Welcome to the world of fly fishing. Fly fishing has steadily grown since 2014 and with 6.8 million participants is at an all-time high. Women comprise 31% of fly fishers and are the fastest growing demographic in the sport. An industry sponsored initiative, the 50/50 project, seeks to increase the number of women on the water to 50% of total fly fishers. Fly fishing is a $750 million dollar market in America. It is a renewable and sustainable industry.
While much of the equipment in fishing has become high tech traditional Bamboo Rods are experiencing a resurgence in the sport. Bamboo allows greater control of the fly and the line both in the air and on the water. Traditional bamboo rods are represent the high end of fly rods and run the gamut from workmanlike to works of art. The rod makers art is discernible in the taper, planing, and joining of the six precisely formed sections, the silk wrapping around the guides, the quality of components, and the action of the rod.
Why hunt trout rather than cast a tri-hook or a worm into the weeds for bass? It is a matter of taste of course. The fly fisher does not need a rocket boat with a fish sounder and the newest sparkle wrapped comet wand. A rod, a simple reel, artificial flies, perhaps waders or an oared drift boat are enough to meet the challenge. Fly fishing is a contemplative endeavor, which encourages an understanding of the natural world and his or her place in it. Just that and patience.
Fly fishing is a hunter's sport. The accomplished fly fisher begins the day by determining what the fish are eating, observing what insects are above, on, or under the water and choosing a hand tied fly that mimics the food source. He or she must read the river for clues to where the fish will be hiding and feeding and must present the artificial fly to the fish as if it were a natural occurrence. The physical challenge of maintaining that illusion as the fly drifts with the current requires great skill and a subtle hand.
In the best of times the fly fisher may spy his quarry rising in calm water to sip food at the surface and cast his fly directly to that fish. She sets the hook, brings the fish gently to net or whetted hand, admires her prize, and releases it.