Aren’t we all looking for the next fun experience to add to our lives and share with others? We think so and fly fishing is one sport that will keep on giving those memorable experiences again and again. Even if you struggled to learn to fly fish, and maybe you still are we’ve made it simple for you to share fly fishing with others. The Sonoma Trout Outfit will make it even easier and more fun than ever.
Here at Leland we pride ourselves on 3 important words. Education, Equipment and Experience. Keeping these three words in mind is something we do with every product we create and if you want to introduce someone to fly fishing you should too. Beyond equipment we specialize in education either here at the Leland Ranch or through our informative website and there are many other avenues for learning. Then when you have the right equipment and the proper education you will create an experience to remember. That experience if fly fishing to us.
If you already fly fish please keep reading. If you don’t, well you’re out of luck… Just kidding, you’ve come to the right place and even more so because you will start off on the path to success.
For those who already fly fish you likely have thought about sharing fly fishing with others. Maybe it was your significant other, your children or if you’re me you’ve wanted to share it with your parents who didn’t get you into fly fishing. I have also shared fly fishing with my wife but first of all, there has to be THE DREAM. Luckily, you can create the dream for them… aka the experience you want to give. This is what I’m currently working on with my father as I know he’ll enjoy it, he just doesn’t know it yet. Or, if you’re lucky they already have the dream in the case of my wife who had always wanted to fly fish.
#1 Create the Dream ( Experience)
- Show them a fly fishing movie like the “River Runs Through It” or a newer movie not quite as well done is the “River Why”. Both are adaptations of very good books worth reading yourself.
- Maybe there is a short youtube video you like. Remember, they don’t dream of swinging flies for steelhead, hiking miles in a deep canyon, or dry fly fishing on a spring creek. That’s currently your dream and maybe, just maybe your dreams will intersect one day.
- Show them photographs of the amazing places fly fishing will take you. Our friend Val Atkinson has done a good job with this. Think about the places they have wanted to travel and there’s a good chance there is fly fishing nearby.
- Finally, don’t start with just taking them to your favorite river. If this river is technical and fun for you but a place you may even struggle with such as the uneasy terrain, difficult access, swift current, etc then stay away from here for a bit. Plan a trip to the easiest river you know at the right time.
#2 Teach them (Education)
- Good luck educating without a dream. It’s not going to happen. You’ll want to spend time on #1 and if you have questions about creating the dream let us know. We’ve been there.
- Keep it simple. Dry-dropper, the bimini twist, curved casts. No thanks, not interested. Start with the defining attribute of the sport. The cast. With an efficient and controlled cast nothing else matters and this is why we love fly fishing. This sport has no score, the score is up to the participant. We do however focus on earning fishing with controlled, efficient casts and presenting the fly where you want it. This way if fish aren’t rising, so what. Wind, that’s okay. Crowded river, find your own water and make good casts. Control the things you can and that’s casting. Just like in the sport of golf, it’s likely a better idea to have someone else teach than yourself. Fear not, we’ll soon have some tools on our website and on Youtube to help you with this if you cannot find a good instructor nearby. Oh, and we’re located in wine country. Sonoma, California. If you need an excuse to come visit us for a lesson there’s pretty good food and wine nearby.
- Gauge their interest with all this and plan accordingly. Promote questions if you can’t figure out how much they want to learn. If they aren’t interested right now don’t worry. You’ll create a fun first outing won’t you?
- Gift them the Curtis Creek Manifesto. A $9.95 book that covers the basics of fly fishing. Fun and easy to read for all ages and even a busy professional can find time to read it.
#3 Gather the right gear (Equipment)
- Investing in a few items is a necessary truth. Luckily here at Leland we’ve made this part easy. We created the Sonoma Trout Outfit at $199. This 8′ 5-weight balanced rod, reel and line is perfect for all types of trout fishing, and works great for panfish too (a perfect fish to start fly fishing for by the way). This outfit is guaranteed to make casting easier so equipment is one thing you don’t need to worry about when it’s in their hands. Plus gifting or having them buy their own rod really helps solidify their place in the sport. We humans love ownership and the pride that goes along with it. This fly rod will be one they remember forever, one they will likely grow with so invest in a solution opposed to sourcing individual items from ebay or passing down your old unwanted equipment. Giving someone something used will backfire, even if it was once the best rod on the market. They don’t know your dirty Sage XP was once $700. It’s old and dirty to them.
- You can likely supply everything else they need from the flies, leaders and other necessary gadgets. If you want them to have something else to call their own get them this loaded lanyard
- Beyond the necessary rod, reel and line outfit and gadgets. You need to dress for the conditions. Ideally, start off in the summer wet wading or from a drift boat if you have the luxury. If not, invest in waders and boots. Feel free to call us to get our take on these items.
#1-3 Go Fishing with the right gear, the proper education and create the first experience of many
- Be patient
- Fish very little, but enough so they get to the feel the solitude of fishing alone and are naturally forced to learn. They will also likely tell you to “go fish” because they know you love it so much. So go! Stay close, don’t get in the zone and forget about them. This is crucial. You should be close enough to sense their attitude and adapt accordingly.
- Sometimes fishing with a close angling friend may help. This friend is like the casting instructor or golf pro on the river. Talk to them prior to the outing. Make sure they know what they’re getting into and to also stay patient and keep it simple.
- Have fun, fish only as long as it takes to either catch a fish or realize that it’s going to be a slow day. It’s it’s going to be slow take pride is being on the water. Making some good casts and being in nature. Take some fun photos and focus on the things you can control. Educate more, but only if they’re interested. If it’s slow it might be a good time to show them a nymph under a rock or maybe walk to a higher elevation to try spotting fish.
- Finally, end the outing on a positive note and start planning your next trip. Keep that promise of the next trip. I mean it! This is crucial.
There you have it. Some of our tips on introducing others to fly fishing. This isn’t everything and that’s done on purpose. This is the same way you will start thinking when you plan your journey. Start with only the necessary things and take it from there. If you have questions before, after or during this process you can ask us anytime. Let Leland be your guide.