To truly understand what is fly fishing, you need to know that the defining attribute of fly fishing is the unique way we deliver our lure, commonly referred to as a fly. This action is called fly casting. Unlike other fishing casts, where the weight of the lure or bait carries the fishing line, fly casting relies on the mass of a thicker, heavier fly line to carry and deliver our near weightless fly.
The primary benefit of fly fishing is the ability to deliver a fly (lure) to a fish without making a splash on the water. This comes in handy when fishing for nervous trout in clear water. Although fly casting is very different from other forms of fishing, approached correctly…fly casting is actually quite easy to learn.
Even if you’re already an accomplished conventional (spinning or casting rod) angler, it’s a great idea to spend some time learning the basics of a fly cast. Once understood, and with just a bit of correct fly casting practice, you’ll arrive stream-side ready to focus more on catching than casting.
The basic goal of any fly cast is to tell your weighted fly line where you want it to go. Wherever your fly line goes, so too will your fly. Once you gain control over your fly line, the rest is just fishing. The Leland Casting Method is our proven approach to get just about anyone efficiently moving fly line in no time.
Leland’s 3 Fly Casting Principles
1. Remove fly line slack. 2. Using the rod, “pull” the line. 3. Stop the rod.
The video below will explain these three fly casting principles in more detail. Enjoy.
Fly fishing is a “gate key.” It’s an excuse to find yourself in wonderfully beautiful places with a reason to be there. Fly fishing is a catalyst to drive down dirt roads, hike new trails and explore around a river’s bend to see what might be there.
Embraced correctly, fly fishing isn’t just about fish count or fish size. Instead, the true goal is to “earn” your fish with an efficient and accurate cast, while employing as little equipment as possible. Done right, fly fishing is more like hunting. Quietly stalking along a clear trout stream looking for a fish or promising water is fun by itself. But, seeing a fish, making an accurate cast and hooking a fish is a fish well earned. This is fly fishing.
Fly fishing is a new lens to look through. It will sharpen your view of nature and build value in the wonder of the outdoors. Through fly fishing, you can collect magical memories that will last a lifetime. You can fly fish by yourself to find solitude or you can fly fish with those that matter. Young or old, boy or girl, everyone can fly fish and so can you!
You might have heard that fly fishing is complex and intimidating. Approached correctly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we at Leland, argue that fly fishing is actually the easiest form of fishing. Fish don’t have hands! Sounds funny to state, but it’s true. Fish have to eat to stay alive and they are naturally curious…meaning they will put your fly in their mouth. All you have to do is get your fly in front of a fish.
It’s time you started fly fishing!
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’ve always wanted to fly fish.” If you’ve ever poked your head into a typical fly shop and found yourself overwhelmed with too much equipment and underwhelmed by the service, you’re not alone. For thirty years we’ve been listening to our customers and honing our craft. We’re ready to service you correctly with just the right amount of confidence-building information and fly fishing gear so you can finally realize your dream…going fly fishing.
We believe what you believe…that a trout fly fishing reel doesn’t have to be fancy, technical or high-performance to be worthy of ownership.
You see, Grandpa Leland was very sensible and so was his trout fly fishing reel…
Grandpa Leland was a very pragmatic man. He didn’t get sidetracked by the fancy stuff in life. He made thoughtful purchases and this was of course true when it came to his fly fishing equipment. Granted, there wasn’t the plethora of technical and performance-oriented fly fishing brands, series and models available today, but still…there were at least a few choices, and Grandpa Leland didn’t like choices…he liked solutions.
If you ever saw the movie, “A River Runs Through It” you saw the essence of fly fishing for trout. A beautiful location, a reason to be there and not a lot of fly fishing gear pretty much sums up the wonder of fly fishing for trout. That’s just how Grandpa Leland used to fish…nice and simple. He knew fly fishing for trout was an intimate activity. Get close to your fish, make a worthwhile cast, land your fly accurately, drift your offering naturally, hope for the grab, set the hook, play the fish and relish the reward…that is fly fishing at its best!
When it came to his fly reel, Mr. Leland didn’t mess around. He knew he needed a well-built reel with enough space to store his fly line and just enough backing should his big fish head down stream. He knew he needed a fly reel that paid out the line without over-running. He saw his fly reel as a near-timeless investment that he could use in the field for many seasons and pass down to the next generation. By today’s standard, his reel was quite simple. No large-arbor spool, no fancy, sealed disc-drag system. His reel didn’t have any of that and he was quite sure he didn’t need it.
Just like his belt, wrist watch and pocket knife, Mr. Leland’s trout fly reel had to be functional and uncomplicated. It need to perform on the water and take the occasional hard knocks stream-side. A bit of oil or grease added here and there once in a while was to be expected, but nothing more was required. Just like a good dog or plow horse, he expected his trout fly reel to work when asked…and his fly reel did just that.
Beyond function, Mr. Leland’s fly reel was a cherished item. It was beautiful when mounted on his favorite trout fly rod. Its weight was just right to balance his fine fly rod. It’s finish, even with a well-earned scratch or two, only grew in beauty over the years on the water. The original shiny luster dulled to a fine patina over time, but that was to be expected. It was proof of a happy, well-used trout fly reel.
And the sound…oh the sound. When requesting more fly line for a longer cast from his fly reel, or when a worthy trout headed down stream, Grandpa Leland’s fly reel acoustically announced to the world that he had connected to a fine fish. It’s these simple attributes, from a rather simple fly reel, that made Mr. Leland’s life better on the water, and strangely enough, even today, make life a little better for the rest of us.
If you’ve been searching for a worthy trout fly fishing reel, you might wish to consider the contemporary version of Grandpa Leland’s trout fly reel.
Now that you know more about fly fishing gear, including the fly reel, it’s now time to learn a bit on trout. Click the button below.
There’s no doubt that a pan-fried, wild trout meal, eaten in the high mountains, is a memorable meal indeed, especially when shared with friends. In remote locations, a healthy, wild-trout population can handle this culinary pressure, but trout fisheries situated closer to large human populations can’t. On these more accessible fisheries, it’s best to catch and release your fish…and it might even be the law.
Although the practice of catch and release can be traced back to 19th century Britain, most of what the USA knows about catch and release fishing started in the 1950’s. It was during these post-war years that the concept of “leisure time” began to grow in popularity…fishing being a big part of it. With added catch and keep fishing pressure, wild fish populations soon began to decline. Something had to be done to ensure a healthy, wild population of fish for avid, weekend anglers. Catch and release was the answer.
But are there trade offs to catch and release fishing? Some organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) view catch and release fishing as even more inhumane than catching, killing and eating a fish. They believe catch and release fishing is simply the molestation of an animal for our own human pleasure. The truth is, PETA’s base view-point is hard to counter. We anglers are in fact disturbing a wild animal for our own enjoyable experience. But, as usual, there’s far more to the book than the first sentence and in the end, PETA will hopefully learn they are wrong.
What PETA is sorely missing in their logic is human nature. By design, we humans have to touch things to learn and respect nature. We cannot idly sit on the sidelines and just imagine catching a fish. We have to “do.” For us fly anglers, “doing” is fishing and fishing is touching nature. This experience builds value, and anything with value is worth saving. The mistake PETA is making is assuming that if we don’t touch nature, it will be better off. The fact is, those that never had the grand experience of seeing a wild trout up close would never miss it..even when it disappears from yet another dam or commercial culvert. Out of sight…out of mind. Wild trout actually need us anglers to survive in the modern world.
The concept of catch and release fishing is fairly basic. The name pretty much says it all, but there are some subtitles to the process that will greatly increase the survival rate of your fish…and really, that’s what catch and release is all about…ensuring a healthy population of wild fish for future generations. It’s a gift for other fly fishers. By releasing your fish properly, you’re smartly using and reinvesting in a limited resource for yourself and others to enjoy. Famous fly angler Lee Wulff said it right, “Game fish are too valuable to only be caught once.”
Although Leland promotes proper catch and release fly fishing in highly-pressured trout waters, we still love pan friend trout in the right location. Click the button to learn how to prepare a trout for a worthy meal.
If you really think about it, all we’re actually doing during a fly cast is telling our weighted fly line what we’d like it to do, or where we’d like it to go. Once we get our fly line moving, our tapered leader and fly will happily follow. In most cases that means sending our weighted fly line in a straight path toward our intended target. This linear approach to fly casting is just fine, and it will allow you to catch fish in most settings.
There are however, situations where a linear fly cast just won’t work. Maybe there is an object (rock or tree stump) in the way, so there’s no chance to deliver your fly. Maybe a linear fly cast will result in “lining” and spooking your fish, as your weighted fly line lands directly atop your fish. There are simple options: You can change your position to create “line of sight” to your target and make your straight cast. You can also just move to another pool and continue happily fishing with your trusty, straight-line fly cast.
There is yet another option…the curved fly cast. Appropriately named, the curved cast allows you to curve your weighted fly line around physical obstacles and present your fly to an otherwise unaccessible target. But there’s more to a curved fly cast than just casting around objects. With just a bit of practice, you’ll soon begin to understand other hidden benefits to the curved fly cast.
For example, if you’re directly downstream from a trout and you don’t want to land your fly line or leader above your fish, you can curve your cast so that only your fly is presented to the fish. You’ll also have the ability to tackle tricky currents like you find in eddies. A straight-line cast into an eddie (with opposing currents) will almost instantly result in an unnatural drift of your fly. A correctly-crafted curve cast will position your leader and fly within the eddie, allowing your fly to drift naturally. Problem solved.
The biggest secret to mastering the curved fly cast is you’ll now be able to present your fly where other anglers can’t. In effect, you’ll be fishing private water…even on highly-pressured public water. Just watch the video for more detailed information on what’s necessary to make a curved fly cast.
Releasing your fish properly is a gift for another angler.
With a soft twist of your barbless hook and a slow dip of your net, your beautiful angling partner is released back to the wild. Vibrant colors fade into nature as your fish dissolves within a yard. Maybe you’ll catch this fish again on another glorious day. Maybe someone else will receive your gift…or maybe you just received this gift from a previous angler.
“The finest gift you can give any fisherman is to put a good fish back. And who knows if the fish that you caught isn’t someone else’s gift to you?” Lee Wulff
Of all the gifts one can give, a wild fish properly released is possibly the best. It’s a present with no name tag, no intended recipient. It might be enjoyed by a friend of yours, or someone you’ve never met. It might come full circle back to you…you never know. And like any good gift, it’s truly the thought that counts!
“Releasing a wild fish back into nature is an empowering experience. Catching that fish again is a humbling one.” Burke White