Start Fly Fishing and Enjoy the Quiet Sport

Becoming a Fly Fisherman


Thoughts of fishing call to mind images of “Gone Fishin’” signs on small town business doors, bucolic afternoons along shady stream beds, and hours of peaceful bobber-watching. Fly-fishing embodies much of the peaceful aspect of angling, but it is also a dynamic sport that combines contemplation and appreciation of nature with action and excitement.

 Learning to Fly Fish

 Fly fishing is difficult to learn without a teacher. To be successful in the early stages, enthusiasts need to be instructed in the proper way to cast the line, tie knots, approach and handle the fish, and observe fishing etiquette.

 In fly fishing, it is the line that is cast, rather than the lure or bait. In fact, the fly line can be cast with nothing on the end. Its weight will send it sailing through the air. Fly lines are weighted differently for different kinds of fishing and casting, and front-weighted lines make casting easier. Experts can even cast fly line without a rod, just by holding a metal guide in their fingers and moving the casting arm in the correct, hammer-like manner. The rod simply makes casting easier, and serves as a means to maintain tension on the line when bringing in fish. The fly reel is, for the most part, just a means of storing and managing the line. Only when powerful fish are on the line is it necessary to use the reel to help play the fish.

 Knot tying skills are essential to fly fishing. A variety of knots are used to secure fly line to leader, leader to tippet, and tippet to fly. Blood knots, Albright knots, and Surgeon’s knots are popular for attaching line of differing diameters together.

 Concern for Fish and Fisheries

 Fly fishermen study the environments of targeted species. Stealth is important, as is understanding the behavior and diet of the fish. Flies are designed to mimic natural foods, both in appearance and movement. It doesn’t take long for new fly fishers to learn from mentors, books, and experience what flies work well for them. Hundreds of fly patterns exist, but most fly fishermen carry only a few favorites.

 Fly fishermen are known as an environmentally concerned group of sporting enthusiasts. Groups such as Trout Unlimited work tirelessly to protect fisheries and raise awareness about the value of indigenous fish and healthy waterways. Catch and release is a nearly universal practice when fly fishing. Fishing with barbless hooks and handling the fish carefully, with wet hands, helps insure that the fish will survive.

 Observe Fishing Etiquette

 Fly fishermen are careful not to crowd other fishermen. They also do their best to protect the environment, packing out their trash and making an effort to clean their equipment in order to minimize transfer of invasive or nuisance species from fishery to fishery. People who are interested in learning more about fly fishing can find worlds of information in books and magazines devoted to the subject. Fly Fisherman and American Angler are a couple of popular magazine choices.

 For those who are interested in taking up fly fishing, finding a good teacher, reading informational sources, and getting out on the water for some hands-on learning will yield quick results. In little time, they can become true fly fishermen and start enjoying the quiet sport.

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