Most of us have heard about this thing called fly fishing, but do we know what it really entails? Why does everyone tell me about it?
Definition: A fishing technique for catching fish where the bait (often looking like a fly) is presented on the top of the water
Fly fishing is a real contrast to traditional fishing where the bait is cast out, and presented below the water. Comparing fly fishing to traditional fishing is a great way to understand the basic techniques involved.
Fly fishing is a real art, which in the option of the many fishermen i've chatted with, is what makes it so interesting. It's much more difficult then traditional fishing.
Not only are you outdoors, in some of the most beautiful places in the world, but you also have to precisely focus on your technique, and adjust based on the type of fish you are trying to catch, and your specific location in the water your fishing.
With traditional fishing, the weights and bait serve as backing weight to throw a solid cast. In fly fishing, the line itself provides the weight. Here's the breakdown from the fly rod to the water.
1) The Backing: A thin, but very strong section of line that directly attaches the fly line to the reel. Cortland Micron backing #20 ($22 for 250 yards) is a great choice.
2) The Fly Line: The weighted line that, delivers the weightless fly to the targeted location. If you're going to cheap out anywhere, don't cheap put here. I would suggest the RIO Gold Fly Line ($79 for 100ft)
3) The Leader: The leader is the clear material that is connected to the end of your fly line, it will taper down in thickness to the point where the tippet attaches. I suggest the Orvis Company SuperStrong Plus Leaders (>$10)
4) The Tippet: Specific gauge monofilament line that is attached to the end of the leader, to which you tie the fly. Usually the smallest gauge on your rig. I recommend the Orvis Company Mirage Tippet Line. ($15-$50, depending on length)
4) The Fly: An imitation of natural food sources that is presented to the target fish. Artificial flies are constructed by fly tying, in which furs, feathers, thread or any of very many other materials are tied onto a fish hook. Your best bet when selecting flies is to head to your local bait shop or Bass Pro/Cabela's to chat with one of the experienced anglers.
Also very different from traditional fishing poles is the fly rod and reel. Fly Rods are very flexible and often made of graphite. They are also usually much longer than regular fishing poles, about 9 foot. They are designed to bend when casting for extra distance and more control when presenting flies. After all, with this method, presentation is everything.
The Fly Reel is also very different. Traditional fishing poles often have a closed reel. Fly fishing reels are open with the hand position in front of the reel.
There are many different casting strategies, but all of them involve letting out about a rod to a rod and half’s amount of fly line, then whipping the fly road back behind you, and then back out. How you do this determines the type of casting, and there are many different variations and techniques.
In fly fishing, the fly is the bait. There are thousands of different fly designs, but they are generally broken out into three different types: Dry flies, Nymphs, and Streamers.
Dry flies The most common, and are designed to to present on top the water and mimic a fly or bug landing on the surface of the water.
Nymphs are intended to float just below the waters surface and mimic a water invertebrate.
Streamers are intended to mimic small fish or aquatic life, like leeches.
In terms of water, I've only fished in small creeks or medium sized rivers. Many times at the base of a small falls or tail end of an island-like rock feature. I couldn't teach you how to read the water and where to present a fly. If you want to read more, head to this website.
My intention for this is simply to open a few eyes to the fly fishing. If you have any further questions or want to find out where you can fly fish, please send me an email or DM. I'll be sure to find the right person for you to chat with. Fly fishermen are crazy passionate, they're always down to share their knowledge with a fellow angler.