Fly Fishing Basics

Learn the Basics of Fly Fishing to Get a Fish Bite Your Bait!

Thinking of trying your hands at fly fishing? Learn the basics here in this article, and master the art for a rewarding experience.
HobbyZeal Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Fly fishing refers to a traditional mode of fishing, in which artificial or fake flies and baits are attached to the hook. The primary motive behind this is to create a realistic environment for the fish, so that they are duped by it and bite the bait. It is important for the angler to constantly create movements with the fake fly and attract the fish towards it. These artificial flies can be made out of various synthetic materials such as threads, ribbons, strings, fur, feathers, hair, etc., and resemble the shape, size, and color of the real insects which are the food of the fish. Fly fishing is of two types: dry and wet. Let us look at each one in detail.

Dry Fly Fishing
In this method, the artificial fly remains above the surface of the water in a floating position. It simulates the actions of floating insects, which the fish feeds on, and lures it to hit the bait. The most exciting fact about this method is that you can see your catch come up to the surface and take the bait. Some of the common insects which can be faked as baits are terrestrials, dry flies, bugs, etc.

Wet or Water Fly Fishing
In this method, the fly or the bait sinks in the water, and sometimes even goes down to the bottom of the water body to lure the fish, and hence this name. The materials used for making the bait are usually heavy and absorbent, which allow it to sink to the bottom. Streamers, wet flies, woolly worms, and nymphs are some of the common flies used.

Equipment
Some of the basic equipment includes artificial flies, a fly rod, a fly line matching the fly rod, fishing reel, extra tippet, fishing boat, sunglasses (preferably opt for the polarized ones which would allow you to see underwater), fishing hat, and fingernail clippers (for cutting the line). You will find most of these in retail shops or/and in stores that sell sports goods. You can also shop for them online. This will help you in comparing various items and their prices, and choose the one that suits your budget and preference.

The Right Time
Summer is the most favorable time, especially for dry fly fishing. During this season there is an abundance of insects and hence, can be the ideal time to deceit the fish with your fake baits. Specific times in fall and spring can also be good for this sport. Wet fly fishing involves underwater fly movements and thus, can be ideal for most part of the year.

Most Popular Catches
Although fly fishing is mostly used to catch trout, you may catch a wide variety of fish using your skills and techniques. Remember, it works best for fish that depend on their sight for feeding. Some popular catches include trout, sunfish, bluegill, crappie, northern pike, largemouth bass and the small mouth bass, etc.

Techniques
Fly fishing demands a lot of patience, skills, and techniques to lure and earn the catch. Casting a fly on the line and then using the line in order to produce jerks and rhythmic movements to replicate swimming and diving insects, demand real mastery.

Tips for Beginners
  • Study and understand the nature and activities of the artificial flies that you want to use. Lack of knowledge about these details will stop you from creating realistic movements of the bait.
  • Find out the feeding characteristics of various fish to use baits and their movements more effectively.
  • Find out which method suits you best and then select the bait accordingly. Choosing the right bait is crucial.
  • Try to blend yourself with the surrounding of the water body. For example, wear a brown shirt and hat during autumn and summer and green/yellow in spring.
  • Use pyramid and mushroom anchors to ensure that you do not make much noise while anchoring.
  • Choose the color of the fly line carefully. Avoid bright and loud colors and use natural colors such as olive green, tan brown, etc.
  • Consult a local expert to learn fly casting techniques, including how to tie the flies and the knot.
  • Know more about the water bodies which you have chosen. A local guide can help you with this.
  • Learn how to release a fish back in the water, and do so carefully.
  • Once you have learned the basics, practice fly casting regularly.
  • Take a friend along with you. It is always good to have someone with you in case of accidents or unforeseen situations.
  • Use life jackets when you get down in the water.
Fly fishing rod with reel and fishing flies