What is fly fishing? How is it different from traditional fishing? In this fly fishing guide, we will help you better understand the often misunderstood sport.
For anglers interested in trying their hands at fly fishing, we will also be giving some fly fishing tips to help them make more catches on their next fly fishing ventures.
What Is Fly Fishing?
Fly fishing involves presenting an artificial lure to the fish. The lure is an imitation of an insect, which is the fish’s prey. With this method you are basically trying to imitate the fish’s natural food to entice and trick the fish into taking the lure.
The flies are the imitations of insects that float on the surface of water such as mayflies and caddis. These can also be terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers, ants or insects that live under the surface of water. The fly imitations are created out of many artificial and natural materials by the means of fly tying.
Fly fishing gets its name from that bait that it uses, ie., artificial flies. Fly tying is the process of producing an artificial fly, which is used by fly fishing anglers to catch fish.
In simple terms, it is the process of binding various materials to a hook with a thread. Nowadays the thread can be replaced by modern materials such as UV-cured resins which are used to fix the materials to the hook. The common materials used to make a fly are
- Feathers from ducks, pheasants or other birds
- Furs of animals such as beavers, deer, elk etc
- Glass, brass or tungsten beads
- Tinsels, wires and other such ribbing materials
- These days there are several artificially created synthetic materials used in fly tying.
Difference Between Fly Fishing And Traditional Fishing
Many people don’t realize the difference between fly fishing and traditional spin fishing. However, in reality the two are worlds apart. The only similarity between the two sports is the end result. That is both sports involve catching fish, but that’s where the similarity stops.
The intent of fly fishing is to fool a fish using an artificial fly. Fly fishing is comparatively harder than normal spin fishing. Many anglers love to challenge themselves with a more difficult form of fishing and to try and catch as many fish as they can during the experience.
That is the core idea of fly fishing, to challenge oneself. It is arguably a more peaceful way to catch fish. While spin casting is a great way for beginners to get into fishing, many anglers would argue that fly fishing elevates the pastime into real art.
Fly fishing is extremely efficient when it comes to catching trout. More often than not, a trout will prefer insect imitations over traditional baits. However, fly fishing can also be successful with other species of fish, especially if the angler is skillful.
If you are looking to give fly fishing a try, you need to remember that you cannot use traditional spin fishing equipment for fly fishing.
Since the two are actually quite different, you will need fishing equipment specifically meant for fly fishing. The right equipment will not only make your fishing experience easier and more enjoyable, it will also greatly improve your chances of success.
Fly Fishing Tips
So you’ve got your fly fishing equipment in order, but before you hit the waters you’ll need a few tips to get you started.
1. Hire A Guide
Fly casting, to be honest, is an extremely difficult manoeuvre that takes time and effort to master. Hence, you will need someone to guide you. Watching fly fishing tutorials online will help you get an idea of the motion, but practically, it won’t be possible to do without the help of someone experienced.
When you watch a seasoned fly fisherman cast, it is like seeing art in motion. There are too many subtle details in the motions and arm movements required to fly cast.
To fly cast like a pro you will need to learn from a pro. A guide can be expensive, and can cost you anywhere between $150 to $500, but trust me, it will be worth every penny once you learn how to fly fish.
2. Be Stealthy And Quiet
Fish have ears! Well, not literally ears, but they do have lateral lines, which are a sense organ that allow them to detect movement and vibrations in surrounding water very well.
Fish are easily spooked by motion and vibrations. Hence, in pole position it is important to walk softly and remain as silent as possible to lure the fish towards the bait.
3. Stay Low And Use Cover
When stalking fish, always maintain a low profile and use grasses and bushes as cover. This is because fish have excellent vision which is adapted to help fish distinguish between predator and prey coming from above. Also, avoid bright clothing when fishing and try to blend into the surroundings.
4. Do Not Over Cast
At times, on larger rivers or stillwaters, in the excitement of casting long, many anglers tend to cast over fish. But actually a lot of fish are caught with quite short casts.
5. Avoid Being Broken
Many anglers tend to keep an overly firm grip on the rod causing the fish to break loose. However, it is important to play the fish well and tire them out.
The trick is to maintain a firm grip, but do not apply too much force. Practice keeping your rod at a 45 degree angle or less so that you are playing the fish with the entire length of the rod and not just the tip.
Traditional spin fishing is a great way for beginners to try their hands at fishing. However, if you’re a little more experienced angler and looking for new ways to challenge yourself, fly fishing is a great way.
Although fly fishing has a steep learning curve, once you master the intricacies of its movements, it is quite a rewarding experience. Once mastered, it is truly one of the most elegant forms of fishing.