Jeff Currier has dedicated his life to fly fishing. Every part of it.
He worked at a fly fishing shop in Wyoming for over 20 years.
He’s traveled the world—more than 60 countries on six continents—to cast in all types of waters.
He paints artwork of the fish he’s caught on the fly.
He led Team USA to its first top-10 finish in the World Flyfishing Championships, earning third in the individual standings: the first American to take home a medal in championship history.
…Did we mention he’s caught over 385 species of fish?
So yeah. The guy knows fly fishing.
With more than 2,000 casts under his belt, Jeff Currier has plenty of tips to share with seasoned and novice fly fishermen. Read on for his top five tips and tricks to help you get the most out of every cast and every moment.
#1 Your tools of the trade matter.
If you are getting into fly fishing and you are serious, invest in decent equipment. I hate people that are like, “I don’t know if I’m going to like it so I’m going to buy this shitty rod and reel.” Of course, you’re not going to like it because you bought junk. Invest in good equipment.
#2. Take it slow.
You’re not going to jump out there and be great. You think you’ll be, but it’s like most sports: it takes time. Don’t rush things. Don’t go for the biggest fish or try to cast on the other side of the river. Slow it down and take control. Even when you become good. I’m a better fisherman now than I was when I was 30 because I move slowly and I study the situation. I study the fish. I watch their behavior. I can get more fish caught when I’m moving slowly. When a baseball player is struggling at the plate and making too many errors, they tell them to slow down the game. Just concentrate more. Try to see where the ball is spinning. You don’t have to charge it all the time. A lot of sports, you’re going to want to slow down.
#3. Learn to cast.
So many people try to fish before they can even cast. People who know how to fish still need to know how to cast. Don’t be afraid to cast out on the lawn. If you have a fishing trip and you haven’t fished in three months, take off work, put a piece of yarn on the end of your leader and cast. It will help you so freaking much, it’s unbelievable. I can’t emphasize this enough to people. People are watching me and think they’re adequate but they’d be so much better if they practice. My practice is different than most people. A lot of times, [my sponsor] Winston will send me a new rod, but before I take that rod, I want to make sure I know what that feels like. I tie on a fake fly and get the feel. I like to make sure my line matches the rod. I don’t want to go that far and think it’s a piece of shit.
#4. Take photos.
I always tell people to take more photos when you’re out there. It’s so easy now. People don’t capture the experience the way they should. It’s easy. You’ve got the camera with you. Take photos of everything: the day, the weather, the animals you see, the people you’re with. I’ve always been a big photo taker. I’m not a good photographer, but I’m decent. I have an eye for it. With photos, you can share with people that don’t fish and not so much get to say, “I want to go fishing,” but to get them to experience nature better. I get more gratification when I do my speeches at fly fishermen clubs. Once in a while, I’ll do a big deal, like a banquet, and it’s the only time of the year when people bring their wives. And I know when I’m looking at the audience, at least 90 out of the 100 could give a shit about being there. They hate it. But my speeches are more about the travels, and I put up good pictures. At the end of my presentation, I’ll have 45 wives come up and say, “That was awesome. I don’t fly fish but I loved it.” Hey, mission accomplished. You’re sharing nature and the whole sport than just the fish.
#5. Be good with not being good.
If you want to learn to fly fish, I would first look you in the eye and ask, ‘Why are you getting into fly fishing?’ You’re kind of screwed already if you want to catch big fish. That’s not what it’s about. First and foremost, it’s about getting outdoors. Then, it’s about meeting new people and friends. If you’re getting into it to have a good time in the outdoors, as far as skill goes, you’re not going to be good right away. It’s going to be frustrating, just like any single new thing that you’ve done in your life. Most new things you’ve done, you have to get good at. You do it because you have to. In fly fishing, it’s easy to get tangled 12 times and say this stuff sucks, but you’ve gotta jump that hurdle. It’s part of the game. The reward is so high.