Learn To String Your Fly Rod the Easy Way
Apr 30, 2019
Back in the early 1990s, I was a self-taught fly fisher. I really wanted to learn as much about fly fishing as possible and read whatever I could find. Unfortunately, nothing in the literature addressed some of the most basic elements of getting started, and I think the same is often true today. It's hard to learn about the practical elements of fishing when you have a hard time just getting your gear put together!
One of the most common things we hear every week about how we've helped someone is by simply helping them assemble their fly rod more efficiently. This isn't hard at all, but it's usually the simplest things the cause the most friction and aggravation when we're trying to enjoy a day on the water.
Most people put their rod together by starting with the butt section, then progressing up the rod. This is perfectly acceptable, but there's an easier way. It's pretty common to see folks putting a ton of stress on relatively delicate tip sections of their fly rod when they're stretched out trying to get the tip on. It's easier to start with the delicate tip of the rod and work your way to the grip. This way every section is increasingly strong and you're not putting any stress on the delicate tip.
String the line through the rod comes next and this can be tough for so many people who try to do so by threading the super fine and nearly invisible tippet through the line guides. The tippet is hard to grip, nearly impossible to see, and very easy to drop. It's not unusual for some anglers to go through this process three or four times before they finally get rigged up. Then sometimes they find they missed one of the guides.
A much easier and preferable way to string up your fly rod is by doing it with the fly line instead of tippet or leader. Fly line is much easier to feel and grip so it's much easier to get the rod strung up. Also, be sure to put the butt of the rod on the tailgate of your car or up on a big boulder or log so you can accomplish this with the rod nearly horizontal instead of vertical. Very few of us are tall enough to reach straight up to get line strung through the tip of a 9' fly rod, so it's common to drop the line. Bending the tip over will put undue stress on that delicate section and I was present when an unfortunate angler snapped his rod tip by bending it way too much so he could get it strung.
The quicker and easier you get this done, the quicker you're on the water and can enjoy fishing.