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Fly Fishing

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Fly fishing is a popular sport that many fishing enthusiasts tend to fall in love with the more time that they spend fishing. The thrill of catching a fish is an experience like no other because one gets to see his/her catch while it is still alive. The sense of accomplishment that comes with catching a fish is exhilarating. Many skills have to be incorporated while fishing with patience being the most important attribute. One must certainly know and understand how to cast a line in order to successfully catch a fish, as well as knowing the water source that he/she is fishing in. Knowledge of the best fishing spots in a certain body of water is essential to catching fish, and this knowledge is only obtained by experience. Much preparation is involved in the sport of fly fishing, including having the essential supplies such as bait, rod, reel, and fishing line, as well as the proper clothing for the weather conditions. Fly fishing is even more complicated than normal fishing, for instance the rod and reel for fly fishing is completely different than normal fishing poles, and fisherman must use different types of line to create the proper fly fishing line. Fly fishing differs from normal fishing because it is unique and challenging involving techniques on how to: cast the fishing line, create flies to use as bait, and locate the best possible water sources for catching the biggest fish. The key to properly casting a fly fishing line is to have the right timing. Having the right timing creates a smooth cast, which normally results in the fly going exactly where one wants it to go (“Fly Fishing Casting”). Just like in any other sport, to master the cast practice makes perfect. Only experience and diligence results in the best cast possible. Every fisherman must choose their own style of fly fishing. Style mostly includes grip, of which there are three different types (Milne). The three types of grip are: point grip, thumb grip, and golf grip (Milne). The point grip tends to be the easiest grip to master, and it is usually recommended for beginners. It is considered the easiest grip because the index finger is extended, and this creates the feel of having the rod as an extension of one’s finger, which allows the angler to easily direct where the line will go. The thumb grip puts the thumb on the top of the rod instead of the index finger. This grip is generally used for anglers that use a larger rod. Using the thumb grip will create a longer cast and this grip is often used in lakes and flats (Milne). The golf grip is the third most commonly used grip for fly fishing; this grip has the hand wrapped around the rod, and this grip is considered by many as the most comfortable grip to use (Milne). One vital aspect to a successful cast is always keeping one’s wrist completely straight; if one does not use this technique at all times during the cast, then much strain will be put on the wrist, which will result in pain and can lead to an early end to a fishing outing. One must also take care to keep one’s elbow at his/her side; the elbow should stay at the same height at all times during a cast. The rod is the most important piece of equipment used in fly fishing because it is used to cast the flies. A fly fishing rod differs from a normal rod in that it is longer and thinner; this means that the fish inevitably put up more of a fight for the angler. Fly fishing line is generally thicker than normal line to cast the line out farther, but a thinner leader line is used so as to not scare away the fish when the fly lands on the water (Garrison). The casting of a fly is a unique practice that involves a backward cast as well as a forward cast. One must be certain that he/she has ample room not only in front of them but also behind so that the line does not get caught on any objects. It is the repeated motion of this forward and backward movement as well as releasing more of the line during the forward cast that eventually creates the final fly fishing cast. To successfully make a cast, one must constantly keep the line moving back and forth. Not only is the rod important for fly fishing, so is the bait that is used; handmade flies are generally used in fly fishing. Flies can be constructed out of almost any material. Many fly fishing enthusiasts consider tying flies a separate hobby from fly fishing. Creating flies takes considerable time and effort to make, even though they seem simple. Flies may be bought in any fishing or outdoors store, but many experienced anglers use materials that he/she may have bought or found in the wild to tie his/her flies together. One may consider catching a fish with his/her homemade flies much more self-rewarding than if he/she caught a fish using a fly bought from a store. There are generally four different types of flies that can be created: dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, and streamers (Campbell). Dry flies are made to represent adult insects that float on the surface of the water. These are considered the most popular type of fly used because it is exciting to watch the fish take the fly on the surface. Wet flies are used to represent insect pupae that are swimming to the surface of the water to emerge as adults. Many fish eat these pupae because they are easy prey when they are in this stage of life. Nymph flies represent the larva stage of insect life, and insects spend the majority of their lives in this stage. Streamers represent adult minnows, crayfish, and leeches. These types of flies do not float, as they represent animals that swim under the surface of the water (Campbell). There are different types of flies, and there are also different types of hooks used to tie the materials together to construct a completed fly. Hooks used for fly fishing come in all different shapes and sizes, each of which are used for the different types of flies that are made. Each fly shape is different, thus each hook shape is different (Campbell). Making flies is an extremely challenging activity unless one owns a fly vise, which is used to hold the hook in place while one ties the materials to the hook. A vise is considered a mandatory tool used for fly tying; without a vise one will spend a ridiculous amount of time making just one fly. Fly vises also have many different features including: rotary function, different bases, and different jaw sizes (Campbell). Many other tools are used for fly tying such as bobbins, scissors, hackle pliers, bodkins, hackle guards, hair stackers, bullet head tools, and whip finishers. All of these tools can be used to make flies but some are not completely necessary. The most important knot used during fly tying is the whip finish knot, which is used to finish off the fly and hold all of the materials together. Once the flies are made and one is able to successfully make accurate casts, the only task is to decide which areas of water are best for each fisherman, and also which locations are optimal for fly fishing. Some of the most beautiful and best fly fishing experiences take place in Montana and Florida. Some of the prime locations in Montana include Gallatin River, Armstrong’s Spring Creek, and Glacier National park. The Gallatin River in Montana runs through Yellowstone National Park, which offers much of its optimal fly fishing locations. The Gallatin first emerges from Gallatin Lake, and is then joined by three other tributaries to create a massive mountain stream. From where the rivers join, there is a long stretch in which fly fishing is very relaxed and enjoyable. The river becomes easy to wade in and wide enough for casts of any length. The trout are plentiful, and many anglers catch as many fish as they please during this stretch of water (“Gallatin River”). The river remains cool all year long, and it is a very comfortable temperature for all fish that dwell in it. As the river flows through the Gallatin Canyon, it gradually becomes a raging canyon river that has choppy, fast moving water. Most of the Gallatin is peaceful, and extremely effortless to fish; the scenery is beautiful, and the fish are plentiful. Armstrong’s Spring Creek is a meadow stream that is plentiful in trout; this stream creates optimal dry fly fishing, and is always a bountiful place to fish. The average length for fish in this stream is fourteen inches and many of the catches exceed twenty inches (Anderson). Most of the trout present in this stream are rainbows, with the occasional appearance of a brown trout or cutthroat trout. The scenery is beautiful around the creek; with the Absaroka Mountains is the distance. Montana is home to Glacier National Park, which offers unparalleled fly fishing along the Flathead River. Many fly fishing enthusiasts come to Glacier to fish the stream called the Upper Middle Fork of the Flathead River; rainbow trout and cutthroat trout a plentiful along this stretch of water. The National Park offers custom fishing trips to the best parts of the river, and also fly fishing lessons to beginners (“Glacier Park Fly Fishing”). The Florida Keys is one of the best places for fly fishing in the world. The difference between freshwater and saltwater is considered enormous by most fishermen. Fishing in the flats of the Florida Keys is much different than fishing in a mountain stream in Montana. For fly fishing, casting is the most difficult task while fishing in the Florida Keys because of the violent wind that often comes into play while casting. The Keys are most known for their abundance of tarpon, permit, and bonefish. The ability to catch bigger, more aggressive fish is one aspect that intrigues fly fishermen worldwide. Key West is most known for the fishing of permit, and it is sometimes referred to as the permit fly fishing capital of the world (Kolpin). Jacks River in Crandall, Georgia offers the best fly fishing experience in the state. This river is near the Georgia-Tennessee boarder and is full of trout species such as rainbow, brown and brook trout. Many hikers come to the Jacks River because of the beautiful scenery of the Jacks River Falls, thus creating a low amount of competition for fishing. The river is almost all on public land, and is accessible on foot. It is a peaceful river with not very many fishermen even during the most optimal fly fishing conditions. Most fishermen will have to hike to get to the best fishing spots along the river, which creates a small population of fishermen. Jacks creek is not recommended for beginners, but experienced anglers tend to have a fantastic time fishing the river and catching trout over twenty inches (“Fly Fishing Jacks”). The Florida Keys generally offer the biggest fish with the most fight in them, while Montana offers peaceful fishing in streams that house trophy size trout, and also beautiful mountain scenery to go with one’s fishing experience. The decision of the best possible place to fly fish generally depends on whether the fisherman prefers saltwater or freshwater. Fly fishing is considered much more challenging than normal fishing. The sense of self-accomplishment when one catches a fish using their own created bait is much more than using store bought equipment, and this can only come when one makes their own flies for use. There is involvement in the cast of fly fishing that is not present in a normal fisherman’s cast, using different techniques instead of just tossing a line out in the water and waiting for the fish to bite. The fight for a fish while fly fishing is much more intense and tiring, but it is also more exhilarating for the angler. Many fishermen never become fly fishermen because it takes a certain passion and involvement into fly fishing that is not needed for regular fishing. Some consider fly fishing to be primitive when compared to normal fishing because of the lack of technology that a reel has over a fly fishing reel, which just holds the line on a fly fishing pole. Normally, anglers are not first introduced to fly fishing until they have already gone on a normal fishing trip; this occurs because fly fishing is the more specified version of fishing and usually takes place after one already has the knowledge of normal fishing. Fly fishing for most dedicated anglers becomes two hobbies combined into one because of the added aspect of creating flies, which is a difficult and tedious practice by itself. Great time and effort must be spent toward the creation of flies and the actual experience of fly fishing in order to become successful at the sport. Fishing is a life-long sport and can be enjoyed at all ages. One of the best feelings in existence is the feeling of catching one’s first fish, and being able to catch that fish with a fly that was created by oneself is even more rewarding. Fly fishing is unique and enjoyable; this sport is one of great skill, and only hard-working anglers can ever master it. Works cited
"FlyFishingCastingTricks." FlyFishingFanatics.N.p.,2008.Web.30Oct. 2011.
Garrison,Ronnie."Fly-Fishing." Netplaces.TheNewYorkTimesCompany,2011. Web.30Oct.2011..
Campbell,Al."AnIntroductiontoFlyTying." BeginningFlyTying.N.p.,2011. Web.30Oct.2011..
"GallatinRiver." YellowstoneFlyFishing.YellowstoneMediaGroup,2011.Web. 30Oct.2011..
Anderson,George."ArmstrongSpringCreekontheO'HairRanch." Yellowstone Angler.N.p.,2011.Web.30Oct.2011. .

"GlacierParkFlyFishing." GlacierOutdoorCenter.N.p.,2010.Web.30Oct. 2011..
Kolpin,Scott."TargetedFishoftheFloridaKeys." ElusiveEndeavors.N.p., 2004.Web.30Oct.2011..
"FlyFishingJacksRiverGeorgia." FlyFishingSmokyMountains.N.p.,2010.Web. 30Oct.2011..

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