Fishing with an artificial fly is recorded as long ago as the 2nd century, where wool and feathers where tied to hooks to lure fish, but modern fly fishing as we know it, is recognised as having its roots in the chalk streams of England and the salmon rivers of Scotland. The first significant book being, The Tryeatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle, was published in 1496, which includes the first known published dressings for tying, fly patterns. The book’s
author, Dame Juliana Berners, was an English nun with a passion for falconry, hunting and fishing.
The main concept in fly fishing is that the artificial fly shall imitate an insect or other prey of the fish, not only visually but also in behaviour, on or in the water.
Early tackle consisted of horse hair and silk plaited lines, bamboo and split cane rods and simple reels, whose only purpose was line storage.
After a steady growth in the sport’s popularity internationally, the development of new high performance tackle quickly followed, with fibre glass rods and PVC lines, that were made in many densities from floating to fast sinking and light alloy, machined reels that had brakes. Today the development of fly fishing equipment is backed by space age nano technology and materials, each manufacture trying to deliver the ultimate, in tackle performance, lightness and strength.
Originally and only until recently, the last 100 years, the fly fisherman´s quarry was mainly salmon and trout, but with the development of lighter and stronger tackle, along with the fly fisherman´s adventurous pursuit of bigger and more aggressive sport, just about every game fish species in both fresh and salt water is now fished for with fly.