This Year, Learn How to Fly Fish

By Tom Keer

Feb 18, 2015

As cross training makes athletes better at their respective sports, learning how to fly fish will make you a better angler too.

As cross training makes athletes better at their respective sports, learning how to fly fish will make you a better angler too.

Here are 6 reasons why:

  1. Fly fishing is the opposite of conventional fishing. With fly fishing you’re casting a heavy line and a light lure (fly). With conventional fishing you’re casting a heavy lure and a light line. The coordination and the delicacy will make increase your casting and fishing abilities, and you’ll be more sensitive indeed.

  2. Knowledge of insects. Fly fishermen study insects to an infinite degree. In studying mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, midges, craneflies, dragonflies, and the land-based terrestrials like grasshoppers and ants they naturally key into trout, their environment, and time of year. That kind of insight is invaluable to conventional anglers.

  3. Knowledge of baitfish. Saltwater fly rodders apply the same thought process to saltwater species. Instead of examining bugs, they learn about baitfish and how those lifecycles apply to predators like striped bass, tarpon, or mushmouths (a common name for skipjack tuna).

  4. Fly fishing is technique driven. Fly rodders are attuned to drag, natural drift, and current, and these skills will add a level of sensitivity to lure fishermen.

  5. Live bait and plug fishermen are already half way there. If you can live-line or dance a plug (or soft plastic) to success, your skills in reading the water and understanding movement will fast track your learning curve.

  6. It’s fun. Even small fish-like shellcrackers and bream are a hoot to catch on a fly. Dry fly fishing on the surface and sight-fishing in skinny water to cruising or tailing fish is a tremendous amount of fun. Whether it’s a trout, a bonefish, a tarpon, or a striped bass you’ll have a great time watching the action.

So this year, head to a fly fishing show, visit your local fly shop, or check out a conservation group like Trout Unlimited or the Federation of Fly Fishers. Odds are there is a class running near you that will get you fast-tracked for spring. To learn more on how to get involved with fly fishing visit:

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at