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2022 Evo V
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love sight fishing and some of my fishing buddies have really been pushing me to learn to Fly fish. I have a hand me down TFO 8 WT and received a basic tutorial.

Is fly fishing casting technique something you can pick up from other folks, watching videos, and practice....or is it recommended to get some basic instruction from a pro?

I used to teach firearm instruction and saw the consequences first hand of bad habits folks develop from casual instruction from a friend.

I live in the Tampa area so I'm sure I could find professional instruction, but would appreciate some perspective on whether it's necessary.
 

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2019 Ankona ShadowCast 16
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I've never had any formal instruction, I also feel like I floundered around for a while (12 months at least), if I had some formal lessons I may have progressed more quickly. I also learned how to fly fish in constant 15-20 mph winds and half the time with a metal railing 5' above my head in my back cast. I'm sure lessons could have helped my cast and learning different fundamentals, but it's also possible to learn them on your own. If you have the means I'd say you should absolutely take a lesson.
Be warned Mike, if you get into this game you're eventually going to get a little cocky. You'll think "shoot I can cast just as well as anyone" then someone like @R-Dub is going to get on the front of your skiff and put on an accuracy clinic, and @Surffshr is going to back cast like a freaking jedi to redfish all afternoon and you're going to realize you've still got a long way to go. It's the pursuit of perfection you're after, and it's a beautiful road to travel my friend. Enjoy the process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@AZ_squid I don't mind floundering for a bit. I'm trying to approach this as a new way to enjoy fishing. The longer I wait for my boat to be built, the more I understand that it's more about the journey and being out there than it is the amount of fish I catch. I feel I'm ready to start something new when the new skiff arrives.

I've had people tell me that they feel one redfish on fly feels better than catching 10 on spinning gear. If it can really enhance the experience that much, I'm willing to try it.
 

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I taught myself over 30 years ago. I took lessons for bad habits like “tailing loop”. I can teach someone in an hour. Lessons give you more time to fish.

As I have aged I have developed a broader base and appreciation for all types techniques and methods to fish all waters. These new techniques are provided by guides in different situations.

I think what am trying to say it is a life long pursuit.
 

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I’m self-taught. Watched YouTube videos of various professionals and such, those made much more sense to me than books I read that were written about fly casting. We all learn in different ways. Some people like me relate well to videos of visual demonstrations of the cast rather than reading about it or having someone tell me how. I generally find someone talking to me while I try learn and do something very distracting and counterproductive. I watched the fly casting videos with the audio muted. I did film myself casting early on to see how my cast compared visually to a professional and then tried to correct things that were wrong.

My super nice and easy to get along with buddy took a fly casting lesson or two and it was a problem for him, evidently, he didn’t mesh well with the certified fly instructor (instructor sounded like a total jerk from what my friend told me). There’s no guarantee that an instructor will make it happen for you. You ultimately make it work, one way or the other. We all have different physical limitations and different levels of innate ability and learn in different ways.

There is a learning curve no matter if you get an instructor or not. I know people that got instruction that have quit and people that didn’t get anyone to instruct them quit. One just has to accept they might be not so good at something for a time and live with it. Early on, I’d commit to fly fishing for 15-20 minutes at a time, then set it down and go back to the baitcasting rig and arties. Back and forth, this went on for many trips. But, after a time doing the back and forth between fly and baitcasting rigs, I wouldn’t even bring the low profile baitcasting rig along, I just stuck with the fly rod the whole outing. I taught myself to cast with my left hand off hand side because of a right shoulder injury. I now cast well enough with either hand, pretty much equally from either side except the left side has no pain where the right side has a dull ache at times. It was way easier learning and the learning curve was so much less to cast with the offhand. I can’t explain that other than I had already figured it out from the dominant side.

I’m back to fishing both rigs again. Some days, I won’t touch the baitcasting rig. Other days, I barely touch the fly gear. I see them as complementary. I would not say a fish, after many fish caught on either rig, that one on the fly always trumps one caught with a baitcasting rig or one on the fly is worth 10 on the baitcasting rig. But, fishing fly gear is a blast and when the conditions are right or good for it, it’s a phenomenal way to fish. It can also be a pain and extra work, and in my opinion unnecessary, in some situations. Ymmv.
 

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Another option is a guide who teaches and learning while you fish. There is a big difference between casting on a lawn and casting to fish. Personally I would rather guide beginners who never touched a rod than those who had a lesson or two. I've had hundreds of both and it's easier to start someone on the water. I do however believe that good instructors are worth their weight for correcting bad habits and refining a good casters technique.
 

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@AZ_squid I don't mind floundering for a bit. I'm trying to approach this as a new way to enjoy fishing. The longer I wait for my boat to be built, the more I understand that it's more about the journey and being out there than it is the amount of fish I catch. I feel I'm ready to start something new when the new skiff arrives.

I've had people tell me that they feel one redfish on fly feels better than catching 10 on spinning gear. If it can really enhance the experience that much, I'm willing to try it.
I don't think I would put a ratio to it. It's just a more personal experience. You dont "accidentally" sight cast a redfish with a fly rod. A ton of factors come into play, luck is in the equation but most of it is hard work and the payoff is very rewarding. Hope your skiff finishes up on time and you are able to get out and really enjoy the whole experience!
 

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I love sight fishing and some of my fishing buddies have really been pushing me to learn to Fly fish. I have a hand me down TFO 8 WT and received a basic tutorial.

Is fly fishing casting technique something you can pick up from other folks, watching videos, and practice....or is it recommended to get some basic instruction from a pro?

I used to teach firearm instruction and saw the consequences first hand of bad habits folks develop from casual instruction from a friend.

I live in the Tampa area so I'm sure I could find professional instruction, but would appreciate some perspective on whether it's necessary.
Lessons taught by someone that knows what they’re doing can shave off years of self taught bad habits!
 

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I look at it like a golf swing. You can do it wrong your entire life and still do it but it will make it that much harder to do it the right way if you start taking it more seriously.
You certainly can do both wrong your entire life. Just don’t try to golf or cast when the wind starts howling if you can’t do either correctly.
 

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Id advise it but I’m biased. A little help goes a long way. My dad and his two friends had so many people asking for “help” that they decided to become certified casting instructors and do formal lessons. At first they did it for free but now they charge $50 an hour which just covers their gas to get to lessons and buying some teaching rods. They teach anywhere from Nola to Tallahassee. It’s gulf coast fly fishing school. There are instructors all over the country though that can help. It’s more important to learn To feed fish which only comes with time on the water. Some of the best casters cant catch anything cause they don’t know how to feed fish. casting in a yard is one thing, casting on a moving boat at a moving fish in the wind and current and feeding a fish is another. Welcome to the addiction!
 

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If you take lessons now, you will not have to take more later to undo the bad habits you have acquired trying to watch someone on YouTube doing it wrong. If you want the most out of it you need to invest in what you want. I was taught many years ago by a local guide when I was just into my teens. Decades later, of no fly rod use, I can still cast fairly well, and have even looked into more lessons to sharpen the skills. The instructors can see things that you will not pick up on trying to teach yourself.
 
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