How to Start Fly Fishing on a Budget

fly fishing british columbia

“Isn’t fly fishing really expensive?”

Over the course of nearly nine years in the fly-fishing industry, I have heard this question as often as any other.  I think that the idea of fly fishing being extremely expensive holds people back from ever taking the first step, so we’re going to depict this a little bit.

It is very subjective.  Asking if fly fishing is expensive is like asking if golf, buying a car, going on a trip or buying a painting is expensive.  It is as expensive as you make it!  Golf is very affordable if you buy clubs second-hand and play at the local municipal course, and it’s very expensive if you purchase high-end equipment and apply for a membership at a private country club.  Buying a car is expensive if you finance a Rolls Royce over 8 years, and it can be very cheap if you purchase a 1988 Honda CRX off of Craigslist.

british Columbia fly fishing
Circa 2011 in my $75 dollar boat!

Technology in fly fishing has advanced at such rapid paces over the last decade, quality entry-level fly fishing equipment has never been more affordable than it is today.  On the same note, you can walk into a shop and purchase a fly rod that is $1,400 before tax.  Again, it is totally subjective.

For those sitting on the fence, here are a few ways to get into fly-fishing without spending a lot of money:

  • Do not purchase a fly rod that does not come with an unconditional warranty
  • Unless you’re doing a lot of destination saltwater fishing, invest more into a good fly rod and fly line, and a bit less on the reel.  This doesn’t mean purchasing a reel that will fail on you, you can get a great beginner fly reel without re-mortgaging your house.
  • When it comes time to fishing, try to limit the amount of solo trips you make unless you are surrounded by great fishing.  Good fishing partners that are willing to split gas with you are worth keeping around
  • You don’t need to load up 3 fly boxes with every fly pattern under the sun, ask your local fly shop to provide you with a dozen or two flies to get you started
  • If you’re in search of a boat, constantly check the local classifieds for used watercrafts.  One of my first boats was a 9′ wooden pram that I purchased for $75 and fished out of for 5 years
  • Hiring a local guide once will ease your learning curve substantially
  • Allow yourself to slowly accumulate equipment, once your net worth consists of mostly fly fishing gear you know you have enough!

Fly fishing is an amazing sport, and provides a lifetime of enjoyment.  In a world where we spend 96% of our time indoors, it gives you great reason to get outside.  A day that stood out from my 2018 guiding season was a mother and daughter that had never tried fly fishing before, that changed after their first experience.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to drop me an email!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close