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10 Fly Fishing Terms You Need To Know

fly fishing terms

Look, you may not know everything about fly fishing. I mean, who does anyway? No one does. But if you want to know more or you just want to get the lingo down, use these fly fishing terms.

1. Rod – Yea, it isn’t called a pole. Don’t call it a pole. A dead give away you need some help.

2. Guide – Not only is this a guy that usually can get you into loads of fish, it is the shiny metal loops that hold your line to your rod. Every rod has between 8 and 10 guides. You should run your line through them prior to tying on your fly. If you do it the other way, this list isn’t going to help you. Stop reading now and go golfing.

3. Ferrule – These are the joints where the pieces of a rod are put together. A quick tip on ferrules: when putting your rod together, place the guides (described above) at a 90 degree angle to each other. Don’t make the connection between the pieces to tight yet. Then when you have them at a 90, twist them straight and at the same time make them tight. What does this do? Well, it will drastically reduce the amount of times your rod comes apart, and reduce the amount of times you nearly go swimming for a piece of your rod.

4. Butt – This is the end of the rod near the reel. And some rods have some very nice ones at that, including fighting butts that are longer than normal and even have a bit of padding to rest on your hip for fighting the lunkers.

5. Reel – Most reels are more like “man jewelry”. They look cool and are expensive. For trout, you don’t need an expensive reel just to hold your line. Most fish you fight you can just strip your line by hand. On the fish you need to reel in, most reels will work, even the less expensive ones.

6. Reel seat – The reel connects to the rod at the reel seat using a type of slide and washer that tightens with a threaded twist. Make sure your reel is not on backwards. The line should come off the reel on the bottom, not the top.

7. Backing – Your last hope at getting a tough and fast fish to the net, is the backing. This ties to the reel and the fly line. It does not float and is not really all that technical. It is fancy kite string coming in 20 and 30 pound strength made of dacron. Usually you will have about 100 yards of backing on a reel.

8. Line – Your fly line makes casting your fly possible. Usually brightly colored, it is easy to see on the water. For most types of fly fishing you will use a floating line. Each line has specific characteristics. Most fly lines you will use will be a weight forward. This makes casting easy. Each line is designed by a weight system. This weight system is used with rods also. You match a line weight with a rod weight. 6 weight lines go with a 6 weight rods, and so forth. Lines are 90 to 100 feet long.

9. Leader – A leader consists of clear plastic material that attaches to your fly line on one end and the fly on the other. The leader will be tapered, being thick at the butt section that connects to the fly line, and thin at the fly. This allows the leader to be strong. It also makes it difficult for fish to see.

10. Tippet – This is used to add length to your leader. Over the course of a day you will have to change flies to match what the fish are eating. You will lose flies in trees and fish. This will eventually make your leader too short for fishing. Tippet is then tied to the leader to add length . It is also used to keep the leader tapered down to a small size to hide it from the fish. Both tippets and leaders come in different lengths and diameters based on strength, for example, 3x diameter tippet is usually 8 pound strength.

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