The 60-year old man used to fly fish every now and then in Skunk Creek in northwestern Nebraska. He did not go fly fishing as much as he went traditional fishing, but he enjoyed the different fishing technique three or four times a year. No one ever saw him tie his own flies, but he meticulously kept the fly fishing rods and reels he did have the same way he did everything else in his life. Organized. Clean.
The 12-year old Boy Scout had been on a merit badge earning mission. It was a big goal, but he wanted to challenge himself to earn every single badge. The Fishing Merit Badge, however, stopped the goal in its tracks. While he had been willing to quickly move through the other badges that he had encountered, the fishing badge introduced him to a new skill that he could not get enough of.
The Sport Involving Fly Fishing Rods and Reels Provides Solitude
Whether you are a 13-year old girl, a 60-year old grandfather, or a 23-year old third grade teacher, solitude and attention to detail can create breathing space. Space for thoughts. Space for nature. And space for even more solitude.
Like many other outdoor hunting and fishing activities, remaining quiet increases the chance for success. The theory behind the sport using fly fishing rods and reels is that the “bait” is finely crafted flies that resemble actual insects the fish might eat. Understanding some of the basic terminology will help people of any age enjoy this sport that is hundreds of years old:
- Fly Reel.
In fly fishing this is what holds the fishing line. These reels are available in three different types: single action, multiplier, and automatic.
- Dry Fly.
This type of fly fishing bait is made from materials that do not absorb water so that it can float and be drug along the surface of the water in an attempt to look like the adult stage of insects that live in the water.
If you think of the iconic image that is associated with fly fishing you are likely envisioning the backcast. It is the part of any cast that takes place behind the person doing the casting. This can also be the false casting that some people use to practice the motion.
Part of the reason that fly fishing is thought of as such a peaceful and calm sport is that it is most successful in sections of stream water that sit calmly on the edge of a current. Less disturbed water acts as a holding place for fish while they wait for insects to appear.
- Fly Rod.
Long. The biggest difference between a fly rod and a traditional fishing rod is length. Ranging between seven and nine feet, these rods are most often constructed of bamboo, fiberglass, or graphite. Fly rod reels attach at the bottom, meaning the rod handle is always above the reel.
Serving a similar purpose to a bobber, this object placed at the end of the fly line ?indicates? when the fish takes the fly. Even more importantly, because it floats above the water and is so light it can actually indicate when a fish comes by and provide directional guides for the next cast.
- Wet Fly.
This type of fly fishing “bait” remains below the surface of the water. Some examples are streamers and nymphs. In their assemblage, these are traditionally tied with a soft, swept back hackle. They often include a backward sweeping wing.
- “S” Cast.
Along with the specific look of the fly fishing rods and reels, this cast more than anything serves as a major indicator of the sport. This cast is used to put a deliberate but controlled slack into a line. Its intent is to get a drag free float when using a mending line.
- Popping Bug.
Unlike other fishing enthusiasts who simply use the term “bait” to refer to what they fish with, fly fishing enthusiasts have specific names for every type of fly that they used. Named for its appearance or in reference to what it is made from, a bass Popping Bug is crafted from a hard material. Balsa wood or cork making these high floating flies that can be designed into a number of shapes.