The Complete Angler
Fishing or angling is a fun sport and fishing trips are adventures that anglers partake in and enjoy going on. Catching fish is the objective of our game and also to spend time outdoors and with friends who share the same interest. Many anglers start out fishing at a young age using lines rolled around metal cans, plastic spools, etc. Some start with a branch, a line, and a hook. Of course we grow up and so does our game.
From here some continue fishing with poles instead of branches, foam pieces are replaced with specialized floats, sinkers are now called split shots, and an elastic allows for shock absorption. The game is also much more technical now. It involves reading the water such as depth, movement (currents, winds, etc.). With these information; different types of floats are used and different types of split shots are used depending on the rig and the conditions. There are lots more such as studying the floats (movement), etc.
In battle with a hard fighting fish; bottom fishing at a pond.
While few move on to pole fishing, many go on to bottom fishing with a spinning rod and reel. Here we master the art of casting our baits as far out into the lake, river, or sea. We also employ various techniques and tricks such as the use of bite indicators, special ways of preparing our baits, bait presentations, etc. We have advanced our game and become a more advanced and also more discerning angler. We have become “trappers” in a sense. We lay out baits and wait for the fish to take them. Most anglers stop at this stage. They further grow at their bottom fishing game employing and creating certain bait mixes and formulas to catch fish more effectively.
Some anglers go on a step further picking up a new game called bait casting. Here we become “hunters” instead of just “trappers.” We start to learn new things such as how to cast and manage a bait casting reel and rod. Yes, casting and operation of a bait casting reel is different as compared to spinning reels.
Bait casting tackle.
There is more. We start to learn more about the places we fish in. We learn to read the environment and waters that we fish in. We start to learn about fish habitats, behaviour, etc. We no longer cast out baits and wait for a bite. Now we hunt for fish and employ techniques like sight casting. We learn to be stealthy, to be invisible, to be there but not there. We also learn to cast more accurately as we want our lures to get really close to our targets and tricking it to take a bite. Fooling fishes gives plenty of satisfaction.
Fighting a fish that took the metal jig.
From here some anglers take up jigging where metal jigs are dropped or cast out and “danced” with at the bottom (at various depths) with the hopes of attracting a bite. Here the skill learnt and used is to “dance” with the jigs that have their own characteristics and actions. This is mostly done at sea with a few employing this game on freshwater lakes.
Casting a fly is unlike any other styles or types of fishing.
Then fewer still advance to fly fishing. Fly Fishing is like “hunting” but in a refined manner. This time we learn about insects and various other things that fishes eat. We learn how to and tie flies that mimic these things. But that is just one part of it. Casting a fly rod is another thing altogether. When it comes to fly fishing everything becomes an art especially casting. The more discerning of you would have probably figured out by now that casting a fly is the opposite of casting lures and baits.
When we cast lures and baits, it is the weight of these lures and baits that propel them to an intended target. But when it comes to fly fishing, it is the fly line that delivers the fly stealthily to spooky fish. Of course this will require the angler to learn a new set of skills. Both a fly fishing rod and a casting rod catch fish but execution of the casts are much different.
Fly fishing reel, rod, and line.
Now it is no more about how hard you can cast as force no longer equals distance. Now it is how well you can gently get your fly line out. On a spinning or casting outfit, the tip of the rod moves in an arc. Somewhere on the forward side of that arc, the lure or bait is cast out. However, on a fly rod, we are trying to move the rod tip in somewhat a straight line instead of an arc. The idea is to gently and in an un-rolling motion of the fly line via a ‘loop’ to gently present your fly into the strike zone making as little disturbances as possible. This is followed by manipulating the fly, mimicking what it was designed to represent (natural food of the fish in the area).
While going into fly fishing is like taking up a whole new art and game, a whole new learning experience, and most certainly a challenge; it is also rewarding. Learning something new is always rewarding but what is even more rewarding is that you can fish in every game. Imagine going fishing with your friends in a paradise such as New Zealand and everyone does fly fishing. Whether you are going to enjoy yourself or not depends on whether you will be fishing with them or just watching them fish.
Fly casting is a whole new style of fishing to learn.
The Complete Angler
To be an angler is simple. One just needs to learn how to fish. Any game or fishing discipline one picks up makes one an angler. But to be a complete angler one must know and be able to practise all fishing disciplines. There is a benefit to this. Should you go to a place where only Lure fishing is allowed, you can still fish if you know how to fish with lures. Should your friend only have bait casters to lend you; say when you visit him or her and he or she decides to take you fishing in their magical secret fishing hole, and you can cast a bait casting reel; you will be having a blast. Or when only fly fishing tackle is available and you can cast out a fly; you will certainly be having a good time.
Now, if you do not know how to use a bait casting reel, are unable to cast flies, and do not know how to fish with lures; it becomes a disadvantage to you. There is no greater satisfaction for a keen angler to learn the many disciplines, techniques and the art of sportfishing. This category of angler always takes these skills along no matter where in the world they go. At least you get to enjoy our sport and will not get left out. And only when you can fish using various fishing disciplines and or games can you declare yourself to be THE Complete Angler.
Follow us in the next issue where we step into the world of fly fishing.