Fly fishing: the art of tying artificial flies

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The art of creating artificial flies for fishing has a long history, possibly dating back to 200 A.D., according to There were descriptions of Macedonian fishermen tying red wool and two cock feathers onto a hook and throwing it with a pole and line in the water to entice fish to bite the “fly.”

According to the way they are fished, flies are usually categorized by dry, wet, nymphs, streamers and saltwater varieties. They can range in sizes of a tiny gnat tied on hook to a foot-long baitfish pattern tied on a big-game fishhook.

The way the flies are made has likely not changed for centuries. Wool or other synthetic material is wrapped on the shank of the hook to create the “body,” leaving only the barb showing. Bird feathers, animal furs or other man-made materials are tied on top of the “body” to mimic wings, antennae or legs. Some bright and shiny materials can be tied on for special effect to attract more fish.

The flies pictured in this Darkroom post are provided courtesy of Theaux Le Gardeur, of Backwater Angler in Monkton, just minutes from the Gunpowder River, one of the best wild trout streams in the nation, Le Gardeur says.