Learn More about Fly Fishing this Spring

 By: Cole Kell 

     While fishing is a popular spring sport for many Eisenhower students, the students might be less familiar with fly fishing, which is a unique approach to the sport of fishing. Fly fishing is a method that is used to draw strikes from fish that instinctively feed on vary types of insects, as well as other prey of minute proportions, according to blueridgemountainlife.com. Fly fishing provides anglers with the most practical approach toward replicating prey of its nature, as traditional fishing gear is ill-suited presenting ultra-lightweight lures.  

     According to the website, the history of fly-fishing dates back centuries, having evolved from primitive angling tactics of several individual cultures. However, the practice of fly fishing is thought to have first originated in England around the fourth century. The practice of fly fishing seeks to capitalize on the natural predatory instinct of game fish. As a matter of survival, fish must seize upon a meal when provided. While most species of fish feed on a wide variety of food sources from day to day, all feed heavily upon insects and other small invertebrates at various times throughout the year.  

     The Squire interviewed local fly-fishing instructor, Gary Kell, to learn more about fly fishing.  

The Squire: What is fly fishing and how is it different from traditional fishing? 

Gary Kell: Fly fishing is a method of fishing where you use an artificial fly made out fur, feathers, and artificial materials and then you cast it out to the fish. It is different from traditional fishing because the casting and the fly line is what you use to cast and it is the weight that carries the fly out to the fish, the weight of the fly line not the lure.  

TS: Where is a good place to fly fish? 

GK: There are a lot of good streams around the national forest where we live. A couple of good ones for beginners are the Tionesta Creek that flows right through the national forest, and the Brokenstraw Creek. 

TS: If someone wants to start fly fishing, where would be the best place for them to get the needed gear? 

GK: It is not easy around Warren because there are not a lot of people to support a fly shop but there is a good sporting goods store called Penn Wild, here in town that does have some fly-fishing equipment so you might start there.  

TS: How long do fly fishing rods measure, in feet shortest to longest? 

GK: Well, it is like seven feet to eleven feet. Most of the time, people choose between an eight foot to a nine foot, but there those longer ones and the shorter ones people choose on an occasion.  

TS: What kind of flies can people use for fly fishing? 

GK: There are a lot of different flies you can use and all the flies we usually try to up and the flies are tied on to the hook or the materials I talked about are tied onto a hook and they imitate the food that fish eat. So you can make it look like minnows, like aquatic insects, or even grasshoppers that fall into the water might be a good imitation on some days in the summer.  

TS: What are the main techniques of fly fishing? 

GK: There are three techniques, and it depends on the fly you choose. There is dry fly fishing where you are using a fly that is made with materials that kind of stay dry and float on the surface. The two other ones are a wet fly or a streamer, which imitates a minnow, and a wet fly imitates an insect that is still in the water before it hatches. So that wet fly and streamer are the other technique you could use. The last one, and most effective technique, is a nymph.  A nymph imitates the immature aquatic insects that are growing at the bottom of the stream, and you must fish something that goes deep to get down to those fish and they are called nymphs, and that is nymph fishing.   

TS: As a fly-fishing instructor, what are the top three things you try to teach beginner fly fishers?  

GK: One of the most important aspects to fly fishing or learning to fly fish and be successful is the cast and how to cast because in traditional fishing you just throw the lure forward and it drags the line, and it drags it right out there. In fly fishing, you must cast the line back and forth, so it goes in the back of you as far as it goes in front of you, and you cast it back and forth and learn to do it correctly takes some time. So, that is one of the most important things I try to impress upon those beginners is to practice, practice, and practice your casting. Then I teach them how to control the line. You have to use both hands in fly fishing; one to cast and one to control your line. So if you learn those two things, you will be successful. The last thing is practicing your casting and practice tying knots because you have to tie a couple of different knots in fly fishing. Those are the three important things to get started.  

     Fly fishing is when you use an artificial fly made of anything you can think of, and it is a method with three techniques, depending on the fly you choose. The most important thing about fly fishing or learning to fly fish is to practice until you are successful. If you have any questions about fly fishing or want to learn how to fly fish, you can visit Gary Kell’s website at www.theflyfishingcoach.com.  

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