Fly fishing hooks are baited with artificial flies rather than live bait. To be a good fly fisher demands patience, precision, and extensive knowledge of the fish you are seeking. It is a sport that can be enjoyed at any age. You can pick up the basics in an afternoon, but it will take a lifetime to perfect the art.
The equipment and techniques you use for fly fishing must be carefully chosen based on the type of fish you are after, the kind of water you are fishing in, and even the time of day.
Game fishing, which is done only for trout, salmon, or char, is favoured by purists and for many years was considered the only “real” fly fishing. But so-called coarse fishing for other species, such as grayling, carp, bream, pike, and others has its own pleasures.
Whatever your goal, you’ll need a rod and line. Fly rods, traditionally made from split cane, are these days made of a variety of materials, including, fibreglass, carbon fibre, or graphite. Bamboo rods continue to have traditionalist appeal but are fragile in comparison with rods made from modern materials. Today most fly fishermen prefer carbon fibre or graphite. Heavier rods are necessary for fishing in fast water, surf, or saltwater.
Creating your own flies, or fly tying, can be a hobby all in itself, requiring some specialised tools, a sharp eye, and a steady hand. Flies can be made with feathers, fur, threads, wire, bits of metal or glass, cork, rubber, plastic – anything that works to create the perfect lure..
There are hundreds of fly designs, or patterns, some of which even date back to Izaak Walton who published the ‘Compleat Angler’, all the way back in 1653. Patterns are available from books, magazines, and the Internet. Or you can always invent your own!
Regardless of whether you tie your own or buy them, flies come in a variety of general classes.
A dry fly is intended to float on the surface of the water, perhaps resembling an insect that has just alighted.
A wet fly, on the other hand, is intended to sink below the water; either floating at a certain depth or sinking steadily until retrieved, depending on the type of fly.
Dry-fly fishing is usually preferred in southern England, while anglers in northern England and Scotland, who must often contend with faster waters and tighter spaces, opt for the wet-fly style.
Flies are also classed as either imitative or attractive.
Imitative flies are tied to resemble a certain type of creature fish prey on: adult insects, insect larvae or nymphs, worms, smaller fish or crustaceans, or even land animals that have fallen into the water.
Attractive flies do not necessarily resemble prey, but instead work by provoking the fish’s instinctive attack reaction through bright and shiny colours, long wriggling fibres (streamers), or creating turbulence in the water as they are pulled through it.
Once you’ve equipped yourself with your fly fishing tackle, you’ll need to learn to cast. The goal is to land the fly as lightly as possible, so it appears natural and does not frighten the fish, and so the fly drifts naturally with the water.
The basic fly cast involves raising the rod smoothly overhead until almost vertical and then snapping it forward a short distance, but there are dozens of variations. For wet flies, you will want to use a cast such as the tuck cast, which puts the weight of the line on top of the fly, so it sinks quickly.
There are also specialised casts, such as the roll, sidearm, and Spey casts, which are intended for conditions that do not offer enough room for a regular cast, such as high-walled streams, overhanging trees, or crowded areas.
Source by Andrew Norton