Fly Fishing with Lee Powers in Delaware
So Fly: Fooling fish with feather and fur
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For about $120, Marblehead can get the beginner on the water with what Peach calls the “Ready to Fish Outfit”: a nine-foot, 5- or 6-weight fly rod, a reel with fly line and backing, and a 7 ½-foot leader. Add pliers/hemostat, nipper, a few flies, hip boots or chest waders, a fishing vest and license, and you’re up to about $300. A small price for what Peach calls “a sport for a lifetime. And it’s all about having fun.”
For some, the sport transcends fun. Instead, it becomes a near-mystical experience, combining the cerebral— outwitting the wily trout with artificial lures—and spiritual—communing with nature. “It can be like recreating yourself,” says Rick Bender, a Marblehead regular. “It washes away the angst.”
Both the fun and the mystique begin with the lightweight rod, traditionally made of bamboo but nowadays more likely to be graphite or fiberglass. When you catch a fish on the wand-like fly rod and play it into submission without snapping the nearly invisible leader, you can feel its strength and power.
Casting the nearly weightless fly is a graceful, precise movement that adds to the mystique. It requires some skill and coordination to deposit the fly in a spot where trout are likely to strike it. “It’s a lot less mechanical than spin fishing, where the reel is like a little machine that does the work for you,” says Desmond Kahn, a biologist with the State Division of Fish and Wildlife. “In fly fishing, the reel basically just stores the line, and it’s up to your timing and technique to make the proper cast.”
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