How Do You Reel in a Fly Fishing Rod?

Fly fishing rods come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials to match the type of fly fishing you are doing. From lightweight rods for small trout streams to heavy-duty rods for larger rivers, there is a rod specifically designed to meet your needs. Knowing how to cast and retrieve your fly rod properly will help you catch more fish and have a more enjoyable fishing experience.


Learning how to cast a fly rod properly is key to successful fly fishing. Start by attaching the backing line, then the leader and the tippet followed by the fly.

Hold the rod in your dominant hand with your index finger against the top of the cork grip, with your thumb directly behind it. With your other hand, hold the line about 6 inches from the tip of the rod.

Start with a false cast, which is essentially just practice casting without releasing any line or flies. Move your arm back and forth as if you were going to cast but don’t let go at the end of each stroke. Once you get comfortable with this motion, you can add some line on each stroke until you have enough out that you can make an actual cast.


The retrieve is an important part of catching fish on a fly rod. Start by stripping in some line until it’s tight on the reel and then give it several turns around so that it’s secure. Make sure to leave enough extra line so that it won’t get tangled when you are casting.

Reeling In

When reeling in a fish that has taken your fly, start by slowly bringing in some line using only your hand. This will help keep tension on the fish so that they don’t break off or become tangled in weeds or other objects in the water. When you get close enough to bring them into shore or net them, switch over to using both hands for added control.


Knowing how to cast and retrieve a fly fishing rod properly can make all the difference when it comes to catching fish. Start by attaching all necessary lines before practice casting without releasing any line or flies; then add some length until you have enough out that you can make an actual cast. When reeling in a fish be sure to use only one hand initially; then switch over to both hands when close enough for landing or netting.

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Lindsay Collins