5 Tips For Taking Out First Time Anglers

Brookie fishing with first time anglers

As anglers, it is our duty to introduce first-timers to the sport of fly fishing. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s harder than it looks. The first hurdle is convincing someone to clear their schedule, take off work, and abandon all responsibilities in order to wave a fishing rod around in hopes of catching some trout (their perspective, not ours). This is often the most difficult feat, but fear not, if you’ve accomplished this, you’re already halfway there. Here are five helpful tips to make your newbie’s first fly fishing experience one to remember.

1. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail.

Preparing before a long day of fishing

When fishing with first-timers, preparation is of the highest necessity. Aim to have everything rigged the night before. That means waders are packed, rods are stowed, and lunch is loaded safely in your cooler. The more prepared, the better the experience. The same rule applies to fishing. Ensure you teach your newcomer how to cast BEFORE stepping foot on the stream. Otherwise, you’re guaranteed a tangled mess and a frustrated angler.

2. Back to Basics

Using a basic roll cast on a tight mountain stream

When casting, newcomers often feel the need to haul back and forth several times. While there certainly is a time and place for this, it shouldn’t be on their first outing. When starting out (and in general) the roll cast is their best friend. This allows more time for catching fish and less time catching trees. Simplicity is the name of the game. The more you simplify, the better the outcome.

3. Up Your Odds

Upping our odds with a bow and arrow cast

While there’s far more to fly fishing than just catching fish, you want to ensure all the odds are in your favor. The best way to do this is by choosing tactics with a high success rate. The first choice is what to target. Are you fishing for trout, bass, musky, etc…? We highly recommend brook trout fishing, as they are typically the least picky and most forgiving out of the bunch. Once you’ve decided on a species, you must determine your plan of attack. For brook trout, it’s hard to go wrong with a dry dropper. Working both levels of the water column is a great way to up your odds.

4. Take a Break 

A beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains

While it’s easy to get discouraged if the fishing is slow, you’re better off taking a break than pushing a newbie to keep casting. This often results in frustration and can risk turning them off to the sport. Breaks are a great way to relax, reset, have a beer, and enjoy the view. Breaks also allow newcomers to look up and take in their surroundings, rather than staring at the water all day.

5. Enjoy It.

Catching a beautiful brook trout on a snowy February afternoon

Last but certainly not least, enjoy it. Don’t let poor conditions and slow fishing dictate your attitude. A day on the water is a day well spent, so live in the moment and cherish the experience.

Article and photos by Owen Rossi. Visit Native Release on Instagram for more of his work!


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