Fly fishing can be a slightly confusing hobby for newcomers but the good news for anyone getting started is that it’s a friendly and accessible sport.


Choose a reliable starter outfit. You needn’t spend huge sums of money, but do go for a reputable make. Airflo and Snowbee are two companies that make good quality starter kits that won’t break the bank. A good all round fly outfit for stillwater fishing would be something like a nine foot, six-weight rod, reel and line.

You will see many kinds of fly line (the thicker, coloured line that provides the casting weight in fly fishing), but start with a simple ‘weight forward’ floating version. To this you will attach your regular, clear line, often called the “leader”. A handful of “tapered leaders” are well worth buying too, because these help your casts land neatly without scaring the fish. Start with a leader about as long as your rod (9ft).

Begin your collection of flies with a few tried and trusted patterns. For the stillwater beginner, you won’t go too far wrong with flies like the Cat’s Whisker, Viva, Fritz, Hare’s Ear, Diawl Bach and Montana. Several companies sell selections of quality flies with a handy box included. Don’t buy too many to start with though and try to avoid bargain basement flies; the price can often reflect the quality and cheap flies often use hooks that lack strength and sharpness. Remember also to buy Barbless Hooks.

Get yourself a pair of polarising sunglasses. These are very important for two reasons: not only do they protect your eyes from wayward casts and hooks, but they also help you to spot fish by removing the glare on the water.

Practise casting on grass at first. A piece of wool or fly with the point nipped off is ideal to avoid catching trees and obstacles! You might feel odd doing this on your lawn or at the park, but it’s well worth focusing all your efforts purely on casting from time to time, without the distraction of fish!

Get familiar with basic fishing knots. If you were to learn only two to start with, these would be the half blood knot (the easiest way to tie a fly or hook to line!) and the overhand loop knot. There are lots of free resources online these days.


Tackle Shops

Dawsons Fishing Tackle
70 Holme Lane
Sheffield. S6 4JW
tel 0114 281 2178

Billy Clarke Fishing Tackle
77 – 81 Alderson Road
Sheffield. S2 4UB
tel 0114 255 1145 or 0114 258 7575

Yorkshire Game Angling
Vulcan Works
Chesterton Road, Eastwood Trading Estate
Rotherham. S65 1SU
tel 01709 722599

Fly Only     
The Willows Business Park, Near Bank,
Shelley, Huddersfield. HD8 8LU
tel 01484 600555

Other useful numbers

Environment Agency  
National Customer Contact Centre
Bradmarsh Business Park
Bow Bridge Close
Rotherham. S60 1BY
tel 0344 800 5386
Click here for website