The purpose of this article is to help the beginner fly fishing. The terminology and the basic practice used in fly fishing may be unknown to the beginner at fly fishing, so we will commence from the very beginning. Therefore, if you are a beginner fly fishing person, please read on in order to become acquainted with fly fishing.
The instruments required for fly fishing are usually called tackle, although if you want to be more accurate about the sort of instruments you need, you can add the words “fly fishing”. So, you get the phrase: “fly fishing tackle”. Fly fishing gear basically consists of artificial flies, a fly rod, a fly reel and fly line. The set-up is: the fly is attached to the line, which is wound around the reel, which is attached to the rod, which is used to cast the bait (the fly).
To make it easier to cast the fly as far as required from the angler, the line needs to be a little weightier than the other types of fishing line, as a weight is used in other forms of fishing to obtain the same result. Furthermore, the artificial flies are made in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours to reflect real, live flies, depending on the sort of fish the angler wants to catch.
In general, the artificial fly is made of hair, plastic, feathers, fabric, fur and other materials in order to make the lure as closely resemble as possible the insect or fly most commonly eaten by the particular species of fish at that particular month or time of the day. This means that each fishing location requires that you choose a certain type of artificial fly that will look like the insects living in the area where your desired type of fish swim. Therefore, a type of fly used in one area of the country may not work as well as you’d expect elsewhere.
There are variations in the classification of flies too. They fall into two basic overall categories, which are referred to as ‘attractive’ and ‘imitative’. The imitative artificial flies resemble real insects, whereas the attractive flies only rely on colour or the reflection of light in order to attract fish without necessarily looking like the fish’s natural prey.
These classifications then further sub-divide artificial fly fishing lures into: a] dry (imitating grasshoppers, dragonflies, etc. which float on or near the surface of the water); b] sub-surface (looking like larvae, pupae) and c] wet (imitating leeches and minnows or other tiddlers).
The main distinguishing feature between fly fishing and non-fly fishing is that fly fishing relies to a great extent on the weight of the line to carry the artificial fly to that part of the water where the fish are swimming, probably at a distance from the angler. The line is often camouflaged and hollow, so that it will float.
However, non-fly fishing relies instead on the attached weight, often made of lead previously, to draw the line off the reel and carry it on to the correct spot, where the weight will also take the bait or lure down to the feeding fish.