what is fly fishing

What is Fly Fishing? And All The Things You Can Expect!

Last updated on September 11th, 2022

Are you starting your fishing journey? Or did you recently pick up an interest in fishing? Chances are, you have heard about fly fishing. So, what is fly fishing? It is a simple fishing technique where bait looking like a fly is placed at the top of the rod and presented into the water for the fish.

The bait is placed in a way that it will appear as thou an invertebrate has landed slightly below the water surface. Now, you know what it is, we shall get into more details to help you understand the technique better. Below, you will learn the actual mechanics and what you will need for this type of fishing.

Fly Fishing Set Up

To make things simpler for you, we shall start with the setup of fly fishing compared to traditional fishing. First is the traditional fishing. What does it involve, and how does it work? Here, weights, a thin plus lightweight line, and a float are used. At the end of the line, there is a hook where the bait is placed before being cast into the water.

Also, the weights are attached to allow the line to get a good distance once you cast it. The float will then hold the bait to remain at a particular depth in the water surface. If there are fish around that area, they will smell the bait and try to bite it. When this happens, the fish that bites the bait will get caught on to the hook giving you fresh dinner.

Fly fishing, on the other hand, is quite different from what we have described in the traditional fishery. Here, an extremely lightweight fly is cast at the top of the water or a little below its surface. You are presenting bait with no weight, and the way you cast the line will be different from traditional fishing not to scare away the fish. A fly line set up, fly rod plus reel, fly, and special casting technique are used in this type of fishing.

Now, let’s take a look at each of the items used for fly fishing in detail.

The Fly

Fly fishing involves using a fly as bait. It is not just one kind of fly used here; there thousands you can choose from. To better understand these flies, we shall break them into three types, which include the following.

  1. Streamers. These are generally used to mimic some aquatic life like leeches and even small fish.
  2. Dry flies. These kinds are what most fly fishing folks use. They are made to stay afloat and look like actual flies or a bug at the surface of the water. If you want to know more transparently about flies, check out this article on the best Fly Fishing Flies Kit.
  3. Nymphs. This type lands just below the water surface. They resemble water invertebrates when in water.

When selecting the type of fly to use, it will be done depending on the kind of fish you wish to catch, water conditions, and the location of your fishing grounds. A little help from your local fishing store will provide you with the best information on what flies to get and when to use them.

The Fly Line

Unlike traditional fishing, fly fishing utilizes the fly line as the weight to get the right cast. Fly line backing is a line used to extend your line’s total length on the fly reel. The backing is necessary if you want some extra length to allow the fish to run a little in the water.

As we mentioned before, the line provides the weight. To get to the water, you will need the fly rod, backing, leader, tippet, fly, and the fly line. Using the leader and tippet helps to make the presentation of the fly into the waterless scary to the fish.

Fly Rod

For a fly rod, they are usually designed from graphite and are very flexible. This isn’t the case with the traditional fishing poles. The fly rod is also longer measuring about 9 feet in length. They normally bend when cast into the water to offer you extra distance and present the fly carefully to the water surface or slightly below.

Fly Reel

When it comes to the fly reel, you will also see a difference when compared to those of traditional fishing where the poles have a closed reel. For fly reels, they are made open. When positioning your hand on the rod in fly fishing, the hand has to be in front of the reel. For traditional, the hand is positioned behind the reel.

Casting Technique

There is a big difference between fly fishing and traditional fishing when it comes to the casting technique. For traditional fishing, it’s straight and forward where you push a button, throw the rod back, and out into the water. However, for fly fishing, it is not that simple as the technique is a little complicated.

Casting in fly fishing involves a series of upside-down pendulum motions. The rod is normally tipped back and forth as the fly line keeps following its tip. The motion is repeated several times while more line is fed out. This will give the line the right forward speed and distance to stretch out and have the fly delivered to the fish.

Why fly fish?

Fly fishing may seem to be complicated, but several people prefer it to traditional fishing. So why is fly fishing better for most people?  Well, it involves using weightless fish, which is preferred by most fish because they tend to feed on things that are only a fraction of an inch. It is more fun for most people, and it has several benefits.

  • It is an accidental workout
  • Fly fishing is humbling
  • You won’t break the bank to purchase the fishing gear
  • It is used as a way of meditating

Final Words

Fly fishing is an active fishing style that will allow you to visit many different beautiful types of scenery. This type of fishing will challenge you in so many ways, which could be fun each time you get into the water. It may not be as simple as traditional fishing, but it is worth a try.


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