What is Fly Fishing?

  • By: fishlovers
  • Date: July 15, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Fly fishing is a unique method of fishing technique which involves using a lightweight bait or lure such as a fly or smaller baits which help reduce the overall weight of the cast so that it can be propelled a longer distance.

If you are a newbie to the fishing hubby or if you been a custom to traditional fishing methods using Spinner,Plug or baited hook and want to try out a lighter bait alternative to these traditional baits and clueless where to begin, this article would help you with just that. In this article we would like to cover the basics of fly fishing to give you a rough idea about what fly fishing is and how to go about that.

Traditional fishing method

In traditional fishing method the line is typically a lightweight monofilament wire to which a weighted lure or bait is attached to the end of the hook. In this set up, the bait is the heavier component and the line is the lighter part. The bait or lure is what carries the line across the water and makes it go deep into the water body. The heavy end of the line which is the bait doesn’t allow the line to be casted a longer distance.

Difference between Traditional fishing and fly fishing methods

Fly fishing differs from most fishing in the way that the the fly – the lure or the “bait” – is very lightweight . The main difference is the weight of the bait differs and fly fishing has specialized equipment which significantly weighs less than  the traditional casts and rods and help with being propelled a longer distance.

In traditional method, the bait is the heavier component ans the line is the lighter one, but in fly fishing, the line is the heavier component and bait is the lighter part. Even the heaviest fly fishing bait is lighter that the regular baits.

Fly fishing baits use fly shaped baits which resemble a number of small insects, they can represent all kinds of animals and sometimes other kinds of edible items such as plant seeds or even bread.

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Fly fishing involves specialized equipment and casting methods.

Fly fishing equipment

1.Fly rods

Fly rods are designed specifically for this, available in different sizes, brands and models. One needs to get an expert’s opinion to choose their first fly rod.

A good fly rod should typically be: (for freshwater fishing)

9 feet in length and either 4 or 5 weight fly line.

The lighter the rod, the easier it will be to catch the smaller fishes.,  and in smaller streams.  With a lower weight rod, you can make a six-inch trout feel like a twenty-incher! By starting with a four or five

weight nine-foot fly rod, it can be used to fish for anything from small panfish, bass, and trout. It is an all-around weight that can accomplish just about everything you want to. 

These rods can be a single piece or be of 2,3,4 or 5 pieces. The higher the number of pieces the easier it is to fold them up and pack them.

Some recommended Fly rods are

  • Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod
  • Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod
  • Redington Classic Trout Fly Rod
  • Fenwick AETOS Fly Rods
  • Orvis Encounter 5-Weight 9′ Fly Rod Outfit (5wt, 9’0″, 4pc)
  • Fenwick World Class Fly Rod
  • Temple Fork: Professional Series Fly Rod, TF 05 90-4P 2
  • Redington Fly Fishing Rod 590-4 Vice Rod W/Tube

2.Fly reel

Fly reels aren’t of much significance in fly fishing( with regards to freshwater fishing).They are mostly just used to hold the line. But if you’re looking to fish bigger fishes then it is important to have a sturdy fly reel. The basics you’ll need in the fly reel is one that will match the weight of the rod you purchase. By doing this, it will allow for enough room for backing and the fly line itself.

Some recommended fly reels are:

  • Redington ZERO Fly Reel
  • Lamson Liquid Reel – Vapor 2
  • Waterworks-Lamson Remix Fly Reel
  • Orvis Clearwater II Large Arbor Fly Reel
  • Piscifun Sword Fly Reel
  • Ross Evolution LT Fly Fishing Reel
  • Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Reels/Only Clearwater Reel
  • Sage Fly Fishing Spectrum C Fly Reel
  • Pflueger President Fly Reel, 5/6
  • Redington Behemoth 4/5 Fly Reel – O.D Green
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3. Fly line and backing

Fly line is the part which is attached to the reel with hook in the far end to which the bait is attached. In fly fishing it is essential that the fly line is of minimum weight as well. They come in various thickness for floating, sinking, sink-tip, etc… For beginners of fly fishing, the weight forward line is recommended, it has the bulk of its weight in the front, helps with easy casting.  Another type called the Double Taper is also a good fly line for those who have just started learning fly fishing.

The weight of the line corresponds with the weight of the rod and reel. If you purchase a five-weight fly rod, you’ll need a five-weight fly line.

Some of the recommended fly lines are :

  • Scientific Anglers Air Cel Floating Lines
  • Scientific Anglers Frequency Trout Fly Lines
  • Scientific Anglers Mastery Series MPX Taper Fly Line
  • RIO Products Mainstream Trout Fly Line
  • Rio Gold Fly Line
  • Scientific Anglers WF-5-F Frequency Floating Trout
  • Scientific Anglers Air Cel Floating Lines, Yellow, WF
  • RIO Products Fly Line Rio Perception Wf5F Green, Green-Camo-Tan, 5 Weight
  • Orvis Clearwater WF Fly Fishing Line (5wt)

Typical fly lines are about 80-90 feet, when the fish takes up your fly and the entire line is pulled out, backing  provides 200+ yards of additional support line to reel it back in.

Backing is for a layer to go below the fly line.

A good backing choice would be:

  • Scientific Anglers Dacron Fly Line Backing
  • Rio Dacron Fly Line Backing – 20lb
  • Rio Dacron Fly Line Backing – 30lb

4.Leader and Tippet

The leader and tippet is what connects from the end of the fly line to your fly. The leader and tippet are tapered to enable you to cast and have your line straighten out. It acts by transferring the energy through the fly line and down to the fly.

 A 7.5 to 9-foot tapered leader that ends in a 5X tippet is recommended.

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Flies are the most important part from which “fly” fishing gets it’s name. Even though some flies actually are supposed to look like common flies, the far majority looks like other flying insects like mayflies, sedges, beetles and many more. But in spite of the name flies are also made to resemble underwater animals such as larvae and nymphs of different insects, cress bugs and even worms and leeches.

In case of salt water fishing, flies are made to look like those available underwater which salt water fish feed on such as fish, shrimps, crabs, etc.  Sometimes they needn’t resemble anything in particular and could be bright colored, shapes or structures.


Casting of the fly line is done by swinging the slightly thick and heavy line in the air and carrying the fly over the water after which a series of up side down pendulum like motions is performed

by tipping the rod back and forth while fly line follows its tip. The motion is repeated so as to feed out more of the line giving the fly- angler in a forward speed and length to deliver the flight to where the fish is . After the fish is hooked ,the line is not spooled in but instead it is kept taught by pulling the loose line with the other hand which is not holding the rod. Once the fish is under control the angler might opt to get the spare line on the reel and fight the fish using the reel.      

Retrieving the line

When the lure is retrieved to make it swim or to cast again, the line is simply pulled with the hand and left loose in the water or on the ground.

Fly fishing is a fairly easy method of fishing if you get the right equipment and have previous experience and basic knowledge of fishing. Hope this article would give you a small insight as to what to expect from fly fishing.hat

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