Artificial fly is an angling term closely associated with the sport of fly fishing although artificial flies may be used in other forms of angling. In general, artificial flies are the bait which fly fishers present to their Fly fishing target species of fish while fly fishing. Artificial flies are constructed by the practice of fly tying. Artificial flies may be constructed to represent all manner of potential freshwater and saltwater fish prey to include aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, worms, baitfish, vegetation, flesh, spawn, small reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds, etc. Artificial flies were originally constructed from various furs, feathers, threads and hooks. Today there are literally dozens of different types of natural and synthetic materials used to construct artificial flies. In the early years of fly fishing through the mid-20th Century, effective artificial fly patterns were said to be killing flies because of their ability to put fish in the creel for the fly fisher. By the mid-19th Century, there were thousands of artificial fly patterns. Today, the number of distinct patterns is probably incalculable. The term Fly lure is a British term which describes a fly which is designed to provoke curiosity rather than imitate a bait.
The first literary reference to flies and fishing with flies was in Ælian’s Natural History probably written about 200 A.D. That work discussed a Macedonian fly. The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle was published (1496) within The Boke of St. Albans attributed to Dame Juliana Berners. The book contains, along with instructions on rod, line and hook making, dressings for different flies to use at different times of the year. Probably the first use of the term Artificial fly came in Izaac Walton's The Compleat Angler (1653).
Oh my good Master, this morning walk has been spent to my great pleasure and wonder: but I pray, when shall I have your direction how to make Artificial flyes, like to those that the Trout loves best?
At the same time Walton was writing The Complete Angler, John Denny published The Secrets of Angling (1652) which contains the first known illustration of an artificial fly.
By the early 1800s, the term Artificial fly was being routinely used in angling literature much like this representative quote from Thomas Best's A Concise Treatise on the Art of Angling (1807) to refer to all types of flies used by fly fishers.
The art of artificial fly-fishing, certainly has the pre-eminence over the other various methods that are used to take fishes in the art of angling
Although the term fly was an obvious reference to an imitation of some flying insect, by the mid-1800s the term fly was being applied to a far greater range of imitation.
The term fly is applied by sea fishermen to a certain arrangement of feathers, wax, etc., which I am about to describe the manufacture of, and which may be used with considerable success in mackerel, basse, and pollack fishing. I am not disposed to think, however, that such baits are ever mistaken by the fish which they are intended to capture for flies; but the number used, the way in which they are mounted, viz., several on one trace, and the method of their progress through the water, rather leads me to the belief that they are mistaken for a number of small fry, and treated accordingly.
A major concept in the sport of fly fishing is that the fly imitates some form of fish prey when presented to the fish by the angler. As aquatic insects such as Mayflies, Caddisflies and Stoneflies were the primary prey being imitated during the early developmental years of fly fishing, there were always differing schools of thought on how closely a fly needed to imitate the fish's prey.
In the mid to late 1800s, those schools of thought, at least for trout fishing were: the formalists (imitation matters) and the colourists (color matters most). Today, some flies are called attractor patterns because in theory, they do not resemble any specific prey, but instead attract strikes from fish. Paul Schullery in American Fly Fishing - A History (1996) explains however that although much has been written about the imitation theories of fly design, all successful fly patterns must imitate something to the fish, and even a perfect imitation attracts strikes from fish. The huge range of fly patterns documented today for all sorts of target species-trout, salmon, bass and panfish, pike, saltwater, tropical exotics, etc. are not easily categorized as merely imitative, attractors or something else.
|Dry Fly - A Dry fly is designed to be buoyant, or to float on the surface of the water. Dry flies typically represent the adult form of an aquatic or terrestrial insect. Dry flies are generally considered freshwater flies. Emergers are flies which float in the surface film.|
|Wet Fly - A Wet fly is designed to sink below the surface of the water. Wet flies have been tied in a wide variety of patterns to represent larva, nymphs, pupa, drowned insects, baitfish and other underwater prey. Wet flies are generally considered freshwater flies.|
|Nymph - A Nymph fly is designed to resemble the immature form of aquatic insects and small crustaceans. Nymph flies are generally considered freshwater flies.|
|Emerger- An Emerger fly is designed to resemble the not quite mature hatching aquatic insect as it leaving the water to become an adult insect. Emerger flies are generally considered freshwater trout flies.|
|Streamer - A Streamer fly is designed to resemble some form of baitfish or other large aquatic prey. Streamer flies may be patterned after both freshwater and saltwater prey species. Streamer flies are a very large and diverse category of flies as streamers are effective for almost any type of gamefish.|
|Terrestrials - Terrestrial flies are designed to resemble non-aquatic insects, crustaceans and worms that could fall prey to feeding fish after being blown or falling onto the water.|
|Bass and Panfish Flies, Bugs and Poppers - Bass and panfish flies, bugs and poppers are generally designed to resemble both surface and sub-surface insect, crustacean, baitfish prey consumed by warm-water species such as Largemouth bass or bluegill. This genera of flies generally includes patterns that resemble small mammals, birds, amphibians or reptiles that may fall prey to fish.|
|Pike and Musky Flies - Pike and Muskie flies are generally designed to resemble both surface and sub-surface crustacean, baitfish prey consumed by species of the genus Esox such as Northern Pike or Muskellunge. This genera of flies are larger than bass flies and generally includes patterns that resemble baitfish and small mammals, birds, amphibians or reptiles that may fall prey to fish.|
|Carp Flies - Carp flies are designed to resemble various vegetative sources of food that carp feed on such as berries, seeds and flowers that may fall into the water.|
|Salmon Flies - Salmon flies are a special genera of flies tied specifically to fly fish for Atlantic Salmon. Salmon flies may be classified as lures but they maybe dry flies such ast the bomber. Salmon flies are also tied in classic and contemporary patterns.|
|Steelhead and Salmon (Pacific) Flies - Steelhead and Pacific Salmon flies are designed for catching andronomous steelhead trout and pacific salmon in western North American and Great Lakes rivers.|
|Egg Flies - Egg Flies are designed to resemble the spawn of other fish that maybe encountered in a river and consumed by the target species. These are considered unsporting in Europe where thay are frowned upon!|
|Flesh Flies - Flesh Flies are designed to resemble the rotting flesh of pacific salmon encountered in a river and consumed by the target species.|
|Saltwater Flies - Saltwater flies are a genera of flies designed to represent a wide variety of inshore, offshore and estuarial saltwater baitfish, crustacean and other saltwater prey. Saltwater flies generally are found in both sub-surface and surface patterns.|
|Bonefish Flies - Bonefish flies are a special genera of saltwater flies used to catch Bonefish in shallow water. Bonefish flies generally resemble small crabs, shrimp or other crustaceans.|
|Tarpon Flies - Tarpon flies are a special genera of saltwater flies used to catch Tarpon in both inshore and offshore waters. Tarpon flies generally represent small baitfish commonly preyed upon by tarpon.|
|Striped Bass Flies - Striped Bass flies are a special genera of freshwater-saltwater fly used to catch Striped Bass in freshwater, inshore and offshore waters. Striped flies generally represent small baitfish commonly preyed upon by striped bass.|
Welsh Wild Brown Trout Is a Precious Species Worth Saving; APRIL FEEDING FRENZY DUE - SERVING GRANNOM AND EGGS
Mar 29, 2011; Byline: MOC MORGAN I'M SURE that at some time we have all fallen victim to an April Fool's prank. I have been caught out many a...