Tom Rosenbauer’s 8 Tips to Becoming a Better Fly Fisher

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He's Just That Cool

He’s Just That Cool

There are few guys out there squeezing cork with the angling chops of Tom Rosenbauer.

Tom is the author of nearly two dozen books on fly fishing and too many articles to count. Add to that his podcast and posts on Orvis News and it’s fair to call him one of the leading educators in the field. Tom’s been an angler his whole life and was tying flies commercially when he was just fourteen. He has fished all over the world, including the English chalk streams, Christmas Island, and Kamchatka. He invented stuff you use every time you fly fish, like the magnetic net keeper and tungsten beads for fly tying.

Tom is now the Marketing Director for Orvis and a driving force in the rejuvenation of that great brand. A few people know that he also makes his own chocolate from the beans, which is incredibly technical not to mention amazingly delicious. He’s a hell of a nice guy and a good friend.

Tom has a lot to share on the subject of fly fishing so we asked him for some broad strokes. Some basic tips that will help you be a better and more satisfied angler. Here’s what he got back to us with.

Tom Rosenbauer’s 8 Tips To Becoming a Better Fly Fisher:

1.      Observe everything.  Look around every time you catch a fish and figure out why it was there and why it ate at that particular time.  Look at the sun angle, the surrounding terrain, current threads in rivers, or highways on the flats.

2.      Tie flies.  I don’t think anyone can be truly on top of their game until they understand how a fly is constructed and what it’s supposed to do in the water.

3.      Tie your own leaders.  In fresh or salt, knowing how to modify a leader to make it behave better is best understood if you have tied a bunch of knotted leaders first.  Even if you are starting with a commercial knotless leader, you will eventually need to modify it.

4.      Improve your casting. No matter how good you think your casting is, it is not good enough.  Take a lesson from someone who is a better caster than you.  Don’t be too proud.

5.      Don’t be an asshole on the water.  In rivers, give people as much room as you possibly can, even if you end up in water you don’t really like.  In the salt, find your own school or your own flat.  Someone else got there first.  Get over it.

6.      Delight in every fish you catch- no matter how small.  If you can’t get excited about an 8-inch brook trout, you don’t really get it.

7.      Don’t sweat it. The fishing will never be as good as you anticipate.  The weather sucks?  You blew an eat? You didn’t catch a fish as big as you thought?  You are just setting yourself up for a deficit of confidence—and fun.

8.    Stop being so serious.  Never take your fishing or yourself too seriously.  You are just a tool with a silly pole playing with fish.  How stupid is that?

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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15 thoughts on “Tom Rosenbauer’s 8 Tips to Becoming a Better Fly Fisher

  1. Great article. His tips will be extremely helpful. I plan to share this with the fly rod club of which I am a member. Thanks for sharing this with me.

  2. THE money tip:

    “Observe everything. Look around every time you catch a fish and figure out why it was there and why it ate at that particular time. Look at the sun angle, the surrounding terrain, current threads in rivers, or highways on the flats.”

    When this type of thinking becomes automatic, and when these observations are cataloged in a fishing log, that angler is on their way to the next level.

  3. And please give something back to the resources you are using. There wouldn’t be any fish to catch, and hopefully you’ll be releasing them too, if it weren’t for the several generations of conservationist anglers who worked to protect and enhance our waters and wild fisheries. Get involved. Roll up your sleeves. Nice to send money to a good cause. But find out who’s doing the restoration work on your local watersheds, and go volunteer. You’ll become a more knowledgeable and appreciative angler too.

  4. Really good tips. I’d add as #9: Don’t just charge into new water. Sit a while and get to know the stream, the currents, the bubble lines, the swirls, the back eddies and of course, any rising fish. And when you leave, take any trash with you – even if it’s not yours!

  5. Love these tips. May I have permission to reprint them in our PA Steelhead Association digital newsletter?

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