There’s something about being knee-deep in the rush of the river, fly rod in hand, at that magic hour when the sun is just about to set and its reflection sparkles like diamonds on the water. Welcome to our guide to fly-fishing, and it’s even better in person.
We first got hooked when we traveled with Bentley (yes, the luxury car company) to test drive their Bentayga, which at the time was the fastest SUV on the market. Our ride had a custom Mulliner fly fishing kit in the trunk, and we drove it right up to the river bank. Maybe it was the car. Maybe it was the fleet, because a dozen other Bentley Bentaygas joined us for this boondoggle. Maybe it was the stunning Colorado scenery. Whatever the case, we’ve been hooked since. Because forget A River Runs Through It; it was much cooler in a Bentley.
Anyone can fly fish, but unlike regular fishing, there’s a lot more to it than sitting on a boat. In fly fishing, you’re actively casting with your fly rod, and there’s an intellectual and active component to managing your fishing line and your fly. Unlike fishing where there’s live bait, in fly fishing, your fly is an artificial fly that is meant to trick your fish into taking the bait. It’s a dance with the fish, who are pretty smart, which is the fun of the fly fishing sport.
1. Pick a beautiful destination to fly fish.
The setting is as important as catching the fish. It’s about taking in the scenery, like the mountains, rolling fields, river banks and getting that fresh air. Also know that you’re going to be trekking – sometimes for miles in a day, if you’re wading in the river and not on a drift boat. You won’t mind it if it’s in a beautiful place.
2. Hire an instructor with a reputable local firm.
We worked with one of the best instructors, Clay Moorhead with Grand Fishing Adventures, in Jackson Hole Wyoming, and this was his first piece of advice. No conflict of interest here though; it’s a fact. With the right outfit, you’ll get access to private concessions that are not open to public and also learn the right techniques to become an expert, or at least recreational, angler.
3. Make sure your waders are comfortable.
It’s very hard to look good in waders, and this is one case where function is over form. Waders keep the water out when you go knee deep into the river banks where the fish will be jumping. You will also need to wear either moisture wicking pants or shorts underneath.
4. Practice your casting.
Casting is the method you use to get your fly rod line out into the river, to catch you some fish. It’s a rhythm that is learned and perfected with practice. If you think you’re going to Brad Pitt it like A River Runs Through It, think again. His cast was one for Hollywood, but not a real cast technique if you want to catch you some fish. Fly fishing is the intelligent person’s sport; there’s a specific grip, method to manage your line, an art to choosing the right fly to attract the fish depending on the conditions and of course, the right cast technique. There is something almost meditative though once you’re able to get the basics down, which is why a lot of people get hooked on the sport.
Assuming you’re all fishing right handed, make sure if you’re standing nearby, you stand to the left of the person casting. Those flies hook and they hurt like heck if you get them on your skin. Safety is important when you are fly fishing so take cues from your instructor and guide.
6. Wear protective eye gear.
For all the reasons in #5. If you do get a hook you don’t want it in your eye.
7. Bring lots of sunblock.
When you fly fish, you’re out for the day, and the sun is brutal. Also bring a hat and a lot of experienced anglers fish with long sleeves and even a hoodie to protect them from the sun.
Leave your cotton socks at home, lest you end up with wet feet at the end of the day. You’re wearing waders, but the waters have a way of making your feet damp, so wear synthetic heavy to mid-weight wool to keep your feet dry.
9. Have fun.
There’s a lot going on with fly fishing as this is an intelligent person’s sport, but when it boils down to it, it’s about the people you’re with, the stunning nature around you, getting in the zone where it’s almost meditative, and of course, catching some fish. It’s a sport that can be a lifetime endeavor and take you out of the outside world if even for just a day.
Photo Courtesy of Bentley Motors and Kelly Serfoss