A Coffee Roaster’s Guide to Fly Fishing

Josh, our master roaster, can’t get enough of two things. Coffee and fly fishing. When you’re out standing in the river, nothing hits the spot quite like a steaming hot cup of coffee. With this in mind Josh set to work formulating the perfect coffee to enjoy while angling.

What Does Fly Fishing Have To Do With Coffee?

Enter: Gravel Bar Coffee. Made with a mix of medium-roasted and rich dark coffees, this blend is sure to please. Josh describes the flavour as “notes of cocoa and campfire, with a hint of roasted nuts.” Who could resist? Experience the taste of the great outdoors, anytime, anywhere with Gravel Bar Coffee. And if you’re curious about fly fishing at Cupper’s, we’ve got you covered! Let’s hit the rivers and start casting!

Cupper's Coffee Gravel Bar Coffee infographic

Brewing on the Go

Are you on the river and don’t have your favourite coffee maker with you? We have you covered. Pack along one of our amazing Gravel Bar Coffee brew bags! All you need is a mug and hot water and you can enjoy your Gravel Bar anywhere. These small brew bags are a practical and healthy alternative to instant coffee. We pack each sachet with nitrogen to keep your coffee as fresh as the day it’s packaged. To learn more about our brew bags and how they’re a game changer, check out our Ultimate Guide to Coffee Brew Bags.

What is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is a tranquil sport that’s perfect for coffee lovers who enjoy the great outdoors. It involves using a lightweight rod, line, and artificial fly to catch fish in rivers. Choosing the right fly is crucial for a successful catch, like your favorite coffee blend. Reading the water is key to understanding where fish might be hiding. Fly fishing is the perfect blend of tranquility and excitement. It’s perfect for when you want a peaceful escape or an adrenaline-fueled adventure. So, grab your gear and a cup of coffee, and let’s go!

Fly fishing on a river with a tree across the water

Beginner's Guide To Fly Fishing

Get ready to experience the thrill of the catch and the peace of the great outdoors with fly fishing! This beginner’s guide will introduce you to the essentials of this dynamic sport. Fly fishing is where finesse and strategy meet the natural beauty of streams and rivers. You’ll learn all the secrets of successful fly fishing. And with our expert tips on choosing the right flies you’ll be reeling in your first catch in no time!

What Gear Do I Need for Fly Fishing?

At Cupper’s we carry a small assortment of fly fishing accessories. For a larger selection of equipment make sure to swing by Crowsnest Cafe & Fly Shop in Coalman, AB. They have a wide range of fly fishing gear to get you set up like a pro. (They also might know a thing or two about good spots to fly fish!)

Fly fishing Rod and reel on river rocks

To get started with fly fishing, you will need the following gear:

A Fly Fishing Rod

A fly rod is a specialized fishing rod designed for fly fishing. It is a lot lighter and thinner than a spin-fishing rod. Here are some important factors to consider when buying a fly fishing rod:

1. Length
The length of the rod will depend on the type of fishing you want to do. The size of the streams or rivers you will be fishing in, and your personal preference also play a part.
2. Action
The action refers to the way a rod bends when you cast or fight a fish. Fly fishing rods come in three main actions: fast, medium, and slow. Fast action rods are best for experienced fishers. They are good for making long, accurate casts. Medium action rods are versatile for a variety of fishing styles. Slow action rods are best for beginners.
3. Line weight
The line weight of the rod will determine the size of the fish you can catch. The line weight is usually listed on the rod and ranges from 1 to 12.
4. Material
Fishing rods can be graphite, fiberglass, and bamboo. Graphite is lightweight and sensitive. Fiberglass is durable and has a slower action. Bamboo is traditional and has a unique feel, but is also heavier.
6. Comfort
When choosing a fly fishing rod, make sure it feels comfortable in your hand. The grip has to be the right size for your hand and feel good for several hours.
Remember, it’s important to try out different rods to find the one that’s right for you.

A Fly Reel

A fly reel is the round bit used to store the fishing line and retrieve the fish you catch. When picking a fly fishing reel, consider what kind of fishing you’ll be doing and the size of fish you want to catch. Do you want to fish for big, powerful fish in saltwater or smaller fish in freshwater? Do you want a more traditional feel or the ability to adjust the drag? 

Old school fly fishing reel

Disc drag reels are great for saltwater and big fish, with a consistent drag and stopping power. Spring-and-pawl reels are perfect for freshwater and smaller fish. They have a lighter drag and a classic feel. So, take a look at your options and choose the one that’s right for you!

Fly Line

Fly lines come in various weights and lengths to match the type of fishing you’ll be doing. You need to match your line weight with your rod, or you’ll end up frustrated and fish-less. It’s hard to cast when the line weight is not matched to the rod you’re using.

Fishing Flies

Flies are artificial lures that mimic insects and other small prey that fish eat. Selecting the right kind of fly is crucial in fly fishing. Different flies trick the fish into thinking they’re eating their favourite food.

There are several styles of flies, and the type you use depends on what you’re fishing for:

Klinkhammer Black #10 Fishing Fly being held by tweezers
Dry Flies: These are like bugs that float on top of the water. They look like tasty flying insects like mayflies, caddisflies, or stoneflies.
Wet Flies: These look like insects that live in the water. Think of nymphs and larvae.
Streamers: These are big and meaty, like little fish. They trick fish into thinking they’re eating a tasty minnow or leech.
Nymphs: These look like bugs that are still growing and living in the water, like mayfly nymphs.
Terrestrial Flies: Fish think these are insects that live on land and fell into the water. Think of ants or beetles which are common favourites.
Saltwater Flies: These are special flies just for fly fishing in saltwater areas. They’re for fish like bonefish or tarpon, or permit fish.
It’s important to pick the right fly for the kind of fish you want to catch and the water you’re fishing in. Make sure to check out our small catalog of flies!
Complete catalogue of Cupper's Fly fishing flies.

Leader and Tippet

Leader and tippet attach the fly to the line. The leader and tippet are two separate components that work together to subtly deliver your fly to the fish. The leader is like the secret sauce that connects the fly line to the fly. It allows for a smooth and natural presentation. The tippet is the cherry on top that ties the fly to the leader with delicate precision.

Good fishers adjust the length and thickness of the leader and tippet to match the conditions. At Cupper’s, we have a range of tippets and leaders from Stroft always in stock. Experienced fishers know Stroft for it’s quality and reliability. Get ready to cast your line with confidence. Your leader and tippet will help you trick even the world-weariest of fish!

George Gehrke's Gink

George Gehrke’s Gink is the one and only floatant that has earned its place as the OG in the world of fly fishing. This liquid magic takes your dry flies to new heights. It makes them dance and glide effortlessly on the water like never before. Gink has a unique blend of silicone and secret ingredients. It transforms your flies into the ultimate decoys. It’s no wonder that this tried-and-true floatant has been the go-to for generations. So, get ready to elevate your fly fishing game with Gink. It’s the coolest and most effective floatant on the market – a must-have in every angler’s arsenal.

a Bottle of Gink made by George Gehrke

Voile Straps

One piece of equipment that can make all the difference are Voile Straps. These straps are the ultimate do-anything, fix-anything tool for all your outdoor needs.

Voile straps are tough, durable, and versatile. They’re made from a high-quality nylon material. Some have nylon buckles, others have metal buckles. They come in a variety of colours, lengths and widths.
The best thing about Voile straps is how easy they are to use. The simple yet secure buckle system makes them a breeze to strap down or loosen up as needed. And since they’re made from a durable material, they won’t break or stretch out over time. They are a reliable option for all your outdoor adventures.
Having a few Voile straps in your pack can be a game-changer. They’re versatile, reliable, and easy to use. Next time you’re gearing up for your next outdoor excursion, make sure you have a few Voile straps on hand. You won’t regret it.

Basic Casting Technique

Fly fishing is an exciting and fun activity that involves casting a line with a fly on the end to catch fish. The overhead cast is the most basic cast for fly fishing and is also a foundation for learning other casts.

To do the overhead cast, hold the rod like you’re shaking someone’s hand and pull out about 10 yards of line. Then, quickly flick your arm back to take the rod back. This causes the line to loop back behind you. Pause until the line is almost completely behind, then bring the rod forward to flick or cast the line out in front of you.

When practicing the overhead cast, it’s best to do so in open water or a field of grass. To avoid common mistakes, remember to pause until the line is behind you and to not use too much wrist motion. We think this video by Orvis Fly Fishing highlights this basic cast very well.

Where's the Best Fly Fishing in Southern Alberta?

There are many excellent places to cast your line in southern Alberta. A great resource is Alberta Tourism’s full list of the best fishing spots.
Of course, another ever-accurate method is to ask experienced fly fishers. There’s very often someone in Cupper’s checking our our flies and who knows the local rivers well!
We are fans of fishing in the Oldman River with its diverse population of trout. We appreciate our river so much we have a range of trout stickers for sale. Each species of trout from the stickers can be found in Alberta rivers. Best of all, $1 from each beautiful sticker goes to support the Oldman Watershed Council

Final Thoughts

Of course, the key to success in fly fishing is practice, practice, practice. Work on your casting technique until it’s as smooth as silk. Then dive into the different types of flies and tying methods. Know your fish – study their behaviors and habitats, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro.

Older hand holding a fly fishing rod and reel.

So why wait? Let fly fishing reel you in and take you on a journey like no other. Get ready to cast off into a world of excitement, challenge, and pure outdoor bliss. Grab your cup of coffee, get your gear and let’s go fishing!

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