it's SUPER easy and very cost effective.    

            Can you see the Parachute Adams?


            Why Elk Hair Caddis?


            Sometimes, I tie very bushy Elk Hair Caddis flies =  the excess elk hair makes a great profile/shadow in the sun.  


            • Worldwide, there a more caddis flies than mayflies.   
            • It WORKS any where in the world and it will catch a wide variety of cold and warm water species! 
            • Within the industry, Elk Hair Caddis flies are not known as attractor flies; they actually look like, or come close to looking like the real thing.  With thousands of caddis species spread throughout the globe, I would say the Elk Hair Caddis fly can be used as your general/attractor fly.  In other words, at any fly shop, there are many varieties of caddis flies to purchase (the Elk Hair Caddis fly should be your 1st choice).
            • On the river,  you may not know which caddis fly is hatching; or, there might not be any caddis hatching. If your see caddis hatching, your best option is to match the size of the Elk Hair Caddis to the size of bugs you see hatching.  How do you do that?  A) Catch some bugs in your hand. B) Over time, with some experience and understanding of hook sizes, visibly you'll be able to guess the most appropriate size hook/fly.  If you see no hatch, think about seasonal trends, or time of day, etc (big bugs vs. small bugs).  FYI, in Patagonia, I use #08/#10 Elk Hair Caddis all the time... they float better in faster water and make for great dry-dropper rigs.
            • Used properly, this classic dry fly, is DEADLY.
            • Worldwide, it is readily available in ALL fly shops.
            • It's one of the most inexpensive dry fly's that you can buy.
            • If you tie, it's SUPER easy and very cost effective.

            Why Caddis Flies with CDC?

            This is known as a Splitsville Caddis with CDC.  


            • The same features and benefits mentioned about an Elk Hair Caddis apply.
            • You have tried a Parachute Adams, with no strikes. Your standard Elk Hair Caddis is not working. You see fish gently bulging at the surface, but you don't see a hatch.  Be patient, and proceed to put on a small (#18-#22) caddis with CDC feathers. Fish it dry and at times, especially on a slow down-swing drift, allow it to dip below the surface = get ready for a strike.
            • What the heck are CDC feathers and why are they so effective?  CDC translates to 'Cul de Canard.' These feathers come from the back of waterfowl, along the spine, just before the tail. The benefit of these feathers are:  A) these feathers are buoyant, and trap air bubbles = when the fly is dry, and floating high in the water, I believe the CDC feathers give a pulsing effective that no fish can resist.  B) CDC feathers will become saturated and pull the fly down lower into the slime coat/water, or possibly sink it = this action mimics a crippled or emerging caddis...either way, from my experience, when fish are picky, submerging a CDC caddis is EXTREMELY effective.


            Upper lip..can you see the CDC caddis fly?  In this very wild setting, with glass like water, this fish would not take anything else! 


            How to Fish these Flies?

            The easy part is buying the flies that I have recommended.  Now comes the hard work; how to fish each fly in a variety of locations/conditions.  Specifically, you'll need to learn how to cast, set up your leaders/nymph rigs, perfect your presentation, and properly catch-n-release fish. So, if you try it on your own and don't have much success, this is what I suggest:


            • Get Help: read books, watch videos, join fishing clubs, attend fishing seminars, etc.
            • Working with an instructor/guide may help you avoid years of frustration and stress.
            • Most importantly, if your work with an instructor/guide, be patient, honest,  communicate, and come prepared to learn, not necessarily catch fish (I know anglers who would rather BS all day long about how/why they are not catching fish.  In other words, they really don't want to learn... they just want a guide to catch them a trophy fish). 

            At FCFF, we spend more time teaching than guiding. Our rates and programs are designed to take you through series of classes, rather than a one or two day cram session.  If we can help, please feel free to contact us.


            Final Word

            Not many guides will show you their fly box.  If you have read a few post and if you have met me in person, you know I believe in sharing info and knowledge.  So, I leave you with this photo.  The take away message is, you don't need dozens of fly boxes and hundreds of flies.  This fly box fits into my shirt pocket and the amount of flies seen in the photo, will last me for a couple of seasons.

            For information on nymphs and super flies, read the following post:
            http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/2015/06/nymphs-i-am-beginner-what-do-i-buy.html
            http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/2015/06/super-flies-i-am-beginner-what-do-i-buy.html


            I do fish with larger dry flies, but day after day, this is my go-to fly box.  If you have a good eye, you can see lots of Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, and CDC Caddis.