Competitive Fly fishing

Competitive Fly fishing

There are many opinions out there regarding competitive fly fishing. One of the big differences, though, is they’re after the number of fish, not the size of fish. If you’re considering getting into the world of competitive fly fishing, perhaps it would be wise to look at what some of the professionals are doing, wearing, and using. Here are some tidbits of information that will help you as you start preparing to become a competitive fly fisherman. These are just various pieces of information that the pros have mentioned to me are important to consider:

Here are 8 tips from the pros.

(1) Wear dull-colored clothing so as to not spook or startle fish.

(2) Knots and rigging: You have to adjust for depth and continually recalibrate. All anglers use chest packs, like the ones available from William Joseph. They have magnetic closures instead of zippers, which is very handy for rapid-access. Most anglers choose to keep tools on the outside of the pack. The large compartments on the back also allow for snacks.

(3) Zenith fly patches are very popular with competitive anglers.

(4) Anglers are very keen on 17 x 21 trout nets.

(5) Wear knee and shin guards so you can keep a low profile while kneeling in the stream. Rothco sells great knee and shinguards.

(6) Use 3 or 4 weight rods. The Nymph series of rods is particularly popular. Competition-style rods have more flexible tips, FYI.

(7) Make sure you match the rod with the right reel. Uneven weight distribution can mess you up.

(8) Most competition anglers use European style nymphing. It requires a tremendous amount of focus, though, to get optimal results. However, more focus will yield more fish.


Fishing should be a relaxing, stress-free experience. And just because you’re adding an element of competition to the experience, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it. If, though, you feel stress creeping into the experience because you’re chasing a competition prize, then my advice is to stop competing and go back to just enjoying.

Happy fishing!

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