How To Learn Fly Fishing In No Time [With John Archipolo]


It’s fly fishing time!

One of the most challenging and fun ways to chase gamefish is by fly fishing.

Many people find fly fishing daunting and intimidating.

They can be expert fishermen but may not even know the first thing about fly fishing, what kind of rod you need and how to get started.

Many people don’t even realize that the “flies” you’re throwing aren’t actually bugs, but instead, patterns that resemble baitfish, shrimp, crabs and other prey.

We wanted to show people that fly fishing isn’t as intimidating as it may seem and talk to an expert about how to get started fly fishing.

To do this, we decided to talk to one of our Salt Strong Insider Club fly fishermen — John Arichipolo.

John Archipolo’s Fly Fishing Journey

Fly Fishing redfish catch

John was born and raised in Long Island, New York. He grew up fishing for flounder, bluefish and striped bass with conventional tackle.

John moved to Melbourne, Florida, which is right on the Indian River, in 2001. He started fishing Sebastian Inlet and the inshore waters around Melbourne and became proficient targeting redfish, snook, tarpon and trout.

He began kayak fishing in 2007 and became consistent targeting inshore fish.

A couple of years ago, John joined the Salt Strong Insider Fishing ClubWe started noticing him consistently catching nice redfish, trout, snook and more in his posts on our fishing community boards.

John picked up a fly fishing rod a couple months ago and has had immediate success with it. To John, fly fishing is a new challenge to target the inshore fish he’s become accustomed to catching.

Pretty soon after that, he got the attention of R3 Flies and even earned a sponsorship from them to use their flies.

John is a great of example of how you can pick up a fly rod and become a pretty good fisherman with it if you’re willing to put the time and practice into it.

Check out the picture below of John with a recent catch of his personal best redfish on fly:

Fly Fishing for redfish

In this podcast episode, we go over what you need to know to get started fly fishing, including:

  • The best fly rod, reel and line for beginners
  • The biggest fly fishing mistakes for new anglers
  • Ideal spots to learn fly fishing
  • The best flies for inshore fish

Have any questions or feedback about this podcast episode?

Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page!

Note: Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the Fish Strong podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

Learn more about the Insider Fishing Club

John Archipolo On The Fish Strong Podcast

fly fishing for tarpon

Click the play button to listen right here on our site or click either button below to go directly to iTunes or Stitcher to download the episode.

fish strong podcast

stitcher fish strong podcast

Note: Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the Fish Strong podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

Learn more about the Insider Fishing Club

Fly Fishing: How To Strip Set [Set The Hook]

Fly Fishing for Snook

One of the most difficult things to get used to for spin and baitcaster fishermen to grasp when learning to fly fish is how to strip set — aka how to set the hook when you bet a bite.

A strip strike involves pulling the fly line quickly with force, using the tension of the line to set the hook when a fish eats your fly.

Check out the video below to see a good tutorial on setting the hook with a fly rod:

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Below are three tips to a good strip set:

1. Keep Your Rod Tip Down

When you’re stripping your line while presenting the fly to a fish, you want to keep your rod tip pointed down your line and into the water the entire time. Keeping the rod tip pointed down ensures you do not pull the fly out of a fish’s mouth during an eat.

2. Short Strips Let You Set The Hook Easier

Short strips of the fly allow your hand to be in prime position to strip strike when you get a bite from a fish. You want your hand to be close to the reel when you feel the fish eat. This gives your hand the necessary room to strip set.

3. Strip Strike

When you feel or see a fish eat your fly, use your stripping hand to grab the line and give a sharp punch back down and away from the fly rod. This will bring the fish tight and set the hook. Once you strip strike, wait for the fish to turn and run against your line before moving the rod tip up to a normal fighting position.

Learn more about the Insider Fishing Club


tarpon fly fishing

The point of this article is to show you that fly fishing is easier to learn than you think.

This is one of the most challenging and fun ways to target fish and we encourage all of you to get out and try casting a fly rod, even if it’s just once.

Check out John’s Instagram page here to keep up with all his catches on fly.

Don’t forget to check out R3 Flies to see some great saltwater flies. Insiders, be on the lookout for some special prices and packages from R3 Flies coming to you soon!

If you have any questions about fly fishing or how to get started with it, let us know in the comments.

Tight Lines!

Related Posts: 

1. 5 Biggest Fly Fishing Mistakes for Redfish in Skinny Water

2. Fly Fishing From A Kayak: Fly Line Tips & Tricks [VIDEO]

3. What to Know When Choosing Your First Fly Rod

Do You Want To Quickly Find New Fishing Spots In Your Area?

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Here’s what you’ll receive today:

  • Weekly fishing reports and TRENDS revealing where the inshore fish are feeding all year long
  • Weekly “spot dissection” videos that walk you through all the best spots in certain areas
  • Exclusive fishing tips from the PROS you can’t find anywhere else
  • Everything you need to start catching fish more consistently (regardless if you fish out of a boat, kayak, or land).

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Oliver Wise
11 months ago

This is awesome! Thanks so much y’all. I asked a question in one of your Thursday open Q&A’s on fly fishing and I feel this lengthy post answers all of my questions about getting started. Much appreciated.

Sarah Packer
3 years ago

My husband and kids love fishing, but they’ve never tried fly fishing, so I wanted some more info about it! I didn’t know short strips on a fly rod allows you to be closer to the reel, so it’s easier to feel a fish eat. That’s something my husband would really like, being closer to the action and fish, so I’ll look more into fly fishing and where I could get equipment for a reasonable price, thanks to this post!

Thomas Campbell
3 years ago

Is there a benefit to fly fishing over spinning gear or is it just more a fun and rewarding style of fishing? Is it easier or harder?

Scott Rispaud
3 years ago

Great video John. I’ve been fishing for 5 decade! I’m new to fly fishing and I am in therapy for my 2nd rotator cuff repair so it’s been a tough couple of years. I’d love to come up to Titusville and hook up with you for some PRO instruction. I have a family member that is a guide in Oak Hill so I get up there often. Strengthen my shoulders now and I am so excited to get back into my fishing mojo! Hope to see you soon.

David Wolf
3 years ago

Love fly fishing. When I am looking for a new 8wt rod I do a web search for the “8wt shootout”. Same with reels. There are two industry stores that do in depth evals and produce a comprehensive list of the characteristics of 25 rods and their prices. My last two rods were rated right up there with the 4 digit price tag rods but cost much less. One an Orvis, one a Sage for my wife. Best impartial advice I have found for new rods and reels. Never been disappointed by their advice or my choices.
8wt is good for fish up to 50 pounds in my opinion. Big tarpon your talking a 12wt rod.
You can also buy used stuff from local fly fishing clubs – many have gear swaps and sales on a regular basis.
Also, many fly fishing clubs offer free fly casting clinics and the basics of casting are the basics and apply to fresh and salt water. Orvis does free clinics too. Been to several of their clinics over the years.
Also check liquidation sites like Sierra Trading Post. They often have discontinued rods and reels at a discount.

Joseph Sherer
3 years ago

Good podcast guys! I hate to tell you but I fit into the bad category of actually being a casting instructor for Orvis, sorry about that. I am more than happy to give free lessons to any and everyone interested for as long as they can take. I no longer work in the Flyfishing world but since I have been a fly fisherman since 1978, it’s all I know and do. I guided Flyfishing for 25 years as well as running a school on the bighorn river for 6 years. I have been on the BBC & Scandinavian TV doing shows on Flyfishing in America. If anyone wants lessons for free with no strings attached just let me know. The only caveat is that I now work retail so you will have to learn around my schedule. I would absolutely recommend that you get some of that waterproof gauze like tape if you know what I mean. It’s about 2”s wide and it will save your hand when your fish makes a big run, and even small fish can make an unexpected fast and hard run. I am a salt strong member and have been for 4 years now. If we ever have a fish Strong outing in the Titusville or Melbourne area and I know enough in advance I will be sure to be there and happy to share everything I know. Great job on your podcast!

Joseph Sherer
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Simonds

Sounds good, we’ll have to set up a good time in the future that works out well for you and I can take a couple three days off and go to my sisters condo next to your Mom and Dad. I can pull my boat over or some of my hobie kayaks or whatever works best for you. I don’t know that area but I know you guys do so I would defer to you for areas to fish and film if that’s what you want to do. If it happens during an outing that’s fine too, I’m used to working with crowds. Whatever works I’m good with. I’m good for fishing from sun up to sundown with lunch on the water, whatever you want I can make work. I would love to talk to your brother again and he can show me how to stay in touch with him better. My girlfriend and I talked to him for about a half hour at the Christmas party but I didn’t have messenger on my phone or iPad so I couldn’t remember what he told us to contact him. I’m old but they say I’m trainable.????
3 years ago

Been using sinking saltwater fly under a popping cork for last several years. Killer for me. Provides the bait at a reasonable cost.

Guy LeVeille
3 years ago

Great podcast guys! Joe, thanks for putting this together with John. And John, thanks for sharing your experiences so far! A lot of great information in here that helped me correct some long standing mistakes! I love fly fishing for salt water species. I’ll have to pick up some heavier flies to get them down to the Reds. I’ll be stepping up in equipment size soon to an 8 wt rod. My old 5 wt rod is still a blast to use but I have to seriously limit the size of fish that I target. Now that I’m seeing bigger Tarpon and other species….I want to get in there and mix it up with them and a fly!
Thanks again! Tight lines!
Guy LeVeille

Guy LeVeille
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Simonds

Great stuff as usual Joe! Hey, you reside close by. If you ever have the time to go wet a fly and want to link up with someone to share the road time and water time with (and a coffee…must start with coffee!) it would be great to meet you and get on the water with another person who’s trying to figure out this fly fishing thing! Maybe we could link up with John and pick his brain? Lord knows I can use all the help I can get! Ha ha
Best regards and tight lines!

Andrew Stewart
3 years ago

I’m doing it!


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