In this installment of FlyFishing 101, we discuss what’s different about Fly-Fishing compared to other forms of angling.
Fly-Fishing is different in 2 major ways:
1) The lure is not actually fish food (as opposed to ‘bait’ fishing like with worms or powerbait or salmon eggs). It just *looks* like fish food. If you see a sign saying “Artificial flies and lures only”, they are talking about fly-fishing as opposed to bait fishing.
2) The lure is delivered using a heavy weighted fly line that is pulled and pushed through the air, and then ‘floated’ down onto the target. This allows for very precise ‘dry fly’ fishing. You can drop a fly on *top* of the water, and precisely guide it down a moving stream. You can also ‘nymph’, which is guiding a fly *under* water with the rod.
Other than any sort of snobbishness around fly-fishing being more challenging, more of a ‘sport’, the main advantage of fly-fishing comes when fishing fast-moving, small water. You can fly-fish in any water, but it excels where precise guiding of a visible, or semi-visible lure is required.
A big lazy river or a lake or bog can be fished with a spinning rig, because you are just trying to get the bait out to where the fish are cruising around, and hope that they swim past it. If you are using bait, the smell of it might draw the fish in.
On fast water however, the fish hide behind rocks, and wait for the flow of the river to bring food to them. They rarely go cruising around. So, unless you can place your lure to go past them in the same way that the river would bring it to them, they won’t ever see it.
Enter the fly rig. It can very precisely drop a lure in a pinpoint spot on the water, and then guide that lure along the water to mimic an insect being carried along with the current. The bulk of the line is heavy, and brightly colored so as to be easy for you to see. The end of the line is tapered monofilament, which is hard for the fish to see. The reel is simply there as storage for the line…unlike a spinning rig, the reel has little to do with delivering the lure to the fish, and often little to do with reeling it in (though it keeps you from getting tangled in the line).
A fly rig is much more like a coach whip than anything else…a stick with a whip on the end. Learning to control the whip portion with precision, as opposed to snapping your fly off and sending it sailing into the trees is what fly-fishing is all about.
Needless to say, this is all a lot more challenging than trolling along dragging something that stinks of food. It’s even more challenging than dropping a bass popper on top of a lake and twitching it around. So why do it? Well, see last weeks post for that….