How to set up a fly fishing rod and reel

New to the sport of fly fishing?

I remember when I first started out fly fishing, I was so excited to get out on the water and catch some fish! Now, if you are here reading this article, it means you are quite new to the the sport and are looking forward to being carried through the basics of how to set up a fly fishing rod and reel.

Don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered! In this article, you will be walked through how to set up your fly fishing tackle, rod and reel.

Overview

First, we will be identifying the different components of a rod and reel of fly fishing. After that, you we will walk through how to set up the fly fishing rod and reel.

River fly fishing

Parts of a fly rod

The handle will be providing the proper grip for the sake of casting.

  • The reel seat is a part onto which the fly reel is mounted.

  • The handle extension and butt of the rod is going to provide you with extra support in case. you find yourself fighting with a fish. Also, it is used to hold the reel seat in place.

  • The hook keeper is supposed to keep the hooks safe whilst you are transporting the rod and reel to and from the fishing grounds they are being transported.

  • The ferrule is used to keep different sections of the rod connected.

  • The guides are rings located on the rod shaft and are used for the sake of holding the line close to the rod and for the line to shoot through when casting and retrieving line.
Fly lines

Important knots

  • Clinch knot is used to tie the fly line to the tippet, also known as the leader.
  • Albright knot is used to secure the backing to the fly line.
  • Arbor knot is used to secure the backing to the reel.
  • The nail knot is used to tie the fly line to the leader.

Important items for the setup

  • Fly line is the main component. It is used while casting, to keep the fly out of water.

  • The backing is the initial line. It is spooled first to the reel. It gives an extra “support line” for when the fish runs and draws the leader line, fly line and left is the backing line.

    You can imagine the backing line as its name sounds “back up” incase the fish runs far and takes the  other mentioned lines with it. The backing line also provides a foundation to connect the other line.

  • The Fly (otherwise known as your bait) is attached to the hook by tying it with a variety of materials such as bird feathers, woven materials, beads or small weights and it imitates the image of an insect.

  • A leader is the line that is attached to the fly line’s end. At the same time, it enables the fly to be tied on the remaining end and is then cast to the water presenting the fly onto the surface.

Putting everything together

Now that we have compiled all the fly fishing equipment that is necessary for the sake of fly fishing, the next question that arises is how to put it all together? 

You’ll be pleased to know  that it is not a very daunting task; all you need is some basic skills of knot tying and a little bit of practice. Here are the steps to putting it all together:

  1. The first step towards setting it all up is the attachment of rod to the reel. The
    manufacturer’s instructions are going to guide you through that and most fly reel and rod shops will actually set this up for you if you ask them during the purchase either in the shop or online. The general process of doing that is sliding the reel onto the rod and lock it into place.
  2. After the first step, you are required to retrieve the backing line that you have purchased, and pull off about a hundred feet or so. This amount can vary, and how much it will vary is going to depend on two factors, the reel weight, and the spool size. The manufacturer of the reel is going to indicate the appropriate amount of backing to fill the spool arbor. Attach the backing line to the reel using the Arbor knot.
  3. Next up is the fly line. You will need to pull off almost 2-4 feet of the fly line you have. And then tie this fly line to the backing. The knot you should use to tie them both together is the Albright knot.
  4. Another 30 yards of the fly line is supposed to be pulled off and clipped.
  5. The lines must be kept tight while you are spooling them as this ensures a nice and tight fit to the spool and also ensures that the line will be maximized onto the reel. When putting the line onto the spool, make sure the lines are going evenly across the arbor and the spool.

    The line is going to spool from the bottom of the reel and this is important to note as an uneven line being wound onto the spool will results in all your line being loaded one sided and thus resulting in very minimal line being able to go onto the reel.

  6. When spooling the fly line, keep putting on line until it is almost near to touching the outer rim of the reel.
  7. The next step is to use a braided knot to make a loop, that is located at the end of the fly line. The advantage of the loop is that it will be allowing you to attach the fly line and the leader loop with ease, which will help you change your leaders swiftly.
  8. Use a loop to attach the leader to loop knot.
  9. A double or a triple surgeon’s knot is to be used to attach the leader and the tippet.
  10. Last, but not the least, you are attach the fly to the tippet using an improved clinch knot.

And this is where you are done. It may seem a lot as a starter, but remember, you do not have to do this every time and it will soon become easy as 1,2,3!

The perfect fishing spot for fly fishing

Now that you are done with the setup all that is left to do is to pick out the perfect fishing spot!

Fly Fishing