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Thread: Rookie Fly Fishing Questions

  1. #1
    Member Sapper 27's Avatar
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    Default Rookie Fly Fishing Questions

    I will be trying fly fishing on the Kenai this summer and want to know if a 7 or 8 wt. rod will be good enough for the reds. If so would that also be a good all around for steelies and bows? Also, I am a complete novice to this so can someone tell me what the difference is between a tippet and a leader? And what are some good knots to use when connecting the line to a leader...being an engineer I like my Uli knots but if there is something better please tell me. I seek wisdom. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Wow Options Options Options

    Great questions with a ton of options depending on your style of fishing IMO. Your at the I have to have stuff stage I miss that about fly fishing be careful your vest stoarge capabilities will soon be tested :-)

    Back to your question:

    Knot options WOW to be honest IMO it depends on you decide to rig for fishing. Some people call me crazy but I like the standard Berkly Fishermans (iImproved Clinch) knot for everything. I almost always use a loop connection system to my fly line which is listed below. It is not the strongest knot however for basic fishing it works well, ties fast, and is easy to clip off. Loop, twist 4-5 times, thread the line back through the loop, get wet and tighten. Thre are many options heck I have an entire book of knots, but again simple, fast, and easy fit my methods of fishing.

    You build your Leader from Tippet Material. Back in the day and still you can build several styles of leaders from your tippet material. For smaller fish i.e. those under 10 lbs I general use an shock tippet attached to my main leader.

    You can use Orvis Braided loop connectors to attach your line which will allow you to go for the most part knot-less by looping your leader back through your braided loop connector. There are also other manufactures of such products to include Cortland and Umqua Just visit any of there web pages.

    I also like to use Orvis Bradied-Butt Loop Leaders with 3-4 feet of Tippet material as my leader for smaller fish.

    Note when chasing targets over the 10-15 lbs range you might want to stick with traditional knots and straight Tippet Material as your leader system.

    Well I have over stayed again. I am sure others will chime in and give you a lot of options.

    Great question.

    Tight Lines and Best Wishes

    Blue Moose

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default knots..

    As for the 7 or 8 wt. Take your pick. Either would serve a wide range of purposes. I have grown more and more fond of fast action fly rods. Four piece nine foot is all I will buy. Got a 10 footer at someones suggestion and hated it. A very subjective thing for sure, but I would advise you to cast a rod before buying if at all possible.

    There is two books you need to buy in my opinion. One, "Flyfishers Guide to Alaska" by Scott Haugen. The other, "Topwater, Flyfishing Alaska" by Troy Leatherman. "Alaska Fishing" by Rene Liemeres and Gunnar Pederson is also an excellent book. Scott's book breaks down the state by section and tells you where to go including maps. Best book I have bought yet. Tons of options you will never find out about on the Kenai without his book. There is a whole chapter about the Kenai. If you want to get away from the crowds, his book is a must buy. The other two break down into species specific chapters. For example, a whole chapter on reds. It tells you everything you could want to know about them and more. To include the when/where/how and what fly to use. They are great books. I have learned more from these three than the other dozen or so I own put together. All (or most) of the three books I mentioned are sold on the forum store. If you have not seen it, look at the top right of the page. Click "Store" and then choose "Fishing" and you will find the three books.

    Use a nail knot to connect the leader to the fly line. Forget about tying your own leaders for now. Everything from 3-12 ft is available to buy. The tippet is the last few feet of the leader. As you use it up from fish fraying the line and tying on new flies, it is replaced. It tapers down to the end (where the fly is tied) so if enough tippet is used up, the line is too thick to lay the fly out properly and in extreme cases, not able to fit through the eye of the hook. I remedy this by changing leaders. They are cheap and it makes no sense to have such a weak link in a line to me. I use my leaders up to the point where I no longer want to fish them, then cut it off (put in pocket) and tie on a new one. As I said, they are cheap. And this way I dont have the weak links in my line. Some will disagree about not tying on new tippet and using new leaders. Old habits die hard. But no one will effectively argue that they are not putting the weak link in while doing so. I only go through a leader or two a day on average. At $3-6 a pop, I can afford to tie on a new one. As for the nail knot, there is a tool that makes it childishly simple to tie. It literally takes 10 seconds. Instructions come with the tool of course. You will need them only once. It is by far the best way to attach a leader to the fly line in my opinion. I will attach a link below to that tool.

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...knot&noImage=0

    To pass the time, here are some pictures from our recent float trips. Two in NW Alaska and one in SW. When the link opens, click "view slideshow" in the upper right side.

    http://www.flickr.com/gp/21144083@N02/22u59s

    As you continue to plan for your trip, feel free to send me a pm or email as questions come up. While not the most experienced, I am most happy to help in anyway I can. I have spent some time on the Kenai myself and would be happy to go over some specific options if you give me an idea of what your interest are. The combat fishing the area is known for does not appeal to me. But if you want to get away from the crowds a bit, I could offer some thougts that may interest you. I also have a few good suggestions for guides to use for king, habibut, and bows/dollies in the area. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  4. #4
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    Default Kenai Kid

    I grew up on the kenai and killed lots of reds. I would say that for reds you want a 9 wt. this will be useful for silvers as well and in slow water I have landed smaller kings on an 8 wt. I would go with a travel rod from the get go. You can get a TFO for about 150 that won't disappoint you if you decide you like the sport and get better. Their warranty is also unbeatable, back over it with your truck and they will give you a new rod with a smile.

    For trout I would say go with a 6 for starters, especially on the kenai, the fish tend to be bigger there all around. Elsewhere in the state I use an 8 for salmon and a 5 for trout. Fish are just as a rule bigger down there and the current isn't lacking either.

    Get a fast sinking tip line for reds. Fastest possible. Don't get mono on your spool like some idiots do, that's not fly fishing and it can cut your guides. Try one of the jim teeny lines.

    Also get a florocarbon mono filament for a leader (tippet is just a fancy word for leader, usually tapered so the fish and the fisherman notice them less) they are more resistant to cuts in the line and sink better. I would go with 15 lbs but no heavier, maybe even 12, I almost broke my 8 with 20 last year. Seriously tough line!

    The water down there is murky to say the least. You don't need anything fancy, with a good sink tip get 6-8 feet of leader, I run a straight leader for reds (all one lbs rating) fewer knots that way. I would also say tie an egg knot on a gamakatsu octopus hook if the regs permit it where you are going. Put a little yarn in the loop and star flipping it so it bounces just a little off the bottom. A little split shot may be needed but all in all this should get you down for the most part. Don't wade out too far, the fish can't see the bank and run along it if it drops off to a few feet. I catch most of my reds from shore with sandles only getting wet to net them. Probably within 12 feet off shore.

    Best time in my experience is around 4th of July but the last 2 runs have been all screwed up. Good luck!
    River Runnin

  5. #5

    Default new to fly fishing

    The University of Alaska Anchorage has a Beginning Fly Fishing course offered for the Summer term which starts in late May. This course covers all of the questions including casting at their gym and pool. No weather permitting issues. You then spend 2 or 3 days on the water perfecting your casts, drifts, catching, releasing, etc. A real good deal for the one credit course. Works out to about $3.00/hr.

    Good luck. Tight lines.

  6. #6

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    If you're only buying one rod for the Kenai, go for the 7wt. It's got plenty of backbone for reds and can still be fun for bows.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I would say a 7 will catch russian river reds. The main kenai run has some real slabs in it and with little experience on a fly rod I would suggest heavier backbone for the reds. 7 is a good rod for larger bows but it's a little light for salmon in stiff current.
    River Runnin

  8. #8
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default my .02 worth

    1st run reds I like to use my 8wt on the kenai 7wt on the clear water of the russian. the first run fish are smaller. the 8wt is due to the current on the kenai my 7wt is fine on the russian. The 2nd run of reds I use my 9wt on the kenai as well as my 8wt. I prefer my 8wt as im so used to it and just have 1 year with my 9wt, The 2nd run of fish are those huge kenai river green backs and they have some power and use it all, As far as leaders or tippets for reds i use something very very simple. I tie a double barrel swivel on my fly line. I run about 8 feet of 25lb mono off it. Good to go. Those reds dont no any different. for fall bows i downsize my swivel very very small and use 12lb high quality mono. I know I know i dont use leader, fancy knots, tapers all that jazz. I do know that my wife and I catch just as many if not more fish that everyone else on the water. I work on the kiss method. Keep is simple stupid.
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    If you had to pick one... I'd go with the 7 weight. It'll be plenty for trout and get the job done for reds, though a little more backbone wouldn't hurt. In my opinion an 8 weight is too much rod for casting most trout flies, but it's all about personal preference and the specific scenario really. Just remember that the weight and action of the rod is designed more for the style of fishing and elements you have to deal with, not so much the fish you are catching; although I wouldn't recommend trying to fight a tarpon on a 2 weight.
    As for "fly fishing" for sockeye... let's be honest - you're not really fly fishing, not in most cases anyways - you're simply able to reel the fish in on a fly rod. When you add 3/4 oz. of weight to your leader, you're no longer fly fishing in my opinion. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy it from time to time - it's a really unique way of flossing, I mean catching, a fish. Go with 30 lb test leader so you can stop (or at least attempt to) a fish in the 10mph current. Depending upon the depth and current, you will probably either use 1/2 or 3/4 oz of lead. Don't get me wrong - there are other ways to go about it, but for a beginner red fisherman, I'd recommend sticking with the basic setup. Oh yea, and please don't cast into the middle of the river... that's just embarrassing.

    As far as knots go - I use the Uni-knot when assembling my leaders (habit). For trout, I use 3 - 3 foot sections of tippet (3x3=9ft) tapered from 12 lb mono down to 4x flourocarbon where i attach my fly with an improved clinch knot generally. You don't need to go any lighter than 4x, and you can easily get away with 3x... I once saw a study on the fish of the Kenai and their spookiness, or lack thereof. They basically found out that it didn't matter what size your tippet was - they even caught fish by tying directly to their fly line!

    Steelhead... i just drooled... 7 or 8 weight is perfect.

    10 foot fly rods.... I love em' unless I'm fishing small water.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  10. #10
    Member Sapper 27's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks to all

    Thanks to all who shared their knowledge and experience. I have learned a great deal from the responses. I am planning to make my trip in late March / early April. Hopefully it won't be too crowded and hopefully there are some good access points from the Sterling. I'm thinking I'm going to try fishing the top so any recommendations on flies,size,etc. would also be appreciated. Gotta get out there early this year before I leave for Warrant Officer school!

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default fishing school...

    Read in Alaska magazine tonight about the Kenai Fishing Academy. The article was specific to a week long fly fishing class. Sounded very comprehensive and included a fly out trip and a few drift boat floats from the guides at Troutfitters. Looked like a great idea for anyone interested in learning more about fly fishing in Alaska.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I have a 4 a 5 a 6 a 7 an 8/9 a 9/10 and a 10s I use the seven and the 5 most often for trout and the 8/9 for kings and chuck and duck sockeye fishing (don't wanna hurt the 7 wt) I'll be using the 9/10 (14' two hander) a lot this year. I'd say start with an 8, you can catch trout on it, maybe but it will defiantely be enough for salmon. 8 wts are hard to make accurate presentations with though especially with light trout flies.

    Oh and whatever you do do not do what you are doing in your sig picture with a fly rod.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    It depends on what you are doing but an 8 wt should work for any thing up to kings even in swift water. The only reason to go higher is if you have to muscle the fish in faster. Which is nice when combat fishing. I usually avoid combat fishing so I can go a little smaller. For trout and dollies I use a 5 weight even down on the kenai pensula.

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    Trout fitters are the guys to talk to about the upper Kenai, they're the first shop I visit when I'm in that neck of the woods. I have fished the upper kenai in fall every year for years and I learn something every time I stop in.

    As a newbie I'll just let you know, 2 handed aka spey is very different and the rods are also ranked heavier so a 14' 9/10 would be more like a long 12 or so in normal rods.
    River Runnin

  15. #15
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Default Advice for a newbie?

    Sapper 27,

    You know how to get ahold of me. I am not a secret agent.

    Good to see your getting information from various sources, you are wise.

    Remember to consider the source.

    TSS
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  16. #16
    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a rookie set of questions myself. Since I'm taking 30 days of leave on my way to Alaska I thought I might try and learn how to fly fish back home in Wisconsin. I can't think of a better way to kill some hours on the water. I've been looking at a starter kit from Cabela's.

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...0017452316491a

    I have no clue when it comes to flyfishing but I'd like to pick up whatever size would be best for catching some crappies/bluegills and maybe a few bass on the river back home. What size would you guys reccomend? If I can get one that would be usuable when I get to Alaska that would be a plus but not necessary. I can always leave it at home to use next time I visit. My grandpa has some experiance so between him and books I'm hoping to learn enough to catch a few fish.

    Thoughts?
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

  17. #17
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default 5 or 6...

    That was my first fly rod too. The set up at Cabelas is a good starter rod. I would get a 5 or 6 wt rod for a first rod. That would be good for dollies/grayling/most bows in Alaska, and would be perfect for a do it all rod for bream/crappie/bass. I would go with a six weight personally. It would be hard to go wrong with either for a first rod. Later, you could add an 8 wt or so for salmon in Alaska. That would also make a great bass rod for throwing big bass poppers and such. So if you are only getting one rod period, get a 6 wt. If you would consider getting an 8 wt in the near future for salmon/bass, then perhaps getting the 5 wt now would be better. A 5 and an 8 wt would cover 90% of the fishing for many people. A great pair. Either way, get out and practice some before fishing season and have fun!
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    I agree completely with the rock on this one. I built from a stowaway blank, a cabalas travel rod and love it. 1 entry level rod get a 6 and if you want 2, get a 5 and an 8. I've fished the whole state and if you're careful you can catch everything with those rods. If you pick the water you can land kings into the 30lbs range too just be careful and don't use leaders stronger than 15lbs.
    River Runnin

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