The idea behind this piece is to help the beginner fly fishing. The terminology and the basic methods used in fly fishing may be unfamiliar to the beginner at fly fishing, so we will start 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 things needed for fly fishing are generally known as tackle, although if you want to be more accurate about the type of things you need, you can tack on the words “fly fishing”. Therefore, we use the phrase: “fly fishing tackle”. Fly fishing tackle, or gear, basically comprises artificial flies, a fly rod, a fly reel and fly line. The set-up is: the fly is affixed to the line, which is wound around the reel, which is attached to the rod or pole, which is used to cast the fly or other bait.
To make it easier to cast the fly as far as required from the angler, the line has to be a little weightier than the other types of fishing line, as a weight is used in other kinds of fishing to obtain the same result. Also, the artificial flies are available in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours to reflect real, live flies, depending on the type of fish the angler hopes to catch.
Generally speaking, 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 select a definite kind 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 part of the region may not work as well as you’d expect in another.
There are classifications of flies too, although they fall into two basic super categories, which are referred to as ‘attractive’ and ‘imitative’. The imitative artificial flies look like real insects, whereas the attractive flies just rely on colour or the reflection of sunlight in order to attract fish without necessarily resembling the fish’s natural diet.
These classifications are then used to further sub-divide artificial fly fishing lures into: a] dry (looking like grasshoppers, dragonflies, etc. which float on or near the surface of the water); b] sub-surface (resembling larvae, pupae) and c] wet (imitating leeches and minnows and other small fish or fry).
The biggest 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 get the artificial lure to that area of the water where the fish are schooling, probably at some distance from the shore. The line is often camouflaged and hollow like electrical wire coating, so that it will float.
Non-fly fishing relies rather on the attached weight, usually made of lead, to draw the line off the reel and carry it forward to the correct spot, where the weight will also take the bait or lure down to the feeding fish.