Select your Learning Path


The VERY FIRST Step to undertake when deciding to take up the sport of fly fishing is to select a "Learning Path".  Below are four (4) Learning Path choices (Determine Points) to consider.

Learning to Fly Fish can be viewed as being either Simple or ComplexAmazingly, the more that you learn about the complexities of fly fishing, the more simple it becomes! It's kind of like riding a bike for the first time. Before you know it, you're peddling your way down the road in a perfectly upright and balanced position, traveling at your own desired pace.

Learning to cast is that first step. This step can be combined with other basic skills like those in our "Just the Basics" beginner classes. Casting is a skill that you can totally control by becoming good at it. Casting also sets you up for the future so that you can make descent fly "Presentations". Most people start out with a Single Hand rod to learn basic casting skills and want to pursue fly fishing for Rainbow or Brown trout (unless they live in bass or saltwater territory; or, want to specifically pursue those species). Progression can take place far beyond the basics, dependent upon species pursued and the desired casting methods to best pursue those species.


Your Learning Path choices can be summarized as follows:

#1  What rod type to use... Single Hand or Two-Handed Spey Rod?

#2  What species of fish do you want to pursue? 

#3  Coldwater, Warmwater, or Saltwater?

#4  How much do you want to spend on fly fishing overall?

Learn more about these choices in more detail below...


#1 Determination Point:  Single Hand Rod or Two-Handed Spey Rod?

Single Hand Rod

Traditional "To and Fro" casting style or "D-Loop with line repositioning" casting style?

Two-Handed Spey Rod

Why should I consider using a Two-Handed Spey Rod instead of a Single Hand Rod?


#2 Determination Point: What species of fish do you want to pursue?

This may be determined by the time of the year due to seasonal differences; the latest fishing reports; or, what is available to you in your "backyard".  The choice of rod, line, and/or head type comes into play here.

COLDWATER...    Single Hand Rod; Single with Spey Line; Two-Handed Spey Rod; TroutSpey Rod; or, OPST Commando Line System




WARMWATER...   Single Hand Rod; Single with Spey Line; or, OPST Commando Line System

Largemouth Bass

Kentucky Spotted Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Striped Bass

(like for... Lake Sidney Lanier)

SALTWATER...   Single Hand Rod



Sea Trout



Striped Bass    Single Hand Rod; or, Two-Handed Spey Rod (in the Surf)

In general, the larger the species, the greater the weight rod required. Trout rods are typically 4, 5 or 6 weight. Steelhead rods are typically 7 or 8 weight. Salmon rods vary dependent upon the size of the salmon (usually 8 - 10 weight). Bass rods are typically 6 or 7 weight. Striper rods are 8 or 9 weight. Bonefish rods are either 8 or 9 weight. Permit rods are typically 9 weight. Tarpon rods are 10+ weight.

The weight standards are different between Single Hand rods and Two Handed rods. This makes a big difference in the choice of lines, heads, and even rods that are appropriate for a particular fishing situation.


#3 Determination Point: Coldwater, Warmwater, or Saltwater?

What water type do you want to fish; and, how to outfit yourself is definitely a consideration. The are many great choices to buy what you need but we recommend doing business with local fly fishing retailers.


Waders, Wading boots, Wading Belt, Wool Socks, Layers for warmth, Gloves, Waterproof/Windproof Jacket, Wading Staff, Fishing Vest, Backpack, etc.


A lot of warmwater fishing is done from either a pond bank or a boat of some type. Dress for the weather conditions. A fishing vest or boat bag serves for carrying flies, leaders,

tippet material, nippers, etc.


Wading requires only a pair of shorts at the very least; plus, something to carry a pair of nippers, tippet material, and a few flies. Some people use waders and boots to protect themselves from all sorts of things including abrasions and stingrays. Flats-style boats or kayaks give great freedom to cover more water, safely, and gain access to more fish or fish of a particular species. Two of the most important items to carry when fishing the salt is a good pair of polarized sunglasses (copper lenses) and sunscreen (SPF 50+).


#4 Determination Point:  How much do you really want to spend?

How much do you want to spend overall on fly fishing? The instruction portion from a qualified instructor is really the least expensive and most worthwhile aspect of this sport. Instruction has the highest payoff and can get you up to speed much more quickly. 

Your instruction payoff is VERY HIGH because:

You don't waste money purchasing "things" that you really don't need;

You significantly reduce your learning curve to become proficient;


Learning from your "expert buddies" can, and often does, prolong the learning process.

You begin to look and feel like a knowledgeable person with some fly fishing experience. What a way to impress your significant other -- or your fly fishing buddies!

Beyond getting fly fishing instruction, your dollar outlay could be very low if you stick to the basics; or, off-the-chart as you travel to exotic places, buy the best rods, invest in beautiful reels, and wear "the right stuff".  And maybe, even drive the "right" car (SUV).

Like any sport, fly fishing does require a personal commitment to try to learn as much as you can about the sport. Practice makes perfect!

Tiger Woods didn't just one day decide to become a championship level golfer; nor, did Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhart Jr. decide that just because they learned how to drive their parent's car that they would instantly become NASCAR champions.

Become your own champion!

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