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Fly Fishing 101

By Christine Beals

Fly fishing is an ancient angling method in which artificial flies are tied onto a hook to imitate naturally occurring food.

Fly Fishing at Sunset

These artificial flies are made out of materials such as fur and feather. Rods are generally light while the lines are heavy in weight, providing the proper weight and momentum for casting. Because of the ease of learning, fly fishing has become an enjoyable past time for many people of all ages.

Fly fishing is most renowned as a method for catching salmon and trout, but is also known for catching pike, panfish, bass and carp as well. Fly fishing can also be used to catch marine species such as: snook, bonefish, striped bass and redfish.

There are also reports of fly fisherman unexpectantly catching species such as bream, rudd and chub while intending to catch trout. For the fisherman who is hoping to catch a variety of tasty species, fly fishing may be the best method.

If you are new to the sport of fly fishing, you may want to study up on the best ways to enjoy this exciting activity. Luckily there are many websites, television shows, and books all geared to help obtain helpful fly fishing tips. Of course one of the easiest ways to gather information is to find a fly fishing partner who has some season fly fishing experience.

Many find having a mentor to be helpful as well. It's extremely helpful to tag along on a fishing trip with an experienced fly fisherman. This way it is easy to notice and absorb some of the methods they employ on a regular basis. Unfortunatley this is not an option for everyone so again, check your local video stores or world wide web for more information.

When starting your fly fishing event experts agree you must first determine the environment you will be fishing in. This is important to do even before you begin to gather your equipment. Some people prefer salt water fly fishing over the other options, such as fresh water.

There are a plethora of places all over the United States where you can go fly fishing in streams and rivers, which are freshwater flowing environments. There is also the option of fly fishing in ponds and lakes, which still provide flowing water movements and environments.

The next thing to think about before setting out on your fly fishing extravaganza is the proper equipment that will be needed for success. Without the proper equipment you will be unable to properly cast those flies. The proper equipment consists of four parts: a fly fishing pole, line, reel, and of course - the fly. Experts also agree it is important to pack extra supplies because often times a fisherman will break one or more of the components needed to fly fish.

The next hurdle to cross is casting. Casting methods often vary and change depending on the environment in which you are fishing. For instance, saltwater fly fishing often forces the angler to cast further than in freshwater by sheer necessity alone. Another example is fishing in an ocean environment. In order to put your line way beyond the shadow of the space you are occupying you need to cast your line very far away. In a case like this, longer casts will be needed.

Saltwater fly fishing rods are generally longer than their freshwater brothers. Shorter casts are in turn made with shorter rods. These rods are useful for fishing in freshwater bodies of water such as: streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.

The type of cast used when fishing varies according to the conditions you are fishing in. The most common cast is the forward cast, where the angler whisks the fly into the air, back over the shoulder until the line is nearly straight, then forward, using primarily the forearm. The objective of this motion is to "load" the rod tip with stored energy, then transmit that energy to the line, resulting in the fly line being cast for an appreciable distance.

Casting without landing the fly on the water is known as 'false casting', and may be used to pay out line, to dry a soaked fly, or to reposition a cast. Other casts are the roll cast, the single- or double-haul, the tuck cast, and the side- or curve-cast.

Dropping the fly onto the water and its subsequent movement on or beneath the surface is one of fly fishing's most difficult aspects according to experts. In short, the angler is attempting to cast in such a delicate way that the line lands smoothly on the water and the fly appears as natural as possible - a difficult task for many.

At a certain point, if a fish does not strike, depending upon the action of the fly in the wind or current, the angler picks up the line to make another presentation - all the while keeping trying to keep their moves very delicate. When fly fishing it is extremely important to remember patience and fluid line movement.

On the other hand of being patient is getting that so desired catch. If a fish strikes, the angler pulls in their fly fishing line while raising the rod tip. This "sets" the hook in the tasty fishs mouth.

The fish is played either by hand, where the angler continues to hold the fly line in one hand to control the tension applied to the fish, or by reeling up the slack in the line and then using the hand to act as a controlling drag on the reel. Some fly reels have an adjustable, mechanical drag system to control line tension during a fishs run which comes in very handy to inexperienced and seasoned fly fisherman.

Of course, no amount of reading online can really teach you what you need to know for a fly fishing extravaganza. In fact many experts agree that nothing can replace professional, qualified instruction. Since this method is often pricy many feel they benefit from chartered fishing trips geared toward beginners or by learning from example of seasoned fly fisherman.

Luckily many agree that if you find an experienced fly fisherman, more than likely they'll love to take you under their wing - or fishing pole in this case.

Christine Beals is a professional writer who provides fly fishing tips for Fly Fishing Dish - a blog from the Go! Blog Network.

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