How it works
It's amazing what you take for granted. In this lesson I have had to break down precisely how fly fishing works. When fly fishing we are imitating something that fish eat. We are not using bait. There is no blood or fish gut smell. Viking ancestry will get you nowhere.
Karen: Actually Paul, aren't there fish that only go on smell for there food?
Paul: Damn, I was hoping to sneak that one in.
It is often necessary to draw attention to your fly. We achieve this through 'movement'.
I guess most people will have watched cats hunt, or play at hunting; movement stimulates them. Poke your finger from underneath the duvet and the cat will poise. The sudden movement will focus all of its attention. Wiggle it around a bit and it will prepare to leap. Stop the movement and the cat will strike. This is exactly how fish operate. It is the movement that draws the attention and creates the urge to strike. And the cat most often strikes at the moment when the movement either stops, or starts. It is the change that is important.
In flyfishing it is the movement of the flies that draws the attention of the fish. Of course we don't always have to make this movement ourselves. Often water movement will do this for us. Wave action and currents can provide the most realistic actions. We can take this further still, by incorporating mobile materials in the fly dressing. These materials pulsate and wiggle in the water, giving a greater resemblance of life.
So when fly fishing, we need to cast the fly out to the fish and move it in an enticing manner.
For much of this time we are 'fishing the water'. This means that we are searching the water for fish, by casting the fly out and retrieving it back in a lifelike manner, to our feet. This is very much like the spin fisherman. We cast out and retrieve, fishing all the likely looking spots – 'snags' are good locations. However I personally feel, that flyfishing actually gives more control over movement than spin fishing. Most plugs and spoons have to be moved quickly, and although baitfish can move rather quickly, they also hang around, doing not-a-lot for extended periods of time. Flyfishing gives me more control.
Of course one of the most exciting things in fishing is the knowing that you are actually casting to a fish. Sometimes you get to see the fish, at others you just get to see signs of a fish, such as an unusual disturbance of the water. However, with the exception of trout fishing in spring creeks and chalk streams, for most of the time we are actually fishing blind.
The procedure is to cast the fly out and retrieve it all the way to our feet. There are two reasons for this. The first is that often there are fish lying very close in, the other is that fish will sometimes follow a fly all the way to the bank, waiting until the very last moments before deciding to take. There are specific ways of catching fish that follow the fly and we will be discuss these later in this lesson.
The reason that I take you through this theory is that I want there to be no misunderstanding as to why we firstly roll cast and then overhead cast. Karen was uncertain, and I watch many anglers' fish without this knowledge.
Karen: With myself never having seen anyone fly fish before, it is of course hard to grasp the concept. It was great to go through all the procedures, the whys and the if and buts.
Simply, if you fail to leave sufficient flyline outside the rod tip, you will struggle with the overhead cast. The only way to fish the fly to your feet is to raise the rod tip and slowly sweep it behind you. This will enable you to retrieve the fly to your feet and allow you to keep sufficient line outside the tip to bend the rod.
You now find yourself with a loop of line off to your side forming a D-loop. You must now flick this line out in front of you before you can make the overhead cast. This flicking of the line out is a roll cast and is a very essential part of the flyfishing sequence.
In lesson 1 I asked the question what to do if the fish takes after you have set up the D-loop. To which Karen (to my great surprise) answered quite correctly; you execute the roll cast. The momentum of the line travelling forwards sets the hook.