A great fly-fishing trip is the sum of many parts—hard-working, knowledgeable guides, delicious food, accommodations to suit your tastes, and being in the right place at the right time to feed your fly to hungry fish. Practice and preparation go a very long way to pull-of a great fly fishing trip. Booking a trip with Yellow Dog is a crucial first step because we have the most in-depth and experienced team in the business AND our services are always free, or less, than booking direct with a lodge or outfitter.
Once you’ve decided to book with us, the fun of planning can begin. However, a little dedication before the trip begins is as important as enjoying yourself once the trip actually begins. Here is our list of a Dozen Things Anglers Should Do But Don’t.
1. Practice, practice, practice your casting. Then practice some more. Whether you hire a casting instructor or just head to the park or lawn, dedicate time to improve your skills. Be sure to use the appropriate rod weight and type of fly line. Better yet, pick some windy days to go outside and practice. Your guide will thank you later and your pictures will look better because they will have fish in them, not just scenery.
2. While your are coming or going from the park to practice your casting…listen to a few podcasts about the species you are traveling to target. Our WAYPOINTS is ideal. These podcasts can educate you in tackle you will use, weather patterns you will face, how to read the water, fly placement when you’re out on the water, etc.
3. Inspect your backing. Strip all fly lines off your reels and check your backing AND connection knots. Make sure backing is tight and not “spongy” feeling or yellowed. If you cannot remember the last time you replaced your backing, it is probably time for new backing. When you put your reels back into their cases, write the type and line weight and your name on the reel case.
4. Now that your backing has been inspected, as your doing this, make sure your fly lines are in the 100% best condition possible. First, take off all old leaders. Then run your fly line through a soft cotton cloth moistened with fly line cleaner. Feel the fly line for any knicks, cuts, or cracks. If any exist, replace it.
5. Pack the right personal things and pack them the right way. Have plenty of sunscreen, SPF lip balm, skin and body lotion, drying powder such as Gold Bond, etc, and pack these in their own plastic bags—just in case one of these breaks in your luggage, the mess is contained. Add a large plastic trash bag or two as well for wet wading boots.
6. Be sure all boot laces are in working order and bring a pair of extra boot laces. Not being able to tie your boots could be problematic. Plus, avoid a Jimmy Buffett moment and give your flip-flops a quick once-over to make sure they’re up to the task of relaxing on the beach or by the campfire.
7. Take fly line cleaner with you. Fly lines that are clean cast better and tangle less on the windy deck of the flats boat or floor of a drift boat. Did we say there would be wind? Just in case you didn’t hear us the first time.
8. Your guide can be your best friend on a trip—treat your guide to something they cannot get locally. A bag of jerky can work wonders. A small fly box for their flies. Spare sunmasks or sunglass retainers are small gifts but essential gear. If you want to go bigger, an insulated water bottle helps to keep their water cold or coffee warm.
9. Rust and they’ll bust: check all flies for sharp hooks and lack of rust. If any of the hooks on your flies in your box have rust, ditch them. A rusted hook will break. And while you’re doing this, find a few extras of your favorites because your guide may only have a few patterns.
10. Check the weather but don’t fret the weather. The forecast is a prediction. Pack rain gear regardless of your destination. Since the weather cannot be controlled, have faith that your guides want you to catch fish and be safe probably more than you know. Prepare for the elements and embrace the adventure.
11. Planning should be part of the fun. Read and research all pre-trip information. Booking with Yellow Dog means you get expert, first-hand experience—we only sell what we know—and our return clients always appreciate the in-depth pre-trip information we provide. From knowing what to tip guides and staff to arrival and departure times, familiarize yourself with all pre-trip information.
12. And, in case you forgot already, practicing your cast is the most important part. Test yourself in the wind—cast with a strong wind blowing into each shoulder– left and right shoulders. Don’t just practice when it’s bluebird weather. Many anglers do not dedicate time to practice. Blown shots by unprepared anglers are typically blamed on guide, rods, flies, etc. Avoid the blame game and enjoy the fame game by getting lots of pics of you holding big fish.