Listen, I’m by no means a #flygod (although someday I will be). In the timeline of fly rod immortality, I’m a mere babe. But I’ve put enough time in where I can preach the steps to becoming a respected angler on the river or flats.
Before my acceptance of the fly gods, the old and the new, I was just like you: lost, spinning rod in hand, dead fish at my feet. A true heathen. But I’m reformed. I’ve accepted that if I’m going to live by the fly, I’ll die by the fly.
And I’m here to tell you that you can too. After reading this blog, you’ll be one of us; dropping dries, absolutely crushing trout, and sipping rare craft beers out on the river with your buds.
There are so many resources that tell you how to be a successful trout or striper fly angler. But none of them really helped me achieve the “Fly Legend” lifestyle I sought. Sure, I caught fish. I learned how to cast a fly like a menace and all the gear to buy. But was this really what I wanted? No, it wasn’t. Fly fishing is way more than catching a fish on the fly, or picking waders or throwing the right line. It’s a lifestyle, man. And although I’ll try in this blog post, it’s not something that can really be taught. You’ve just got to feel it.
So without further ado, here’s what you need to be accepted into the way of the #troutbum.
The newest iPhone, regardless of whether you can afford it
The old guys will tell you that the rod is the most important part of fly fishing, or the line, or the fly. I would disagree. Sure, those things will allow you to catch fish. But what’s the point of even fishing if you can’t get a sweet shot of the fish using your iPhone XR? The camera on this thing is KILLER. And if you’re not using portrait mode, I don’t even want to talk to you.
When you catch a fish, make sure to gaze down at it solemnly. Don’t look at the camera and smile. This is art. It’s not a grip and grin in On the Water magazine. It’s not supposed to be fun. Your fly rod should either be in your mouth or behind your back in all pictures.
You’ll also need your phone to call you buds when a hatch goes off. This proves to them that you’re a killer angler and just a great friend in general.
Insta is the only social media platform that matters for the aspiring fly angler. What, you mean you’re still posting your fish pics to Facebook? What’s the matter with you, seriously? Are you 40 years old?
To fly fish successfully, you’ll need to have at least 1,000 Insta followers and this is the absolute bare minimum. Most of these can be bots, it really doesn’t matter.
If you want to make your shot look really great, you need to know how filters work. The trick here is to use ONLY the Gingham filter, lower your contrast and raise your saturation as high as it will go. I don’t know why photographers get paid so much. My pictures look much better than theirs. Black and white works occasionally, but it really depends how angsty you want the picture to look. Make sure to ALWAYS hashtag #nofilter, no matter what.
Captions should be: “The colors on this brown (fire emoji fire emoji fire emoji)” or These lines (heart-eyes emoji).
The Fly Cast
Watch a couple Youtube videos, you’ll figure it out. I always try and just wave the rod back and forth as fast as I can. This usually does the trick.
A good buff is one of your most important fashion pieces when on the river, pond, or ocean. It makes you look exceptionally cool. Definitely don’t buy the ones with skulls on them. Save those for the spin fishermen.
Your fly fishing flannel doesn’t need to be comfortable; again we’re just going for a look. You can get a really nice flannel from one of the big fly fishing manufacturers for around a hundred bucks. That’s a pretty good deal when you figure you’ll be able to get at least five or six trips while wearing it before it falls apart. Not a bad investment. And with a good flannel, you’ll not only look like you know how to fish, you’ll look very lumber-sexual and fashion forward doing it.
Local craft brew
Make sure to have an assortment of cans of rare craft beer in your pack for a nice photo shoot after you don’t catch any fish. Double IPAs are recommended. An important note: the Beer Advocate score must be above a 4.2.
In order to be taken seriously as a new age fly angler, you absolutely must have a chocolate lab. A black lab is also acceptable although it won’t give you the type of clout a choco will. Don’t you dare show your yellow lab on your Insta feed. Make sure to get shots of your dog walking totally casually down the river at your side or licking your freshly caught trout. Because all dogs definitely act like this, especially labs.
I don’t know, buy something that looks cool. Something with a dark blue blank. No, green. Actually, just go to the fly shop and pull the most expensive one off the shelf, wave it around a few times to make sure it’s bendy, look closely at the cork handle and tell the kid at the counter you’ll take it. Put it on Dad’s credit card.
A reel is really all about that clicking noise. Go to that same local fly shop and ask to spin every reel they have in stock. Don’t be afraid to take all of them out of their box–Wait, does this one have a Grateful Dead bear on it?! Siiiiiiick, I’ll take that one.
We don’t use mop flies, guys. That woolly bugger or San Juan worm? Get that trash out of here. In fact, there are only two types of fly fishing that matter: fishing dries and Euro-nymphing. A size-24 parachute Adams should do it for almost any situation you find yourself in.
If I see you with a thingamabobber indicator I’m going to assume you’ve got an earthworm on your hook. And you’ll get kicked right off the river for that, brother.
The only thing you need to worry about when choosing a suitable trout fishing location is how cool it looks. Again, what’s the point of fly fishing if you don’t look good doing it? Find a stretch of river that looks like that scene from A River Runs Through It and just pretend you’re Brad Pitt.
This is important, guys. We want to support a sustainable fishery. When you catch a fish, make sure to reel it in as fast as humanly possible to lessen the stress on the fish. Do not let that fish on the reel. To de-hook, don’t even LOOK at the fish, as this causes undue stress. They’re very sensitive creatures. Better yet, head down to the river and just pretend you’re fishing. This way, you won’t kill any trout. #nobarbmovement #keepemwet #donteventhinkabouttakingthatfishoutofthewateryouneaderthal
With these tips, you too can become a #flygod. Got other suggestions? Let me know in the comments. See you on the river, man.