Fly fishing

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A fly fisherman in the river

The fly-fishing or flight fishing is a method of fishing . It differs from other methods mainly in that the bait, generally called a fly , is too light to cast, which is why the dead weight of the line is used as the casting weight. This requires a special casting technique and special fishing tackle, especially a special line. The name fly fishing comes from the original way of imitating bait. John Horrocks is considered to be its founder in Europe .



The natural prey animals such as flying, land and water insects and other living beings such as prey fish, smaller mammals or amphibians are imitated. Fictitious, colorful stimulating flies are also often used. These so-called flies are made with the help of materials such as fur , bird feathers (hackles) and plastic and a hook of various sizes. Tying these flies is an independent and time-consuming additional hobby in fly fishing circles. Sometimes fly fishermen also make fly tying their profession.

Throwing technique

A fly fisherman in the Sava Bohinjka, Slovenia

Fly fishing is not based on the casting principle of other fishing techniques: Instead of accelerating a lead weight with a leader (as with bottom fishing ) or using the weight of a spoon (as with spin fishing ), only the weight of the line is used here to catch dry, wet flies , Nymphs or streamers to the destination.

The rod arm is angled at the beginning and the rod tip points towards the surface of the water. Then the tip of the rod is lifted in a flowing motion and moved back and forth in the direction of view. It is important that the wrist - if at all - is not opened before the stop. Compared to a dial, the discard is stopped at around 1 hour and the final reproach between 10 and 11 o'clock. Then the rod is slowly lowered to 9 o'clock. It is absolutely necessary to provide sufficient resistance so that the line can completely roll out and the fly can be placed in a targeted manner.

In order to achieve greater distances, additional cord is kept ready in the cord basket or in large loops in the cord hand. Then the line is lengthened in the air until the rod is well loaded, and then after the stop on the final reproach the loops in the line hand are released. Due to the accelerated mass of the line, these additional meters of line are torn from the hand, which can significantly lengthen the cast. Throwing distances of up to 30 m can be achieved with conventional equipment. Professionals and casting athletes can achieve significantly greater distances.

Of course, there are other techniques that can be learned to counteract certain local throwing obstacles, or simply to be able to enjoy the aesthetics of an artful throw. In Europe, which is considered the motherland of fly fishing and modern casting, a distinction is primarily made between the Old English style, the Gebetsroither casting style, the TLT technique and the underhand casting style. Various other variants are considered to be offshoots of it.


Fly lines are available in different cross-sections, which are identified by special abbreviations. The common forms are:

  • L ( level , the cord cross-section remains the same over the entire length)
  • DT ( double taper , tapered on both sides)
  • ST ( shooting taper , shooting head )
  • WF ( weight forward , also called club string, the string becomes thicker in the shape of a club)
  • TT ( triangle taper , similar to the WF with a longer front taper)
  • LB ( Long Belly )

Nowadays, WF lines are most widespread. These can be thrown more easily and further, especially for beginners, and have differently shaped clubs depending on the intended use.

TT taper lines differ from club lines in that the line diameter (and therefore the line weight) increases continuously over the first 12 meters. This makes this shape extremely suitable for roll throws in the near and middle range. It does not matter whether it is used for dry fly fishing or nymph fishing. Due to the special shape of the line (TT = Triangle Taper), the line rolls out easily and evenly.

DT lines are mostly used on rods with a fully parabolic action. They also allow the line to be laid gently on the water, which can be beneficial for small bodies of water and shy fish.

A further division of the lines takes place according to the buoyancy behavior in floating (F, floating ) and sinking (S, sinking ) lines. Different sinking speeds are offered for sinking lines, and there are also so-called sink tip lines (the first meters sink in) and intermediate lines (floating in a defined water depth). Swimming lines are the most common because they are easier to handle than sinking lines and most waterfront conditions can be mastered with a swimming line. The cords are divided according to their weight into so-called AFTMA classes that of the AFTMA ( " A merican F ishing T ackle M anufactures A defined ssociation") as standards. New: " ASA ".

The fly rods are also divided into AFTMA classes according to the lines that can be cast with them. Since the allocation of line classes according to AFTMA is based on DT lines, most of the lines in use today are WF lines, the length of which is often less or significantly more than 9.14 m (weight classification according to AFTMA is based on this length), The use of the AFTMA system is no longer up-to-date or often leads to confusion. Some manufacturers have therefore switched to weight designations in grams (as is also the case with other fishing tackle).


Fly rod with reel and brown trout

Fly fishing is possible in any body of water, but is best known for its salmon fishing in the Scandinavian, British and North American native rivers of these fish. Fly fishing on the coast is also popular, with northern Germany and Denmark in particular being popular destinations.

Fly fishing is possible for almost all fish with a few exceptions. The classic fish for flight fishing, however, are salmonids ( trout , grayling , char , salmon ). The attitude that fly fishing only makes sense for these types of fish is still widespread as a prejudice in anglers' circles. In warm seas z. B. fished for tarpon , bones fish and jacks . The limits of fly fishing are found where the water conditions or the size of the fish no longer permit the use of fly equipment. With a special fly device (class 17-18) and a sufficient number of strong backings on the reel, fish weighing up to 200 kg can still be landed. The type of foraging of certain fish can also limit the ability to catch a fly, even if eels, which mainly use their olfactory sense to locate food, are caught by specialists with small streamers in the Dutch canals.

Types of fly fishing

Dry fly fishing

Dry fly fishing is regarded by many anglers as the classic fly fishing. Artificial flies are used, which float on the water surface. This is achieved by greasing the fly and / or using floating material (e.g. deer hair).

By Dry Fly adult usually (water) are insects imitated, either those that rose up to lay their eggs on the surface film of the water body ( Imago ), those that just slip out of the larval shell and break through the water surface (Emerger, from the English. " to emerge ”or insects that have died after laying their eggs and that float on the surface of the water with outspread wings (Spents, from“ spent ”). In addition, the dry flies also include replicas of terrestrial insects , such as grasshoppers, ants and beetles.

The main types of fish that can be caught with dry flies are those that “rise” after approaching food, ie that eat insects from the surface of the water.

Wet fly fishing

Wet fly fishing is the oldest form of fly fishing in history. Wet flies are artificial flies that do not swim and thus imitate nymphs rising to hatch under the surface of the water or floating dead insects.

Nymph fish

Nymph fishing refers to fishing with special flies that sink just like wet flies. Unlike wet flies, however, nymphs mimic the larval stages of aquatic insects. Nymphs are often weighted down with lead wire or the like in order to be able to fish deeper water areas. Wet flies of the classic type are carefree, but nymphs are in most cases weighted down with a gold head, tungsten ball or a lead wire. One of the more recent developments in nymph fishing is Czech Nymphing (also known as the short nymph), which involves fishing with three flies at a time at a distance of 1 to 4 m. However, many fly fishermen no longer regard this technique as fly fishing, since it is not the fly line that transports the nymph (the core element of fly fishing is the transport of the imitations through the weight of the fly line), but mostly the nymph represents the casting weight and the fly line thereby represents its actual weight Loses meaning.

Stream fishing

Streamer fishing represents the borderline between fly fishing and spin fishing. Streamers are artificial baits that imitate small fish, mice or the like (imitation streamers) or are intended to induce predatory fish to bite with their bright colors (stimulus streamers). These baits are “flies” only insofar as they are made from fly tying materials such as feathers, hair or thread.

Streamer fishing aims at predatory fish and is therefore usually done with heavy fly gear.

Other accessories

To protect the fly line, to prevent drift or to prevent knotting with water algae, many use a weft or line basket. This also increases the throwing distance, as there is no resistance caused by tearing out of the water. The cord is stored in the cord basket during stripping. These are available in different versions.

To achieve the fish in running waters are fished, lakes or the sea, one is Waders useful. These are waterproof pants made of rubber , neoprene or breathable materials that allow you to step into the water without the clothing underneath getting wet.

Polar glasses are usually used to better recognize the fish .

Another variant is the so-called "belly boat" . They are available in different versions. The round shape as a truck tire, as a U-shape, makes it easier to get in because it can be done from the front and as a pontoon with which one is faster. You can sit in these with or without waders and thus also reach more remote areas of a lake or reef in the sea. The drive takes place with flippers .

Fly fishing as a topic in film and literature

Norman Maclean published in 1976 the partially autobiographical novel A River Runs Through It ( A River Runs Through It ), which focuses on fly fishing in Montana. The book tells the story of two dissimilar brothers and their father whose only common ground is fly fishing. The 1992 film adaptation by Robert Redford caused a boom in the popularity of fly fishing in the United States.

In 2011 the film Salmon Fishing in Yemen was released . A sheikh from Yemen who loves fishing wants to introduce salmon fishing in the desert country. After initial hesitation, he received the support of a British fishing expert.

"The Lost World Of Mr. Hardy" is a documentary about the dying craftsmanship of rods, reels and flies by the world-famous traditional company Hardy's from England (founded in 1873). The world of handicrafts is documented with rich images with current interviews and original recordings of the Hardy brothers from 1935. The question is raised whether more than just the handicraft is lost on the way to mass production. The film is an independent production by the directors Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier.


The two Englishmen Izaac Walton and Charles Cotton are considered the “fathers” of anglers and fishing literature .

  • Günter Feuerstein: Successful nymph fishing for salmonids . Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-905678-39-0 .
  • Ingo Karwath: Flying just in case . Year Top Special Verlag, ISBN 3-86132-669-8 .
  • Frank Weissert: Fly fishing - easy and successful . Müller Rüschlikon Verlag, ISBN 978-3-275-01606-8 .
  • Heinz Lorenz: Fly throwing - Gebetsroither style . Müller Rüschlikon Verlag, ISBN 978-3-275-01632-7 .
  • B. Clarke, J. Goddard: The Trout and the Fly . Müller Rüschlikon Verlag, ISBN 978-3-275-01627-3 .
  • John Horrocks : The Art of Fly Fishing for Trout and Ashes . Weimar 1874.
  • Max von dem Borne: Fishing for anglers. 1st edition, 1875.
  • Wolfgang Quint (ed.): The fishing fishing. 17th edition, Verlag Paul Parey, Hamburg / Berlin 1988.
  • Mel Krieger: The essence of fly throwing. ISBN 3-8334-0196-6 .
  • W. Reisinger, E. Bauernfeind, E. Loidl: Entomology for fly fishermen . Verlag Eugen Ulmer, ISBN 3-8001-3594-9 .
  • H. Gebetsroither, E. Stoll: High school on grayling and trout . Müller Rüschlikon Verlag, ISBN 3-275-01321-1 .
  • Hans Eiber: That's fly fishing . 3rd edition, BLV, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-405-15812-5 .
  • Martin Ford: Fly fishing. ISBN 3-89815-069-0 .
  • Charles Ritz: Experienced fly fishing . Müller Rüschlikon Verlag, ISBN 978-3-275-01587-0 .
  • Axel Wessolowski: The biology of fly fishing: Understanding relationships as a path to success . 1st edition, Kosmos (Franckh-Kosmos) Publishing House, 2011, ISBN 978-3-440-12444-4 .

Web links

Commons : Fly Fishing  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. CARLY Flandro, Staff Writer: Reflecting on the movie "A River Runs Through It" and how it changed Montana . In: Bozeman Daily Chronicle . ( [accessed April 7, 2018]).