Learn to cast a fly; practice makes perfect
Im often asked about learning to fly fish. Fly fishing is a great sport that requires the angler to become familiar with just about every aspect of the fish, its environment and food source.Beyond that it is just a matter of being at the right spot at the right time.One of the most important elements of fly fishing is being able to present the fly to the fish. Unlike spin fishing, where the weight of the lure carries the thin monofilament line out, flies do not have much weight and cannot be cast in a conventional method. In fly fishing, the fly line is the weight and its shape aids in carrying the fly to its target.Learning to fly cast itself should be a relatively easy process if you have spin or bait cast before. The same basic principles used to load the rod to make your cast can be applied to fly fishing.A beginner would be best served to go out with someone who is an experienced fly fisher. The other option is to seek out instruction for fly casting. There are many guides and instructors who will assist you in learning these skills in our area. There is an instructor certification process through the Federation of Fly Casters and some of the guides are also certified instructors. While the others may not have been through a certification school, they have undoubtedly been through a guide school, which gives them the same type of training.Joining a club such as the local Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers is also a great way to learn the complete process of fly fishing as well as fly casting. Some of the best anglers in our area belong to this club and offer a great wealth of knowledge to any fly fisher. They meet the fourth Thursday of the month, excluding the months of November and December due to the holidays. Meetings are held upstairs at OBs Pub andamp; Restaurant on Commercial Row in Truckee. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 24.A beginner typically learns the basics of casting beginning with a roll cast, straight pick-up and lay down cast, false cast and shooting some line. More advanced instruction will include learning how to double-haul for extra distance. This is a process of learning to accelerate the line speed so a greater amount of line can be cast.After one learns these basics, they are ready to begin fishing. However, in order to be successful, one must still learn how to present the fly to imitate the insects that are hatching. This necessitates that the angler learn how to present the fly with a drag-free presentation. Like casting, this requires some manipulation of the line. By positioning the line on the water relative to the current, an angler can achieve a drag-free presentation. Once you learn this tactic, you can be successful at catching some of the wily trout in the Truckee and Little Truckee rivers.If you do not want to fish the rivers, first a fly fisher can take his or her basic skills and be successful on a lake or reservoir. This is because there is little current to contend with in this type of water. It is a great place to catch your first fish on a fly. Both of my children began their fly fishing experience on lakes and then graduated to the rivers.While it may seem like a lot to know, fly fishing is a lifelong experience. No matter how experienced you become, you will learn something new all the time. Begin with some fly casting instruction and consider joining a fly fishing club such as the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers.Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.