The History of Fly Fishing
July 24, 2017
Reel Obsession Takes A Look at the Oldest Version of the Sport
What Is Fly-Fishing?
Fly-fishing anglers use a long (7’-11’), flexible rod, with a heavier line and an artificial “fly” mimicking an attractive insect or small baitfish at its end. Flies are typically made of hair, feathers, synthetics, or a combination of those materials. Because flies are nearly weightless, casting is central to this fishing method. Anglers snap the rod back and forth, allowing the line to propel the fly forward. Although it is a more difficult to master this form of fishing than other methods, its fans are dedicated and passionate.
A Brief History
Fly-fishing is the oldest recreational form of fishing. No one knows for certain when fly-fishing first began, but historians cite accounts of the use of artificial flies as early as 2nd century Macedonia. In the US and Canada, fly-fishing began to enjoy widespread popularity in the 1700s. As rail transportation expanded, fly-fishing became more common in a variety of regions throughout the country.
-Out of 46 million American anglers, 6.1 million, or about 15%, engage at least once a year in either freshwater or saltwater fly-fishing.
-Although fly-fishing is the least common of the three main types of fishing, it attracted the most first-time anglers in 2015.
-Freshwater fishing accounts for over half of fly-fishing excursions.
-In 2015, fly-fishing participants made 74 million annual outings.
-Fly-fishing anglers are approximately 30% female and 70% male.
-The top three geographical locations for fly-fishing are: South Atlantic (22.2%), Pacific (17.7%), and Middle Atlantic (15.8%).
-900,000 people tried fly-fishing for the first time in 2015.
Did You Know…?
-Fly-fishing is a great sport for everyone—but celebrities have also enjoyed its charms. Famous folks who have tried the sport include Harrison Ford, Eric Clapton, Martha Stewart, Jimmy Buffet, Reba McEntire, Liam Neeson, and Emma Thompson.
-There is a museum devoted to fly-fishing in America. The American Museum of Fly Fishing was established in 1968 in Manchester, Vermont. Among its collections are the flies formerly belonging to several US Presidents, rods dating back to the early nineteenth century, an extensive photo archive, and over 700 prints and paintings.