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Fly Fishing for Dummies (Arkansas version) – Part 1

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History Of Fly Fishing


Fly fishing has been around in various forms for many years. Early historical records indicate that Macedonian fishermen were using artificial flies to catch fish as early as the second century. The Roman Claudius Aelianus described the Macedonian anglers as using six-foot rods with six-foot line. Aelianus detailed how the Macedonian fishermen would craft artificial flies from a hook with red wool and insect wings tied on. These Macedonian fishermen were apparently quite successful with their technique. There is also some evidence that fishing with artificial flies may even predate the second-century Macedonian techniques.

Unfortunately, little else was written about ancient fly fishing methods. It was 1496 before any major work was published describing fly fishing.

It is thought that modern fly fishing probably developed in England and Scotland. Fly fishing techniques similar to modern techniques began to be developed in England in the 19th century. Around this time fly fishing clubs were also formed in England to accommodate a growing interest in the sport. Part of the interest in fly fishing in southern England was because of the prevalence of shallow, weedy rivers. Fly fishing proved to be well-adapted to this type of watercourse.

Fly fishing quickly became something of an elitist sport in England. Fly fishing purists insisted on fishing with dry flies only and looked down on wet fly fishing as being inferior. Wet fly fishing continued to be developed around the same time, however.  The US and Scandinavia also saw fly fishing popularity increase during the 19th century. However, anglers in the US and Scandinavia did not share the English view concerning the superiority of dry fly fishing.  US and Scandinavian anglers fished both dry and wet flies. Read more about Fly Fishing for Dummies (Arkansas version) – Part 1