Introduction to fly fishing
For hundreds if not thousands of years , anglers have been trying to imitate insects with their own creations made of fur, feather or hair. The idea is to convince trout , grayling and salmon, commonly known as game fish that the imitation is the real living insect.
Flies are obviously very light, so to cast them any distance from the bank you need weight.the weight is in the fly line itself and a very flexible rod is capable of throwing this line many yards.Some of the flies float - these are the dry flies. Others sink ,these are wet flies . Similary , some fly line are designed to float and others to sink. if you want to get down deep to fish lying near the bottom , you can use a sinking line , but if you are using a dry fly, then you'll use a floating line.
Don't be too afraid of the exorbitant price tags you might see on some rods, reels and lines in the tackle shop or catalogue.Theres an enormous variety of tackle available in the fly fishing world but believe me , you really can buy something at the bottom end of the market that is cheap but reliable and will serve you very well for many years.
Fly fishing is regarded by its devotees as the pinnacle of all angling skills and disciplines. It certainly requires more than a measure of skill when it comes to casting, for the only weight is that of the line itself.
The art comes in persuading the quarry, usually a trout or salmon but increasingly sea fish, to take an artificial fly created from fur, feather and tinsel to represent their natural food. The resultant battle is invariably breathtaking as the angler fights a fish that will run hard and jump high in its efforts to escape. With no gearing in the fly reel to give the angler the technical advantage, the fight is directly between angler and fish.
The philosophy and esoteric delights of fly fishing reach back down the centuries .the method was first described by Claudius aelianus in the third century AD when he wrote of fishermen in Macedonia winding red wool around their hooks and fastening on ‘two feathers that grow under a cocks wattles and which are the colour of dark wax.’
In 1496 dame Berners, the abbess of sopwell priory near st Albans in Hertfordshire, wrote about using artificial flies on her local river ver 150 years before izaak Walton described trout fishing on the nearby river lea in The Complete Angler .Walton’s later friendship with Charles cotton and their experiences on the river Dove produced a new chapter in a later edition entitled ‘instructions how to angle for trout or grayling in a clear stream.’ Modern fly fishing was born.
The purist of chalkstream dry fly fishing was started in the late nineteenth century by the great angling writer FM Halford, to be challenged this century by such luminaries as G.E.M Skues and later frank sawyer.skues reasoned that all trout take more of their food from below the surface than from the top.so the deadly art of upstream nymph fishing was born.
River keeper frank sawyer built on skues ‘ pioneering work by developing more general patterns like the world famous pheasant tail nymph and technique known as the ,induced take.
Modern fly fishing
In the more modern times, English angling writers such as john Goddard, Brian Clarke and Richard walker have studied the river trout and how it feeds in even greater detail to give us even more deadly methods and flies.
On the stillwater side, the flies and methods remained the same as for rivers until the 1960s, when the opening of large reservoirs in the south of England made trout fishing available to all. This fast growing branch of fly fishing produced its own gurus…..anglers like bob church, Arthur cove and john wadham whose fly patterns and methods are still used today.
But the fly fishing revolution was not over, as more and more small lakes, ponds and gravel pits were netted to remove coarse fish and the stocked with trout. Even today, there are more small trout fisheries than ever before. And alongside this growth came a wealth of dazzling flies and parallel technical developments in tackle and techniques.
Fly fishing appeals to all ages and sexes. Even retired couples who have never before held a rod are flocking to take up the sport.
Besides the physical challenge of casting a fly ,there is the artistic challenge of first tying it.in addition ,trout fisheries by their very nature are usually scenic places , while the sport is generally more sociable than either coarse fishing or sea angling. And there is always the attraction of taking home the catch.
Dame Juliana would not recognize the sport today. But she certainly would have approved