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Bug wafting - is that what you believe fly fishing is? The three distinct disciplines, fly fishing coarse fishing and sea fishing couldn’t be more different.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015  |  Simon

Bug wafting - is that what you believe fly fishing is? Certainly the other camps ‘the worm danglers’ also known as coarse fishermen and 'dead fish floggers' or sea fishermen consider it so! The three distinct disciplines, fly fishing coarse fishing and sea fishing couldn’t be more different. So this article exists to defend the ancient art of fly fishing and to explain its whole raison d’etre to those amongst you who might be wondering what it is all really about.  This article is aimed at the non-fly fisher person so be aware that it is meant to be basic to explain the very essence of this sport. Apologies to the experienced fly angler out there but I hope you will understand that we are out to spread the word about this wonderful sport and hopefully invite others to join us.

Fly fishing is an ancient method of catching fish and uses flies to do so. Well, we say flies but we could actually use terrestrial or aquatic insects, baitfish or prey as well as umpteen different flies. We aim to replicate nature which is a massive undertaking in its own right. Through the year, season, week, day or hour, there will be different flies or bugs that the fish want to eat.  Get the fly wrong and the fish will literally turn their nose up at it. Get it right and you’re on the money!  So we have to do what is known as ‘match the hatch’! This means, study the nature, see what bugs, insects & flies are hatching at that time and do your best to get your fly to be the same. This is the hard bit and a lot of fly fishermen are actually entomologists or wannabee entomologists, however the key is simply to observe nature, not be an expert in nature!. But for those of us who are starting out, there is lots of help out there.  An added benefit of fly fishing is that other anglers are nice people who want to help and share their knowledge with beginners - so if in doubt ask.

The flies are not real flies, they are artificial but made to look really real. You can either make your own or buy them from a fly fishing shop. They are made from all sorts of materials - fur like fox, rabbit, hare, deer or elk, feathers like cdc or cul de canard, synthetics or natural materials like wools. They are tied, by hand, to different sizes onto a hook. They can be made to float or sink, again, to match what that creature would normally be doing in nature.

Your fly has to be tied, using a good knot (and thats a massive subject in its own right) to your line and cast out.  The aim is to land your fly on the water as though it was a real fly just resting - not being dumped courtesy of a bad cast. This is the real art and people study casting for years to get it right. Its recognised that to get it right and avoid bad habits, it is a good idea to have casting lessons.  But like any new sport, you have to train and practice practice practice.  It is possible to see people practicing their fly casting on a football field (after the match has finished of course!) just trying to get the line out and perfect the many different types of casts for the different scenarios you might find yourself in. Fly fishing typically happens on fresh water (that means river or lake) or salt water (that means the sea or sea loch etc). Thanks to that it means fly fishing takes place in beautiful, natural places.

Typically fly fishing was always known for catching trout or salmon. Today a lot of people fly fish for  pike, bass, panfish, grayling and carp as well as marine species such as redfish, snook, tarpon, bonefish and striped bass. So what do you think? Fancy learning more? This article may be the most basic of its kind, but hey maybe it has wet your appetite a little? There are great fly fishing shops and clubs all over the country, why not give them a ring and meet up with some local anglers and learn a bit more?  Don’t be timid, everyone has to start somewhere! Wishing you hours of happiness and many tight lines!

 
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