What's so special about fly fishing, you ask? Well, technically nothing. It's just another fishing technique. Simply put it's a method of fishing designed to propel a lure that is so small and light that it can't propel itself. When spin fishing or casting, the lure or bait is weighted enough to pull the line off of the reel. In the case of a fishing fly, it's not heavy enough to do the same. Enter the fly line. BUT, I'm getting ahead of myself.
So, you want to catch fish? Well, since they don't just jump into your creel spontaneously you have to figure out a way to lure them to you, right? I know you know where I'm going with this but I'm trying to put a simple spin on something that has often become too complicated. A fly, simply put, is just another lure. Now, I know my friend Gaddabout is getting all worked up over that statement but he knows it just as well as I ;). To lure a fish to your line you have to match your lure to the fish's food source. In the case of stream or river trout fishing, that is quite often a bug of some sort in it's various stage of development. A lure of such proportions is way to small to pull line off of your spinning reel, so you have to find a way to get it out to the fish. Also, sometimes that bug is floating on or near the surface of the water. Placing a weight on the line near the fly will naturally cause it to sink and won't look...natural. a couple of centuries ago, some genius came up with the idea of braiding some fishing lines together to create enough mass in the line itself to propel the fly out to the fish. And so, the fly line and fly fishing was born.
The modern fly line is more than just thick plastic. It is heavy enough to cast, yet in many cases will float on the surface of the water easily. It's typically tapered in it's thickness to allow for a smooth blend of power and finesse that allows the fly to land on the water naturally. Without getting too technical and side tracked into all the variables, allow me to attempt to simplify the theory of fly casting. Have you ever cracked a whip? Or, maybe, snapped your buddy with a rolled up, wet towel after swimming at the beach? Did you notice that the whip or the towel rolled out in a really tight loop as you snapped them with your wrist? The reason why the whip or the towel acted that way is that they were tapered - thick to thin. As you cracked the whip, you were holding on to the thickest part and started it moving with a flick of your wrist. As this movement started, the thicker part transferred its power to the thinner part in a smooth chain reaction of sorts. Now, if you had a flat piece of rope instead of the tapered whip, the loop you made with the wrist action would have just lost its inertia before it got to it's end and died out. BUT, in the case of the whip or towel and due to their taper, thicker and heavier is always pushing the thinner and lighter. this causes the power to continue to the tip, and in the case of a whip or rolled towel causes the tip to snap. This is exactly the process that happens in fly casting. The fly line is tapered to the leader, which is also tapered down to the fly. When you cast the fly rod, this tapered design allows the fly line and leader to roll out smoothly in front of you, sending the fly in the direction you casted it.
Now, I'm trying to keep my posts a little easier to get through, so I will stop here. Next, I'll get into the fly rod outfit and the line/leader/tippet relationship. Also, I'm on vacation for the next few weeks and have some fishing planned so stay tuned!! I hope to get down to the Catskills at least once in May. I also plan to fish locally both to some trout streams and on Oneida Lake with my wife. Bob and I have a trip to some new spots on Fish Creek in a few weeks. And, as soon as the water levels get a little friendlier, I NEED to get to The West Canada Creek. It's a disease, I know...