Fly fishing guide: Our top tips

Fly fishing can seem overwhelming at first, which is exactly why we have compiled a beginners guide with some of our top tips on fly fishing – making fishing easier and more enjoyable with John Norris.

We also interviewed Glyn Freeman, a full-time, qualified AAPGAI fly-casting instructor and guide for John Norris, to share his best practices when it comes to expertly fly fishing…

Glyn Freeman’s top tips for fly fishing

Glyn’s passion for fishing and his level of expertise is clear, as he shares his words of advice for beginners looking to level-up their fly fishing techniques…

“Always use the appropriate Spey cast to suit the wind direction, too many anglers get hit by the fly or experience cross-over’s and tangles by not doing so. Fish the fly right into the dangle, it is surprising how many fish will follow a fly right across the river - far too often anglers will whip the fly away before a fish has committed.

The use of eye protection and other safety equipment like wading staffs and life jackets are a must. While wading, stay in your comfort zone and do not become another statistic! Also, fishing the fly for salmon at the correct depth, movement and speed is vital including the use of varying densities of sink tips, weights of fly and mends made for differing flows will achieve the ideal fishing depth, usually around 18 to 24 inches below the surface.

Lastly, get your fly casting and fishing skills up to speed before the season begins or prior to that trip of a lifetime abroad. Many days and opportunities are wasted on good water trying to get a fishable line out.”

Glyn takes keen anglers out on fly fishing experiences and offers tuition services for salmon and trout, on the beautiful River Eden throughout the year – click here to find out more information on his tuition.

fly fishing guide

Other factors affecting fly fishing

There are multiple factors that can contribute to the rate of success when fly fishing, this includes understanding fishing seasons and the UK’s somewhat temperamental weather, your angling skills and the equipment that you’re using…

Understand the seasons

Fly fishing in the UK can be affected by the seasons. During spring, aquatic insects and smaller fish become more active, while in summer, fish tend to seek cooler, deeper waters. In autumn, fish feed voraciously in preparation for winter. Winter can be a difficult time for fly fishing as fish are less active, and water temperatures can be too cold for insect activity.

Practice casting

As Glyn mentioned, casting can make or break your fly fishing experience. Practice your casting technique before heading out on the water. It's important to learn how to cast accurately and efficiently to get your fly where it needs to be.

If you're struggling, consider taking a casting lesson or seeking guidance from a more experienced angler – contact us for more information or advice on fly fishing.

Know your gear

The right gear can make a huge difference in fly fishing. The UK weather can be unpredictable, so it's essential to have the right clothing and equipment, including waders, boots, a good quality rod and reel, and the right line weight for the fish species you are targeting.

This doesn’t only go for clothing, but also for basic fly fishing equipment, you don’t need anything fancy as a beginner, but it’s important to get strong basics. The basics usually include a fly rod, a fly reel, fly fishing line (backing, a line, a leader and a tippet) and some good quality flies.

Choosing the right fishing fly can be difficult, but at John Norris we're helping to make it easier, so visit our store or get in touch if you need a helping hand with fly fishing tackle – it’s not as confusing as it may seem! A simple lot of quality gear is all you need, the basics above are perfect for beginners that want to dive straight into the deep end with fly fishing.


We understand that getting started with fly fishing can seem like an overwhelming process, which is exactly why our in-store experts are there to advise you on all fishing gear, tackle and clothing.

Visit our store or browse our Fishing Collection online.