Introduction: Fly Fishing Setup for Beginners

This instructable was created for anyone who has interest in the sport of fly fishing but may not know how to properly assemble and set up the equipment. This outline is designed for beginners, allowing step-by-step instructions necessary for completing a fly fishing set up, start to finish. Fly fishing is more than a hobby, it is a passion and way of life that allows for a deeper connection to nature.

Overview of the Instructable

This outline serves to identify the different components of a fly fishing rod and reel; Furthermore, instructing beginners on how to accurately construct a complete fly fishing setup.

Knots Necessary for Setup

Items Necessary for Setup

  • Backing - Initial line spooled to the reel that provides extra line and a foundation for other line to connect
  • Fly Line - Light line, used to keep the fly out of water when casting; prevents line from sinking after hitting the water
  • Leader - Attaches to the end of the fly line; also, allows for fly or tippet to be tied on other ends
  • Fly - Artificial imitation of an insect with a hook

Components of the Fly Rod

  • Reel Seat - Provides structural support for the reel when being held to the rod handle
  • Handle - Provides primary gripping for the purpose of casting
  • Hook Keeper - Keeps hook safe during transportation
  • Handle Extension - Operational threading used to hold the reel seat in place; also, provides another holding point when fighting fish
  • Ferrule - Connects the sections of the rod together
  • Guides - Rings on the rod shaft used to hold line close to rod

Hardware of the Fly Reel

  • Drag Set - Provides the ability to adjust the drag of the reel
  • Frame - Structural support containing the fly line and inner components
  • Spool Release - Lever that releases the spool from the frame
  • Spool - Holds the fly line
  • Handle - Retrieves fly line when turned counter-clockwise
  • Seat - Allows the reel to attach to the rod

Additional Information

Fly rods normally come in lengths ranging from 6-10 feet long. Furthermore, most are "break down", which allows for the separation into multiple sections (2-7 pieces), to allow for convenient transportation. The stalk (or butt) section is the thickest part of the rod, which is composed of a handle and reel seat. The remaining pieces of the rod are provided with both taper and circle guides in descending sizes.

Step 1: Fly Rod Setup

  1. Take the ferrule of (#3 from photo) and connect it to the thickest section of the rod (#4 from photo).
  2. Repeat the same process when connecting (#2 from photo) to the end of (#3 from photo).
  3. Continue the process with the connection of (#1 from photo ) to the end of (#2 from photo).
  4. Line the guides up straight from the bottom section to the top of the rod.
  5. Tightly secure the pieces of the rod to ensure nothing will become loose during the casting process.

Step 2: Line Setup

Components for Line Set up

  • Backing
  • Fly Line
  • Leader


  1. Start by wrapping the backing around the spool of the reel and tie the arbor knot to secure it to the spool
  2. Turn the reel knob clockwise until the backing is completely pulled around the spool
  3. Take the fly line and tie it to the backing using the albright knot
  4. Reel the handle clockwise again until the fly line is completely retracted in to the reel and you can no longer see the backing
  5. Lastly, use the nail knotto tie the fly line to the leader

Step 3: Rod to Reel Setup

  1. Unscrew the reel seat and slide the base of the reel into the seat
  2. Make sure to tighten the reel seat until the reel is snug, unable to move in any direction

Step 4: Rod, Reel, and Line Setup

  1. Pull the leader out from the reel and thread it through each guide of the rod until it is through the top guide
  2. Make sure to pull excess line out of rod, around 4-5 feet, in order to tie on fly
  3. Tie the fly to the end of the leader/tippet using the Clinch knot
  4. Pull the fly, attached to the line, out until it is able to hook onto hook holder
  5. Lastly, tighten line to secure hook