What Is Fly Fishing? 3 Facts About The Sport And How To Get Involved

Man in the rier side is doing some fly fishing

Nothing beats whiling away a Sunday afternoon than casting out with a buddy and waiting for that elusive bite. Until they ask, “What is fly fishing?”

You may have mastered regular old fishing, yet this sounds new and exciting. So, what is fly fishing, and how do you get started?

What Is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is a technique of catching fish where the light-weight fly imitates an insect. The fly, or bait, sits on the top or just beneath the water to lure in the fish.

Fly fishing contrasts with traditional fishing methods where you cast out the bait and keep it submerged hoping to get a bite. Fly fishing is a delicate art as flies vary with every fish and you have to place the fly on the water’s surface without scaring the catch away.

And fly fisherman must have a good understanding of the river, a fish’s feeding patterns, and understand which flies to use at different parts of the day.

What Equipment Do You Need?

In traditional fishing, you attach the bait, the most substantial part, to the end of your line and cast. In fly fishing, you’ll notice the artificial fly is light, so you need different gear and casting techniques. The gear you need includes:

Fly rod and line


Man is using the fishing rod for fly fishing

Photo by JanFillem on Unsplash

Fly reels have three jobs: they hold the fly line, balance a fly rod, and let the angler wrestle with the fish. The rod and reel work in harmony to present the fly to the fish, so it bites.

Like lines, reels depend on what type of fish you hope to catch and whether it can hold your fly line and backing.

Also, the loaded reel should be balanced with the rod when you grip the handle. For example, if you have a nine-weight reel, you should pair it with a nine-weight rod (a nine-weight reel, you should pair it with a nine-weight rod.)

Fishing On The Fly has a fly fishing reel that comes in several weights depending on which fish you want. So choose a seven or eight-weight if you hope to catch a larger fish like a salmon or pike.

Backing, leader, and tippet

Waders and wading boots

How Do I Get Started With Fly Fishing?

Man at the river side is doing some fly fishing

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

There are many ways to test the waters and find the answer to “What is fly fishing?” You can:

Take a class

Get your equipment

Research where to fly fish

Do The Different Types Of Flies Make A Difference?

Man holding a fishing rod and net while standing at the river side

Flies used to comprise of natural materials like feathers, thread, and animal fur. Nowadays, we use a range of synthetic and natural materials on the same fly.

Flies fall into five categories: dry flies, wet flies, streamers, poppers, and saltwater flies. What is fly fishing? Nothing without these bad boys.

Dry flies

Wet flies



Salwater Flies

3 Facts About Fly Fishing

Learning about fly fishing gives you a grasp on its history, fundamental techniques, and enables you to answer “What is fly fishing?”.

1. There are five essential knots

person's hand is holding a fishing knots

Photo by Josh Frenette on Unsplash

These are the knots you'll need in fly fishing:

Nail knot

Double surgeon's knot

The clinch

Duncan Loop or the Uni-Knot

Blood knot

2. Rods are made from many materials

fly fishing rod

Photo by Alan Bishop on Unsplash

As fly fishing developed, so did the rods. If you’re wondering “What is fly fishing?” and the materials used for rods, these are the most popular types:




3. Fly lines were originally made of woven horsehair

2 men at the shore is doing some fly fishing at the ocean

Photo by Ali Hegazy on Unsplash

So what is fly fishing and when did it begin?

Pinpointing the exact origins of fly fishing is tricky because there are conflicting accounts. One source claims that fly fishing dates back to the second century by Roman, Claudius Aelianus.

But it wasn't until the 15th century that the upper classes in England recorded the first in-depth account of fly fishing. In the 1700s, anglers used braided horsehair as a line and even combined it with silk, making it the first fly fishing line reference.

Fast-forward to the 1950s and manufacturers used PVC, as it was cheaper and produced a far better and consistent product.

What Is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is an art that requires patience, practice, and perseverance. It’s great if you're a die-hard angler looking for another venture as fly fishing requires unique tactics to lure fish. Fly fishing will also broaden your knowledge of fish, their habits, and how to read different bodies of water.

Do you have any tips on how to get into fly fishing? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


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