The Appeal Of Fly-Fishing

Fishing is said to be the largest participant sport in the UK. Yes, more people would prefer to spend their days sitting on river banks or up to their thighs in the middle of some lake waiting for a tug on their line than walking around a golf course attempting to get a small white ball into a hole.

The Wind in the Willows - by the river bank

Personally neither pastime particularly excites me but – if I had to choose – the changing scenery of a well kept golf course and a brisk energetic walk around 18 holes would appeal more than joining Ratty, Mole, Toad and the other characters from the Wind in the Willows on some soggy river bank. I am afraid that I simply don’t have the patience for all that lonely, waiting which might not even result in a nibble.

But this decision is based on ignorance as I have never attempted angling and – let’s face it – that number of enthusiasts cannot all be wrong. So what is the appeal?

To find out, I went to London Vision Clinic surgeon, Glenn Carp.

The first thing that I discovered is that there is a world of difference between conventional fishing – which involves tossing your line in the water from its edge and waiting, perhaps for several hours, for a passing fish to show interest – and the different skills involved in fly fishing.

Glenn explained that fly fishermen are watching for the movement of a fish before casting their line where they suspect the fish might be resting. If this is in a river, the resting place is likely to be under a rock where there is least resistance to the water current. The line is held with one hand (no reel is involved) while a “fly” bait (which usually closely resembles a dragon fly) is used to tempt the fish.

And the difference between going home with freshly caught salmon or trout for dinner; or taking an empty bucket? Glenn explains a few tips and the necessary skills involved next time.