What is fly fishing?


Active Member
When I was young, spring meant a trip to the hardware store to buy a cane pole that came with string, cork, sinker and hook. We put a worm on the hook, lobbed it in the water and sat there watching the cork, waiting for a fish to pull it under. Today, we get in prams/row/motor/pontoon boats, take a graphite rod an artificial cork and a fake chironmid,(sp?) lob it in the water and sit there watching the fake cork waiting for a fish to pull git under. It requires only rudimentary casting skills, there is no line management, presentation, or manipulation of the fly. So, my question is, is this fly fishing? And if it is, what makes it so? Is it the use of a fly rod/reel/line and fly? Would putting a fly on the old cane pole and hanging it below the cork be fly fishing? Would putting a live grasshopper or garden hackle on a fly rig be fly fishing? Or does fly fishing mean manipulating a fly rod, line and leader in a manner that delivers a fly to the water and the line manipulated so the fly is presented in a way that entices a fish to eat it? Having shoulder issues, I troll with fly gear. Is that fly fishing? So, WHAT IS FLY FISHING?
I just got done reading a 23 year old fly fishing book. The sport sure has changed in that short time. Weighted nymphs and bobbers are an accepted part of the game now. People love these tools and the results they get using them. It's not the same as it was back then but we're having fun and nobody is forcing anyone to use modern methods.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
It's whatever you make of it. At one time sinking lines didn't exist. So people used weighted flies (pretty much jigs) to get the flies down. Think the first I recall reading about was the Pray's Prat (think, have to dig out one of my old books). EVERYTHING about the sport is progressing and changing. Outside of tossing bait/scent on the hook, I don't see the harm in it. Like Josh said, unless it's a Fly only water, I'm not worried about "what flyfishing is".

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
I have to second, "it is what you think it is." I like angling, and part of the fun is being free to do whatever I feel like doing. If you're legal and having fun, I'm not sure what else there is to discuss :)


Active Member
I'm sorry and don't mean to dump on your thread,
Don't be. Dump away. That's what this thread is for. To see how people think about fly fishing.

Outside of tossing bait/scent on the hook,​
What's wrong with scent on a hook?
Fly fishing is dunking a piece of inanimate material in the water to try and outsmart a creature with a brain the size of a pea, and then bragging about how smart we are in the few cases where we succeed. Seems pretty simple to me, wish I was better at it. A Steelheader is a regular fly fishermen that has gone totally insane in the process.


Active Member
I always thought a fly fisherman was just a lousy gear guy fisherman that couldn't cure good eggs or didn't like putting a live worm on a hook.;)

just joking, no need to retort.

If i use my fly rod and reel and troll pop gear.... damn it if im not a fly fisherman in my eyes.