• Chris O'Byrne

Wyatt’s Formula

The Next Step for New Anglers

As novice fly anglers we carry boxes full of enthusiasm and positive thoughts. As we begin to develop, we learn new skills like; casting twenty or thirty feet, purchasing a selection of flies from our local fly shop, selecting one of those, and tying it on to go fishing. With those simple skills we begin catching fish.


But, abilities of that level don’t guarantee we’ll independently catch those great fish that we’ve always admired. To help new anglers achieve those elusive goals, Allen Wyatt has arranged thirty years of instructing into this easy formula.

Dreaming + Backward Planning = Preparation for fishing success

After getting control of those basics, your next step is to dream about what fish you want to catch. Of course, we’ve all spent many sleepless nights dreaming about catching the perfect fish in the greatest water, but Wyatt explains that this step has some details. “Once the new angler decides what fish species they want to catch, they still need to decide where, and how they want to catch that fish.” A Colorado largemouth bass is not quite the same as a green monster from Lake Okeechobee. And Hawaiian bonefish are distant from their Biscayne Bay cousins. So let your mind flow, fill in all the details of your dream; fish species, size, location, what tactic you want to use.

If you were to look at the walls in any sports coach’s office, you’ll see some version of the slogan; Dreams don’t work unless you do! The same is true for angling; We must add some backward planning to our fishing dreams. Wyatt, who founded the Andy Thornal Fly Fishing Schools in 1989, tells his customers, “Your fishing situation will tell you which rod and reel outfits to acquire, which flies will be best, and how to use them.” The correct outfit to take brook trout under tunnels of Rhododendron in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will leave you unprepared for the wide open and windy conditions in Yellowstone National Park.

Wyatt, who is developing plans for a hosted trip to his dream fishing; chasing Atlantic salmon, with streamers on two handed rods in northern Europe, says to begin by getting the correct weight of fly rod and then a line to match. For the most part “overlining” is no longer needed.

In some cases, leaders are vital, and you must get the correct length, diameter and strength. Then you can return to the joy of selecting flies.

We all have images of the flies we will use, but Wyatt coaches “Color, and size are as important as type.” Getting the precise flies can be done by contracting with your fly shop for custom flies, or by learning to tie on your own.

Calculating this simple formula will guide you to those next fish. In your dreaming, remember to include photographing your catch. We’d love to share your pictures.

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