Even if you started out fly fishing using cheap plastic flies, at some point you will most likely end up exploring the pleasures of tying your own. Using fly tying feathers makes the artificial flies both beautiful and functional. It is a way to save money, but the real reason that so many fishermen tie their own flies is that it is a rewarding hobby all on its own.

There is a lot of true science involved in the design of artificial flies. They are made to resemble the real insects that different types of fish eat. They are also made in such a way that they have an animated quality as if they were alive, when made to move by the fisherman manipulating the line. The natural qualities of feathers are what makes a lot of this possible.

On a bird, there are many different types of feathers. Some are round and small, while others are long. They may be fluffy or very firm. By exploiting their different qualities they can be used as fly tying materials that will lend different characteristics to the head, wings, tail, and other parts of the fly.

There are four main categories of artificial flies. Dry flies are those that sit on top of the water. You can allow them to just rest there, which is called fishing still, or move them around a bit with a twitching motion, which attracts the attention of fish. They look like mayflies, spiders, midges, and other insects that rest on the water. Hackles and CDC feathers are often used in this type of fly to make them most buoyant.

Wet flies actually go into the water. They are made to resemble small fish, leeches, and crawfish. They are often weighted to help them drop realistically in the water.

Nymphs are made to look like the immature phase of some insects, which are a common food source for many fish. Streamers are designed to replicate baitfish, such as minnows. Flies that look like larger insects, like grasshoppers, are sometimes used as well. Fish will certainly eat any insect that ends up in the water, even if they don’t normally see them there.

Every serious fisherman has his own lore about when to use which fly. They develop these instincts over years of experience. The type of fish that is at the location is, of course, a significant factor. You will have the best luck with flies that look like the food sources those fish like. The season of year matters, too, because fish may have different behaviors and they will almost certainly have different food sources depending where their food sources are in their own life cycles.

Making your own flies is enjoyable way to expand your participation in the pursuit of fly fishing. Once you start, you will most likely be hooked, so to speak. Along with your fly reels, lines, and other equipment, you will now have a selection of fly tying feathers and other fly typing materials.
 

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