Friday, February 4, 2011

Fly fishing educational tools... or toys?

Does anybody else out there have one of these nifty little things?

"Wulff Fly-O"

Joan and Lee Wulff developed these as teaching tools for use in their fly casting school. They are still available from The Wulff School, although I actually got mine from an online auction.

To quote the Wulff website:
"The Fly-O is a 3' rod with 15 feet of bulky fluorescent yarn for casting practice. Requiring the same timing and nearly the same strength to push the yarn through the casting motions, it simulates fly tackle perfectly. For off-season or brush-ups. New instruction booklet by Joan Wulff included. Replacement yarn available."

When I got mine it was minus the bulky yarn. I found what I believe to be a suitable replacement at the craft store, but I can't say for sure if it has the exact same casting qualities as what Joan sends out with the Fly-O.

From my experience, it really is an interesting toy to play with. The yarn is light enough so that it forces you to pick up line with a good bit of speed and pretty much the same amount of power you would use to pick up a real fly line off the water. You also have to really push through on the forward cast. It definitely makes you focus on your timing. I've also tried it out with a scrap piece of 6 wt line. That works OK, but to actually use fly line you really need to have the right length of line out to cast it effectively.

There is also a version (I think it's safe to call it a copy) put about by ECHO called the Micro Practice Rod. This one is a 4' two piece while the Fly-O is a 3' one piece. I've seen one of these at a FFF local club meeting once, but I didn't try to cast it. It seemed like pretty much the same thing.

tool or toy?

So am I the only one with a bit of cabin fever playing with an indoor fly fishing toy?... or as the Wulff Fly-O description calls it, doing a little "off-season" brushing up.


  1. I almost bought one of those last winter (the Echo version). I was going to press the "Add To Cart" button, but noticed they (not going to name the retailer) had a disclaimer that they were out of stock. So I guess I wasn't the only one with Cabin Fever. As far as your question, Tool or Toy, I guess it lies in the hand of the user. If you're going to take it seriously, I see no reason why it couldn't be an effective way to practice your cast.

  2. I'm pretty sure I don't take it seriously enough. If I had to guess... Cabela's was your "out of stock" retailer.

  3. We use one in the novice fly fishing class I help teach. It can be a great teaching tool for showing students, in the classroom, what a cast should look like and illustrate the fact that you're casting the line, not the fly. And it can be pretty both, tool and toy.

  4. Only the tightest of loops can turn the TV on.

  5. I'm going to find one and put on a big old treble hook and go play catch with my daughter's cats! Great tool!

  6. Jay
    This thing reminds of a crappie jigger pole. Beleive it or not the sun is out here today and it actually is going to be in the mid 50's,---I may even get out and cast in the swimming pool out back, to releive the tension.

  7. I say tool and toy. Playing with it occupies the mind, and all the playing will (hopefully) lead to better casting when using the real thing!

  8. Thanks for all of the comments. I look forward to casting a real fly rod in the not too distant future.

    Clif, I'll practice casting tight loops to turn on the TV. I fear it may be very tricky though... these new flat panel TVs have all the buttons hidden on the side.

  9. I practice casting more or less daily and I think these practice rods have their place. Sometimes the weather just won't let you get out there, and the Fly-O lets you get in a few minutes of practice. Plus it's just fun to play around with one of those rods.