Fly fishing is one of the less common forms of fishing as a sport. For the angler who would like to give it a try, getting started can be quite easy. Obtaining fly fishing equipment can begin by purchasing a relatively inexpensive rod-reel combination kit. These “combo kits” typically contain a fly rod, reel, and fishing line. Other supplies that may be needed include flies, light monofilament called tippet line that attaches the leader to the flies, one or more fly boxes, cutters such as nail clippers, small needle nose pliers, a pocket knife, and a net. Additionally, polarized sunglasses, a hat and sunblock, a fly fishing vest to carry supplies, and a pair of reading glasses for fine work can be helpful. Of course, don’t forget a fishing license if required.
Learning to handle a fly rod is not complicated but takes practice. Fly rods are cast by sweeping the rod forward and back between the 10:00 and 2:00 positions, keeping your wrist straight, and bending your arm at the elbow while holding it near your waist. The rod is inclined to the side from the vertical enough to keep the line and fly away from you if the line is lower than intended. The rod is held in your right hand if you are right-handed, while the left hand controls the feeding of the line. As the rod is moved forward close to the 10:00 position, the thumb and index finger of the left hand allow a section of line to be tugged by the line’s momentum from the rod tip so with each cycle, more and more line is cast, forming a graceful loop. The angler controls the size and motion of this loop to place the fly in a promising spot.
One of the more interesting aspects of fly fishing is the selection of flies. The intent is to “present” a fly to the fish that looks like a live insect. Many fish know instinctively what food is prevalent and desirable. This can vary throughout the season as “hatches” of various insects occur. Other types of lures that are used in fly fishing include flies that resemble underwater insects, newly-hatched insect “nymphs,” or non-aquatic creatures that fall into the water (known as terrestrials) like ants and grasshoppers. In some cases, “attractors” are used to draw the attention of certain fish species.
To put these all together, it is necessary to learn about knots. Few mechanical connectors are used in fly fishing, so specialized knots must be used to join flies to tippets, tippets to leaders, and leaders to fly lines. These knots can be learned through reading and diagrams, in classes, from fellow anglers, or by watching many excellent videos on the internet.
Fly fishing is an interesting and relaxing activity that can begin with some basic equipment and expand as each angler becomes more familiar with this sport. Many resources are available in the library and on the internet to help develop the angler’s skill.