The History of Fly Fishing

by ,

fly fishingSome fly fishing enthusiasts would probably want to know about the history of this sport. The first written mention of fly fishing seems to come from the Romans as they described the way Macedonians used to fish on the Astraeus River. The Macedonians made use of flies and even tried to use the red wool around two feathers. These rods were six foot long, and so were their lines. A little was written in relation to fly fishing until a book was published in 1946, and was written by Dame Juliana Berners.

The 19th Century

The British fly fishing continued to develop until the 19th century when official books about fly fishing were written, and fishing clubs came up. Dry fishing generated a lot of reputation as being the only sure way to fish in the slower rivers. In the United States and Canada, immigrants discovered big rocky rivers and streams that were teeming with trouts and other fish species.

These waters were different from the ones found in the gentle rivers of Europe and gave rise to this to this type of fishing. By the 20th century, rigid enclaves of anglers especially in the Rocky Mountains of Northern Michigan and the Northwest of the Pacific came up with their local types of fly-fishing practices.


Technological advances have primarily driven the development of fly fishing tackle. Early rods were composed of solid wood, usually willow or hickory. Towards the mid-19th century, fishers got a better option from split bamboo from China, which offered a better option over timber. Bamboo dominated the material section selection towards the period of Second World War, and after that, lighter rods of hollow fiberglass took over.

fly fishIn the 1970s, a new generation of lighter and more responsive rods came into action and comprised of carbon fiber and graphite to replace the fiberglass. Graphite has a remarkable weight to strength ratio and is a perfect for the fly angler’s constant look out for better and delicate tackles, and it remained a material of choice for long.

Artificial flies are constructed to mimic insects and baitfish, which are familiar food sources for fish. Four different types of flies are used, with the most common ones being the dry flies which are always designed to represent resting insects. Nymphs and wet flies are fished under the surface either by using an erratic retrieve or by drifting with the current. These flies imitate dead insects or the immature larval forms of aquatic insects.

Modern Fly Fishing

Since the end of the 19th century, fly fishing has been growing in popularity. The history of this sport is full of contributions which women have made. Notable American women who have made tremendous strides towards enhancing the game are Mary Orvis Marbury, Hellen Shaw and Joan Salvato. They are among the world’s finest casters and have set a lot of records in the 1950s. Fly fishing has grown to include other different species. Freshwater fly anglers focus on catching bass, pike, panfish and other different species of perch. Salt water fly fishing continues to grow in popularity for species such as permit, tarpon, bass, bonefish and bluefish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *