Freshwater Fly Fishing Basics with James Fox

Fish Photo
Nice Bass from Owen McPaul taken on a Freshwater Fly - Orange Black Gurgler

Nice Bass from Owen McPaul taken on a Freshwater Fly – Orange Black Gurgler

Hi Guys

The fine Crew at Tackle Land have asked me to write up a basic getting started in Freshwater Fly Fishing segment..

Here are my own thoughts for those who are either already versed in Saltwater Fly and wishing to pursue something different or for those who would just like some tips on where to start and how…

Fly Fishing Basics

As an intro, my name is James Fox, I am a Commercial Fly Tier and a good portion of my tying as [email protected] revolves around those fishing for freshwater species like the ever popular Bass, Saratoga, Yellow Belly, Mary River Cod, and Barramundi in the Dams and Lakes.

John Robertson with a fine Barra caught on the Tunz@Flyz synthetic Pink Thing, in WA, what a great fly and just perfect for the likes of Barramundi

John Robertson with a fine Barra caught on the [email protected] synthetic Pink Thing, in WA, what a great fly and just perfect for the likes of Barramundi

Of course there are many other target species as well, however, for the sake of this piece, I would like to just concentrate my thoughts on Bass, Barra and Saratoga, because they are a great sports fish and are accessible in many locations and are eager to take well presented flies.

Now when considering gear it is always best to do a little research on your intended fishing destination, but firstly what is your target species? Is it Bass or is it maybe Barra in one of the Impoundments? Knowing your target species and where they are likely to live is a vital link in fishing success.

Otherwise you could be fishing a watery desert with poor results. So now, what sort of structure is there?

Are there weed beds,

  • lily pads,
  • under cut banks,
  • deep water drop offs,
  • fallen trees and the like?

These areas require some different tackle and technique. In reality, you may need to fish surface flies or be using flies that sink to the depths that fish are holding up… Sounders are a good investment for locating structure, bait fish and predators.

These few questions will ultimately determine the gear you will be using most of the time for most common scenarios and also the kinds of flies you may need to be using to be successful.

Fly Fishing Basic Equipment

The variables in all fishing situations are obviously many but this is what I would recommend, for the most part your good quality outfit will be in the 6w, 7w and 8w range, again just basics here, some guys may prefer smaller weights, some guys if you are targeting big fish maybe up to 10w.

So a good 6 to 8 weight outfit will get you started, loaded with some backing, if you have a spare reel spool with your outfit, 2 different lines will cover nearly all the types of structure you are likely to find. So one spool loaded with a floating line for fishing areas like lilly pads, weed beds and shallow areas, the other reel spooled with an intermediate or sinking line for those deeper water structures.

The guys will lead you in the right direction here and help you with tapered leaders, tippets etc, and can help you also put the pieces of the puzzle together, local advice from experienced staff is paramount..

Nice Bass from Owen McPaul Fishing on his very first fly fishing outing, caught on a Brown/Yellow AttractaBug, awesome stuff!

Nice Bass from Owen McPaul Fishing on his very first fly fishing outing, caught on a Brown/Yellow AttractaBug, awesome stuff!

Flies are again are big variable, however let’s assume you are fishing for Bass, Barra and Saratoga, you have done some research on your fish, the destination and now you know where you are likely to find them.  For Saratoga you may be casting around the lily pads and weed beds with surface flies like Poppers and Gurglers, or going a bit deeper with flies like Gusto’s, and Things.

A vital word here though is if you are intending to fish snaggy structure, and you will at some stage, ensure your flies have weed guards attached; it will save you some money in lost flies and also the frustration of constantly snagging up.

For Barramundi try targeting shallow weed beds, with surface flies, again Gurglers and Poppers, or flies tied on Jig type hooks where the point rides upwards and easily retrieved across the pads or weeds.

For the edges, tree structures or deeper water banks and holes fish with flies like Clousers, Zonkabou Minnows, Pink Things and Deceivers.

Lastly in the trio, is the Bass, these are found nearly everywhere, from creeks to dams and are definitely a worthwhile target species as they are often found close to suburbia. Kayaking is a good option. Bass really are a great fish to pursue especially in the dusk and dawn periods on Surface Flies as they will readily smash Gurglers and Poppers skipped across the surface of the water. Now that’s fun! They will be found in lots of places too, undercut banks, weed banks, deeper holes, amongst fallen trees, around rock bars. For deeper water fishing, the popular Bass Vampires, Shrimp and also Squimp Patterns will prove to be very successful.

57 - 58cm Tarpon caught by Michael Marshall on a Black and Barred Thing in FNQ. It's a great fish by Aussie standards...

57 – 58cm Tarpon caught by Michael Marshall on a Black and Barred Thing in FNQ. It’s a great fish by Aussie standards…

If I can offer any real advice, it’s this, “Keep it Simple” fly fishing seems complicated,  it’s not,  just research, ask some questions, talk to other enthusiasts, join a fly fishing club, grab some flies and  just go out and have some fun with it, be patient and the success will follow.. Enjoy your fishing and the surrounds, there is nothing better than breathing in the smell of fresh air..

Thanks
James Fox
[email protected]

 

 

 

Special Thanks

Tackle Land would like to thank James for taking the time to put a few pointers together to help people understand a bit more about Freshwater Fly Fishing.

Although James has a passion for Saltwater Fly Fishing he has shown that the same tactics can be easily transferred to Freswater Fly Fishing.

For more information on James or to check out some of the Flies he creates, log onto http://www.facebook.com/tunzaflyz

Thanks again James and if anybody has anything they would like add to help out other beginners feel free to leave a comment in the space below!

Maintain the Passion!

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