5 tips to improve your fly fishing.

November 26, 2015

Bob Wyatt

Bob Wyatt trout fishingBob brings a feisty Brown to the net.

1. Use a good outfit. 

Its not just a matter of price, but unless you get real joy out of not spending money, a cheap outfit will not give you the pleasure a really good one will. And the pleasure of a good outfit is not imaginary, its physical. Save up, trade up, whatever, but there is so much really good tackle available these days that fishing with a poor outfit just makes no sense.

2. Have more than one outfit.

There are few things worse than being undergunned or overgunned for the fishing you want to do. Unless you fish only one water, and fish with the same methods every time, you are going to need at least one more outfit. You wouldn’t play golf with one club.  So, get serious, and double, or triple your fun. When its time to fish the big cone head streamer, or the tiny dry fly, its great to have the appropriate tool for the job.

3. Don’t fish too light.

Fighting a big fish on a tippet that’s too light is nothing to brag about.  Sure, it takes some deft handling to keep from breaking off, but the extra time it takes to land it is a sure fire way to kill a fish. Trout are not as leader shy as they are cracked up to be, and leader material these days is twice as strong for its diameter as it was twenty years ago.  Work on your line management skills to avoid drag and line shadow instead, and get the fish in the net while its still kicking.

4. Practice your casting.

Be the best you can be. When it comes to fly fishing, most of our failures are due to poor casting skills. Practice makes perfect. Make those fancy presentation mends and accuracy casts second nature, so you don’t even think about it.  Practice for distance, and work on your double haul, but don’t turn every practice lesson into a pissing contest.  Button off on the power. Get out the hula hoops and get the fly in the middle. 

5. Fish like a Heron.

Charging up the river to get to the best pool first is a good way to miss a lot of good fishing. Lakes and streams have far more fish in them that are visible, and trout, especially big trout, are very sensitive to movement, Fish like a heron. Dead slow and stop.  You’ll see more of what’s going on in and around the water,  enjoy your time on the water even more and, importantly, catch more and larger fish.

Bob Wyatt is a recognised angler, author and artist. You can buy Bobs most recent book 'What Trout Want: The Educated Trout and Other Myths' on Amazon here
Bob Wyatt trout fishing

6 Responses

Bob Hart
Bob Hart

August 16, 2021

All five tips are good, but for me, practice casting is the most important.


December 28, 2015

All 5 of those tips are great, but #4 is definitely one that I try pay attention to the most. It’s hard to get to the water these days with busy schedules, kids and weather, so casting practice is a must. If I go a month without casting, it really shows and those first 20 casts really suck.

David Korty
David Korty

December 24, 2015

Thanks Clive,
Interesting comment on the leader length. But I don’t quite understand what you mean about “making your first loop 4-6 inch strips”. Do you mean make 4-6 inch strips as you retrieve the fly? Can you elaborate on this and explain further?


December 14, 2015

Having been a steelhead guide for 20 years, I’ve learned two tricks that have nearly doubled my hookup percentage. The first is leader length, Regardless of which fly fishing method, be it single hand or spey. When fishing gin clear water using sinktips, and your not getting strikes or bumps, lengthen your tippet 12 to 16 inches. The fish are most likely seeing the dark but of your sink tip. The second is changing your retrieve from dangle. Again regardless of which type of fly fishing, wet flies, dry flies, single hand, or spey. When your fly reaches the dangle or direct downstream position, create your first loop using short 4 to 6 inch strips. You will soon realize how many fish you were pulling the fly away from.

vince bayley
vince bayley

December 12, 2015

all 5 tips are 100% accurate, the hardest thing to do is remember to put them into action
when on the river.

Spencer Cook
Spencer Cook

November 27, 2015

Great advice! I definitely need more gear! ha ha ;) Being stealthy like a heron is a HUGE advantage.

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