Where to start?

Allen Fly Fishing Instructional Podcast Episodes:

Episode 1 - How do I start? - (Download)

If you're just getting started or shopping for someone who is, knowing what to get can be an overwhelming task to tackle. We're always here to help and are available to answer any of your questions to make sure you get the right gear.

We put together this simple guide to help you figure out what's best for you to get going.

Determine your fishery (Freshwater)

Choosing a fly fishing setup is largely dependent on the fishery you plan to go after.  The size of the fish, the size of the flies, the size of the body of water, the local climate (wind) and other factors can all play a role in determining the best possible setup for you. 

Most fly fishing beginners start with small to medium sized trout on small streams or lakes.  For a beginner in this type of situation, we recommend starting in the 4wt to 5wt size range for rods.  This is seen as the standard beginner setups for most freshwater fisheries, and will get you fishing effectively in a variety of different fisheries be it lakes, creeks, rivers, and more. 

If you are in an area where larger freshwater fish such as salmon and steelhead are the norm, getting yourself a larger setup will be required to cast the heavier flies and fight bigger, stronger fish.  These types of setups would also be great for those fishing for larger bass and smaller pike.  For these fish, 6wt to 8wt rods are a great place to start. 

Choose an outfit

Either of these setups will work great for a beginner on a variety of situations.  Whether you are after small to medium trout, small to medium sized bass, panfish, and more.  The idea is to get a setup that will be great to learn your casting technique while still being adequate to fight and land fish.  These setups will fit this bill perfectly

Smaller fish (trout/panfish) and smaller bodies of water

  • 4wt Compass Series Rod
  • ATS Series Reel - Size 1
  • 20lb Backing
  • Compass Series 4wt WFF line

Medium sized fish (trout/bass) and medium sized bodies of water

  • 5wt Compass Series Rod
  • ATS Series Reel - Size 2
  • 20lb Backing
  • Compass Series 5wt WFF line

These would be recommended setups for larger fish or fisheries requiring larger flies to be cast.  The rods and reels are great matches for each other and would provide years of enjoyment even after you pass the beginner stage.  However, when getting in to fisheries requiring larger setups, the line you choose may need to be more specialized, depending on your fishery.  If you're unsure of what type of line to get, we are here to answer any questions for you.  The lines listed will work great for most topwater applications, nymphing on streams, and some streamers.

Large trout (18"+), medium size bass, light salmon/steelhead

  • 6wt Compass Series Rod
  • Trout II Series Reel - Size 2
  • 20lb Backing
  • Compass Series 6wt WFF line

Larger steelhead and salmon, larger bass, small pike

  • 8wt Compass Series Rod
  • Alpha III Series Reel - Size 3
  • 30lb Backing
  • ATS Series 8wt WFF line


Get additional information on starting out with our instructional podcast beginners series!