History of Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is hugely popular these days, but who was the first person to get the idea of tying a fly? To get a feel, we need to look at the history of fly fishing.
History of Fly Fishing
The ancient art of fly fishing has been around for a very long time. There are references to it in some Roman writings that date back almost 2000 years. One such reference from the 2nd century describes Macedonian fisherman catching fish with bright red material tied around a hook. An even earlier reference dates back 200 years before this and also seems to be talking about the presentation of colored materials tied around a hook being used to entice strikes from fish.
The modern form of fly fishing almost certainly was developed in the cold fast running streams of Scotland and Northern England during the middle ages. It was not until 1496 that a good account of the sport was written. This book went into quite a bit of detail about rods, lines, and types of flies, however, and it is almost certain that it was discussing fishing techniques that had been around for some time.
In the 19th century, the sport of fly fishing began to develop into its modern form with the formation of fly fishing clubs in England. At this time the first complete books were written describing the types of equipment used and the methods for tying the various types of lures. The sport was very elitist at this time. It was thought to be a "gentleman's sport", and certain methods of fishing were considered proper while other methods were looked down on as being uncouth.
It is thought by many that the modern techniques of fly fishing were developed as a solution to a rather specific fishing circumstance. In many of the rivers in Southern England, fish lived among rather high growing weeds and a method was needed of dropping lures on the surface among the weeds without snagging the hooks. The method of "presenting" flies was the solution to this particular problem and the success of the procedure led to its use in other fishing circumstances.
When fly fishing spread to the United States and the Scandinavian countries, it lost its elitist connections. The anglers became more innovative and more willing to try different means and methods. Although at first fly fishing was used mostly for catching trout out of small streams, it gradually expanded into river and lake fishing. There are people now who are devoted to catching as many different species as possible using flies. Fly fishing has also spread to the salt water arena. Fly fishing in the shallow waters and flats for bone fish and tarpon has become a major part of salt water fishing.