Fly rod and reel with a brown troutfrom a chalk stream in England
In fly fishing, fish are caught by using artificial flies that are cast with a fly rod and a fly line. The fly line (today, almost always coated with plastic) is heavy enough to send the fly to the target. The main difference between fly fishing and spin or bait fishing is that in fly fishing the weight of the line carries the hook through the air, whereas in spin and bait fishing the weight of the lure or sinker at the end of the monofilament or braided line gives casting distance. Artificial flies are of several types; some imitating an insect (either flying or swimming), others a bait fish or crustacean, others attractors are known to attract fish although they look like nothing in nature. Flies can be made either to float or sink, and range in size from a few millimeters to 30 cm long; most are between 1 and 5 cm.
Artificial flies are made by fastening hair, fur, feathers, or other materials, both natural and synthetic, onto a hook. The first flies were tied with natural materials, but synthetic materials are now popular and prevalent. Flies are tied in sizes, colors and patterns to match local terrestrial and aquatic insects, baitfish, or other prey attractive to the target fish species.
Fly fishing is most renowned as a method for catching trout, grayling and salmon, but it is also used for a wide variety of species including pike, bass, panfish, and carp, as well asmarine species, such as redfish, snook, tarpon, bonefish and striped bass. Many fly anglers catch unintended species such as chub, bream and rudd while fishing for ‘main target’ species such as trout. A growing population of anglers attempt to catch as many different species as possible with the fly. With the advancement of technology and development of stronger rods and reels, larger predatory saltwater species such as wahoo, tuna, marlin and sharks have become target species on fly. Realistically any fish can be targeted and captured on fly as long as the main food source is effectively replicated by the fly itself and suitable gear is used.