Fly Fishing with Lee Powers in Delaware
So Fly: Fooling fish with feather and fur
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And then there is the fly itself. A man-made imitation of an insect or tiny bait fish, artificial flies come in thousands of “patterns,” with strange and exotic names like zug bug, hare’s ear, wooly worm, bitch creek, blue-winged olive and rat-faced McDougal. They fall into two basic categories: dry—those meant to be fished on the surface; and wet—those fished below the surface. Wet flies usually represent the larva and pupa stages of insects, and generally are more effective than dry flies, which work well only when fish are “rising,” or feeding off the surface of the water. “There’s nothing like a surface strike,” says Bender. “You live for that.”
While most fly fishermen buy flies at tackle shops—for $1.50 or more each— many tie their own. “Fishing and tying go hand in hand,” says Tim O’Neill, a Marblehead employee. The shop sells a $79.95 Starter Tying Kit that includes a vise, scissors, bodkin, head cement, hooks, thread, some feathers, and instructions. “I strongly advise taking a fly-tying class to ease the learning curve,” say Peach.
Artificial flies are made primarily of hair and feathers, along with some synthetic material. The hair usually comes from rabbits, deer, squirrels and muskrats, the feathers from chickens, pheasants, peacocks and ducks. The demand is such that entire chicken farms are devoted to supplying feathers to the fly-tying industry.
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