Published by Martin on May 14, 2015

Fly Fishing Basics

Flyfishing Basics


What Really are the fly fishing basics you need to catch fish?

The topic of fly fishing basics is actually a very interesting subject and has been written about by many authors with probably more points of view than authors writing on the topic. If you believe some of the purists and aficionados of fly fishing you will walk away with a list as long as your arm that would be titled fly fishing basics. So I thought I would just sit down and ask a simple question, “What do you really need to fly fish”?

After much thought and revisions to my original ideas it struck me, there are really only a few things you absolutely must have to catch fish with flies.

1. You need water.
This is so obvious most people never even mention this most basic of needs but for the sake of thorough information I thought I would just mention it.

2. You need fish.
Again this is pretty obvious that it usually goes without mention but it is as if not more important than water. After all you can fish all day in a bathtub full of water and not catch a single fish so fish is a very important part of Fly fishing.

3. You need flies.
It is pretty hard to fly fish without having any flies with which to fish. Again we are really talking about such obvious things that most writers take them as a given but these are the absolute requirements and are very basic to the sport of fly fishing.

4. You need a way to get the flies to the fish and get the fish back to you.
Again something most fly fishers take for granted and at the same time a subject of many lengthy written works talking about the best this and the best that to do this basic function.

Well that’s about it as far as the things you absolutely must have in order to catch fish by fly fishing. Now if I leave the article here I would have told you everything you need to fly fish and given you no real useful information all at the same time. The real art of fly fishing is taking these 4 basic ingredients and turning them into something useful. So lets get to the useful parts shall we?

The water, in all honesty any water that has fish in it you can most likely catch them with a fly of one sort or another. I have a fish tank at home and I will often times catch bugs outside and bring them in and feed my fish in the tank. I am sure if I were to try I could tie one of my flies on the end of a line and drop it into my fish tank and catch one of those fish. Not that I would ever do such a thing but the point is if you can get a fly that resembles something the fish are eating in front of the fish you stand a very good chance of catching that fish.

We are going to pass up number 2 as I believe I have said all I need to say on that. Its pretty obvious you cant catch fish without fish so we will move on to number 3.

Flies, its pretty hard to fly fish without them. Fly fishing without flies is just fishing and that’s not really what we are talking about here. If you want to talk about just fishing that’s two doors down and on the left I think. In all honesty this subject is so talked about by the fly fishing community and in such depth it can many times be difficult to understand.

In an effort to simplify the subject let me just say, Flies are simply bits of feather and fuzz tied around a hook in an attempt to look like an insect a fish would like to eat. Most fish in my experience especially if they are hungry will eat almost any kind of insect that is unlucky enough to fall in the water near them. Most fish are not nearly as picky as most fly fishers like to think or talk about. In my opinion many writers on this subject try and make it seem much more complicated as it is more interesting to write about difficult and complicated matters because it makes the writer feel better about their experience in the subject.

Having said all that the simplest explanation I can think of when it comes to choosing a fly to fish with is this. Just look and see what bugs, I mean insects, the fish are eating and throw a fly that looks like it into the water in front of the fish and you have a good chance of catching that fish. No matter what all the fly fishing purists say, fish really aren’t that smart and you really don’t have to be a genius to outsmart them into biting a fly you put in front of them. Again I think a little exaggeration is used to make us fly fishers feel better about our fishing skills is being used when this topic is discussed and written about.

Finally you need a way to get the fly to the fish and the fish back to you. This really does not have to be that complicated. I mean seriously people have been doing this kind of fishing for hundreds if not thousands of years and most of that time has been without spending thousands of dollars of complicated equipment. Many times all you need to do is get a long stick tie a string to the end of the stick and tie a fly to the end of the string and then gently lower the fly into the water over the fish and pull the fish in when it bites the fly.

That really is all you have to do, there are even special fly rods that have no line guides or reel seats that are designed to do just this. Of course they cost quite a bit of money because they are so specialized and made of the latest high tech material but when you get right down to it they are just a long high tech stick you tie a line to and a fly to the line then drop the fly in the water.

Seriously though, you can fish with flies with almost any kind of fishing equipment around and catch fish doing so. I have used flies while deep sea fishing with heavy rods and reels and heavy braided Dacron line and I have used my ultra light pan fishing spin cast equipment with a fly and a bobber to catch fish. Now having said all that there really is something to standing beside or even in a quiet river or stream and using an honest to goodness fly rod and reel. Watching the line play out and seeing the fly gently floating to the water is a wonderful and peaceful experience and I would recommend everyone try it at least 100 or 200 times just for the experience of it.

But in all honesty fly fishing does not have to be complicated, it does not have to be difficult and it does not have to be exclusive to the kind of fisher that looks down on the rest of us who might like to use a spinning reel from time to time. If you like to go fishing then it might be a good idea to buy a few flies and put them in your tackle box and give it a go sometime. Who knows you might even catch a fish or two and have some fun doing so.