Caddis Fly Introduction

There is something almost magical about catching a fish on an artificial fly. Casting to a trout that has been spotted feeding, seeing the fly drift gently into its path, then watching it being sipped down as if it were a real insect, produces a mixture of anticipation and excitement that never dulls. The only thing that could possibly make the thrill even better is if you had created the fly yourself.

Although it is possible to buy any number of effective fly patterns, the ability to tie flies adds another dimension to an already absorbing pastime. It has a practical side, too, making sure that the fly box remains plentifully supplied at all times. Most importantly, though, it gives the fly-fisher the opportunity to take part in the development of fly-fishing itself. Many of the best fly patterns in use today were created by practical anglers who had an idea to create a fly that would be more effective than any pattern they already knew. Patterns like the Muddler Minnow, the Adams, and the Royal Wulff are now all part of established fly-fishing lore, but at one time they were new and revolutionary, created by anglers with a specific problem to solve. With the ability to tie flies, and with it the understanding of what goes into making a fly successful, any angler has the opportunity to take his place in fly-fishing's continuing development. Catching fish on artificial flies has a long and distinguished history. It is said that the ancient Greeks were the first to catch trout xx on a fly some 2,000 years ago, from the river Aestraeus. What they created by wrapping red wool and brown cock hackles around a hook has much in common with some fly patterns still in use today. Over the millennia, the range of flies has been expanded and improved so that present-day fly-fishers

The ability to tie flies ensures that the fly box is always plentifully supplied.

The ability to tie flies ensures that the fly box is always plentifully supplied.

INTRODUCTION

have a vast number of patterns at their disposal, tied to imitate anything from a midge to a baitfish.

What makes fly-fishing so popular is the sheer number of species that can be caught. Along with the accepted game-fish species—such as trout and salmon —grayling, char, and even a variety of saltwater fish can all be taken on an artificial fly. Because of this diversity of species and water types, the number of fly patterns in use today is almost impossible to count. Where once there were just two types of flies—those that floated and those that sank—today there are a variety of fly classifications, divided into five main groups that describe, in general terms, what each individual fly is designed to imitate and how it is to be fished. Dry flies, as the name suggests, are intended to be fished on the water's surface, and are often tied to imitate the adult stage of one of the many aquatic insect species. Many are tied with special water-resistant materials or treated with a chemical flotant to help prevent them from absorbing water. Nymphs and bugs feature imitations of the various larvae and pupae of aquatic insects plus a number of crustaceans. Because these particular invertebrates live underwater, their imitations are tied to sink rather than float and often incorporate some form of weight in their dressing.

Dry-fly fishing for Cutthroat trout on the Snake River at Jackson Hole.

Artificial trout and salmon flies come in an incredible range of sizes, colors, and forms.

Wet flies are more impressionistic in their construction than many other fly types, using mostly natural furs and feathers to suggest a particular insect rather than being intended as a close copy. Hairwings and Streamers make up the fourth and fifth groups. Both actually fulfill a very similar purpose, and are either tied merely to stimulate the fish's inquisitiveness or to imitate one of the various species of baitfish. What separates them is the material from which they are made. Hairwings, not surprisingly, have a wing fashioned from hair, such as bucktail or squirrel tail, while a streamer's wing is comprised of some form of feather, such as cock hackles or marabou.

Even though many flies look very different from one another, most employ similar techniques in their construction. These techniques are the building blocks of the craft and must be learned before tyers can create flies of their own.

The Fly-tying Bible takes the tyer through all of the major fly types in use today. By showing how to create 100 of the most effective fly patterns in clear step-by-step photography, the following pages will give the reader a thorough grounding in all the techniques, encompassing basic to advanced fly-tying. Using patterns ranging from the simplest winged dry fly through wet flies and streamers, right up to true-to-life stonefly nymph and baitfish imitations, this book offers a practical way to master the relevant methods needed to fill the fly box with proven fish-catching patterns.

If you have not considered tying your own flies, assuming perhaps that it is an art to which you could never aspire, then think again. For while there are artistic elements to fly-tying, it is, in reality, a craft that anyone can learn. All you need is patience, practice, and the right instruction.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Practical Fly Fishing

Practical Fly Fishing

Here then is Practical Fly Fishing, a companion book to my Practical Bait Casting, and like that little work this is offered mainly as a text book to help the novice through places where there is rocky bottom, rough water and other hard wading.

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