Ok I promise you’re almost ready to fish, but now it's time for the exciting part! Purchasing some flies! I know in the last paragraph I talked some about flies and fly sizes and how they relate to your leader and tippet. When it comes to flies’ sizes are also counterintuitive, the larger the number the smaller the fly. Here’s a little graphic to demonstrate:
When it comes to flies you want to try your hardest to “match the hatch”. What this means is that wherever you’re fishing there are bugs in and out of the water that are hatching or already hatched and living. These bugs are what makes up the diet of the fish you’re trying to catch and therefore your artificial fly should be as close to those bugs as possible in order to fool the fish into taking your fly! Sometime a fish will take something atypical from their diet but it's usually best to imitate its normal food source in order to avoid spooking the fish. There are essentially three categories of flies: Dries, Nymphs and streamers, these are your basics. A dry imitates a flying bug that lands and floats on top of the surface. You should use a dry when you see bugs flying and fish sipping the surface of the water. A nymph is a bug that lives in the water or is hatching/ emerging from the water. You’ll want to use these when fish are not rising. A streamer is one of the largest types of flies and imitates small bait fish such as minnows. You’ll want to use streamers when going for big fish who typically seek smaller fish for a food source. The best way to “match the hatch” is to either look around for bugs flying in the air or fish rising to determine what dry you need to use or to grab a rock or stick from the bottom of the river to see what bugs cling to that to determine what nymph you should use. Streamers can be used in most situations when searching for larger fish in larger bodies of water because there will always be small bait fish swimming around to imitate.
As you can see below there are an overwhelming amount of flies to choose from in this sport and every shop and tier can put their different spin on them. Use google/ youtube and fly shops to help you figure out what flies you may need and what they look like!
Fly types and names are a whole other world and far too expansive to cover in this #basic blog but one thing that I still do to this day is look up fishing reports online or call fly shops near where I’ll be fishing to determine the flies I’ll use. Google is a wonderful thing and almost every body of water that has been fished will have some type of website with a report on it describing the exact flies that are working.
Also, when you go to buy flies don’t be scared to ask for help!! I cannot express this enough because it can be very overwhelming staring at rows and rows of tiny threaded hooks. Usually the people that are working the fly shops are extremely knowledgeable and helpful and to boot they probably own the place, so they want to be as nice as possible so you’ll return! Just let them know where you’re headed to fish (local) and I am willing to bet they have a list of flies they know are working and will pick them out for you! And if you come in with a prepared list of flies for a non-local excursion, they’ll still be willing to help you find those flies! I still need help with flies, there are just so many and so many wacky names, but again with time and practice it only gets easier!
Next week we talk knots and literally tying it all together to hit the water!