What Is Fly Fishing And What Is Involved

What is Fly Fishing?

What is fly fishing and what is involved? Fly fishing is a technique for fishing where the bait is presented on the top of the water for fishing? The technique is designed to appear to the fish as if a bug or invertebrate has landed on the surface or slightly below the water’s surface.

Some fly fishing is done below the water surface, like in lakes or reservoirs. There are lots of people who use boats, float tubes, and other inflatable devices.

Fly fishing is indifferent to traditional fishing methods. Traditional fishing is where the bait or spinner is cast out, and presented to the fish below the water. When you are comparing fly fishing to the more traditional bait fishing it is best to understand the basic concepts and techniques involved with fly fishing.

Now that we understand what fly fishing is, let’s dive a little deeper into the actual mechanics.

Because fly fishing is a real art, this is part of what makes it so much fun. Not only are you outdoors, in some beautiful places, but you also have to focus on your technique. Then adjust it based on the type of fish you are trying to catch, and the location you are in. Sometimes even different gear is required as well.

Let’s take a look at fly fishing set-up first.

With traditional fishing, the reel has some, very thin and lightweight fishing line. At the end of the line, there is a hook, and some weights known as sinkers, and maybe a bobber or float. The bait on the hook and the attached weights allow you to make casts that get some good distance. If you use the float then it holds the bait at a particular depth in the water. If everything goes well, the fish smells or sees the bait, bites it, gets caught on the hook and you have dinner.

Fly fishing works totally differently. When you fly fishing, you are casting a lightweight “fly” out on the top of the water. Or maybe you are fishing just below the surface of the water or to different depths. The fly has very little weight itself, and the presentation of the fly onto the water has to be very delicate to avoid scaring the fish. To compensate for the lack of weight on the fly, different combinations of casting techniques are used.

Fly Fishing Line:

With traditional fishing the weights and bait help you get a good cast, not so in fly fishing. The fly line itself provides the weight to cast the fly on the water.

The fly line is designed to have and provide the weight needed to make longer casts. The leader and the tippet are the key parts of presenting the fly. You have to present them in a “stealthy” way so the fish don’t see them. The main difference between traditional fishing and fly fishing is where the weight comes from. In fly fishing, the weight comes completely from the fly line itself.

Fly Fishing Rods:

The fly fishing rod and reel is also very different from traditional fishing poles. Most of the fly Rods are very flexible and often made of graphite. They are usually quite a bit longer than your normal fishing poles. The average fly rod is usually between 8 to 9 feet in length. They are designed to bend or load when you’re casting for extra distance and the best fly presentation.

Fly Reels:

The Fly Reel is also very different, fly fishing reels are open. Traditional fishing poles often have a closed reel. The main hand position on the fly rod is in front of the reel. This is in contrast to traditional fishing poles where the main handhold is behind the reel.


Casting technique is another huge difference between traditional fishing and fly fishing. In traditional fishing, you basically push a button and then throw the rod back and then out. Fly fishing is a bit more complicated, and much more of an art and a skill.

There are many different casting strategies.  All, of them, involve letting out about a rod to a rod and half’s amount of fly line, then whipping the fly rod back behind you, and then back out. This is known as a false cast you do this several times on each cast to dry your fly out so it will float. The manner in which you do this will determine the casting type, and there are many different variations and techniques.

Roll Cast:

The roll cast is an efficient and effective cast and one you should absolutely know. This is especially true if you are planning on fishing creeks or streams.

Switch Cast:

The switch cast is an energized roll cast.

Unlike the roll cast, the switch cast never stops and is under constant tension. This has the greatest advantage of storing more energy in a larger D or V Loop beside and behind the caster.

Wiggle Cast:

The wiggle cast is easy to do the wiggle cast is performed by wiggling the rod just after the forward cast power stroke. Keep slight tension on the line. The rod wiggling is done in the horizontal plane. When properly performed, the fly is sent on target with the leader and line lying down in a snake-like pattern.

Reach Casts:

The reach cast involves casting the fly over the flowing water, such as a stream. Then just before the fly lands, move the arm and fly rod in the upstream direction to arrange the fishing line so that it produces less drag in the water.

Tuck Casts:

The tuck cast also known as the tuck mend is great for casting heavy flies. These casts are good when you’re using heavily weighted nymphs or even streamers to quickly get down into the water column. If you’re fishing with some weight the last thing you want is a tight line on the delivery. The tight line will simply reduce the ability of the nymph to sink.

Curve Cast:

The curve cast allows the caster to place the line and leader on the water with an upstream curve. This will not only help to prevent drag but also ensures that the fly precedes the leader. So this will be the first thing the fish will see on the downstream float.

Casting Into the Wind:

Here are two ways to beat the wind. You need to increase your line speed, or keep your line low, and closer to the water.

The bottom line on casting is it is the core of fly fishing. You are trying to place your fly on the top of the water. So that the fish thinks that the fly is a real bug landing on the water. If it is done correctly, the fish will not notice the fly line, leader or tippet, only the fly itself.

The Flies:

In fly fishing, the fly is the bait. There are probably thousands of different fly designs, but they are generally broken out into three different types: Dry flies, Nymphs, and Streamers.

Dry flies are the most common and are designed to be presented on top of the water. They try to mimic a fly or bug landing on the surface of the water.

Nymphs are intended to be fished below the surface of the water and mimic water invertebrates.

Streamers are intended to mimic the smaller fish or aquatic life, like leeches.

The best type of “fly” to use is based on water conditions. It can also depend on the location and type of fish you are trying to catch. Your local fishing store is generally the best place to get information on the best flies to use.

The Experience:

Finally, fly fishing is also about the experience and enjoying the great outdoors. With traditional fishing, you sometimes sit on a bank or in a boat and wait for the fish to bite.

While with fly fishing, you’re often standing in the middle of a rushing creek or stream. You are casting over and over trying to find where the fish are hiding. The hard part is trying to cast the fly in the same spot, in an exact way so the fish will come up and take it.

Fly fishing is an active style of fishing, that involves some of the most beautiful scenic locations on Earth. Fly fishing puts you right in the middle and challenges you against the fish.

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