What is Fly Fishing?
Fly fishing is the act of fishing with an artificial fly typically made of hair, feathers, synthetic fibers, or other natural and manufactured materials. Don't let the word "fly" mislead you, as it's a general term for any artificial fly you fish with. A fly can be a colorful attractor that doesn't closely resemble anything natural, or it may imitate various forms of fish forage such as insects, fish eggs, mice, leeches, and large baitfish, to name a few!
Fly rods vary in ratings and sizes but are commonly nine feet long. This length offers the angler an ideal blend of casting efficiency and line control. In conventional fishing, the offering at the end of your line provides the necessary weight to cast with, but in fly fishing, the line itself is weighted and is what you actually cast. The fly is merely along for the ride as the heavy fly line carries it out to the intended destination. While the rod casts this line, the fly reel plays no part in casting or retrieving the fly. The reel is mainly used to store the excess fly line, but it's also vital for fighting some of the more substantial fish you may encounter. All fly movements are imparted by hand in what's commonly referred to as "stripping" the line.
Contrary to what some folks think, fly fishing is much more than just chasing trout in a river. Although trout are probably the most popular species pursued with fly tackle, there are many other fish to chase after. In fact, most species that can be caught with conventional tackle can also be targeted with fly gear. From farm pond bluegill to marlin on the Pacific Ocean, fly fishing works for just about everything. Depending on the species and conditions, fly fishing can actually be the most effective way to catch fish, while other times, it offers more of a challenge!