Who Invented Fly Fishing – A Brief History of Fly Fishing

Who invented fly fishing that gets asked a lot the origin of fly fishing dates back to around 200 AD. It was first written about by Aelian he was born about 170 AD.

In one of his first writings called”On The Nature of Animals,” he talked about a way of catching fish. This fishing was supposed to have been invented by the people of Macedonia.

There is a species of fish that supposedly only lives in the Astraeus River in Macedonia. These fish feed on a fly that is only found in this region, they are not found anywhere else.

The Macedonians called this fly Hippouros, they look for food over the river. These flies are usually not far from the fish in the river below them. Because of this trait, it is easy for the fish to jump up and catch the flies.

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Macedonia Flies

The Macedonians saw the fish jumping for the flies they decided to use the flies to catch some fish. Because they are unclean and their people cannot touch this species of fly.

So they had to try and find something different. They came up with the idea to tie some red wool to a hook. Then they attached two feathers from under a rosters wattle to the wool on the fly. Then they used a 6-foot rod with about the same length of a line.

They then threw the line in the direction of the fish. The fish seeing this line disguised to look like a fly, think they are going to have a nice meal. But instead, are caught by the fisherman’s trap. So that is how fly fishing was developed.

Who Invented The Fly Fishing Rod?

I would guess that you could say that the Macedonians were the first to use a fly rod.

Aelian wrote that the Macedonians were catching trout on artificial flies and described how each fly was dressed (made).

The rod that they used was only about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and the line was the same length. The method they used was probably dapping, which is gently laying the bait on the surface of the water.

For several thousands of years, the fishing rod was short, not much more than a few feet in length. The earliest longer and a jointed rod is from Roman times, about the 4th century AD.

Rods were improved as heavy native woods were superseded by straight-grained, tough, elastic woods, such as lancewood and greenheart from South America and the West Indies, and by bamboo.

By the end of the 18th century, a technique was developed in which several strips of bamboo were glued together. This retained the strength and pliancy of the cane but greatly reduced the thickness of it.

Between 1865 and 1870 hexagonal rods, were made by laminating six triangular strips of bamboo. These were produced on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the 20th century, fly rods became shorter and lighter without sacrificing strength. Split bamboo was replaced by fiberglass and finally by carbon fiber known as graphite as the new rod material.

After the 1930s the fixed-spool reel was being used in Europe. Then after World War II, North America and the rest of the world this created a boom in spin casting.

The nylon monofilament line is developed in the late 1930s. This became dominant after World War II, as did braided lines and many other synthetic materials. Plastic coverings for fly lines which allowed them to float or sink without greasing. Plastic became the dominant material for artificial casting lures.

Who Invented The Fly Fishing Fly?

I would assume that the Macedonians are the first ones to make the first flies. This is since according to what I have read they are the ones that invented fly fishing.

According to the records what they did was fasten red wool around a hook. They then fixed two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles to the wool.

Artificial flies are many different types; some imitate an insect that flies or swims. Then others resemble a baitfish or a crustacean, other attractors that are known to attract fish even though they look like nothing in nature.

Flies can also be made either to float or sink. They range in sizes from a few millimeters to 30 cm long, but most are between 1 and 5 cm.

Artificial flies are usually made by fastening different types of hair, fur, feathers, or other materials. They use both natural and synthetic, materials to tie onto a hook.

When the first flies were tied they used natural materials, but synthetic materials are now popular and prevalent. Flies are tied in many different sizes, colors, and patterns to match local terrestrial and aquatic insects, along with baitfish, or other prey. They try to be attractive to the type of fish species that you are fishing for.

The History Of Fly Fishing

Fly fishing, which is also called Angling, is the sport of catching fish. They fly fish in freshwater or saltwater, typically with rod, line, and hook. Just like hunting, fishing originated as a means of providing food for survival.

Fishing as a sport is of considerable antiquity. An Egyptian scene of about 2000 BC shows figures fishing with rod and line and with nets. There is a Chinese account of about the 4th century BC that refers to fishing.

It is with a silk line, a hook made from a needle, and a bamboo rod, using cooked rice for bait. References towards fishing are also found in Greek, Assyrian, Roman, and Jewish writings.

Today, fishing is called sports fishing to distinguish it from commercial fishing. This is, despite the growth of towns and of the increase in pollution in many sources. Fly fishing is one of man’s principal relaxations and is, in many countries, the most popular participant sport.

Modern Anglers

The modern anglers problems are still those of his ancestor. Where to find some fish, and how to approach them, and what sort of bait to use. The angler must understand the wind and weather. Fishing is still what it has always been, a problem in applied natural history.

The history of angling is a large part of the history of tackle, as the equipment for fishing is called. One of man’s earliest tools was the predecessor of the fishhook was a gorge.

This piece of wood, bone, or stone an inch or so in length, pointed at both ends and secured off-center to the line. The gorge was then covered with some kind of bait. When a fish swallowed the gorge, a pull on the line wedged it into the gullet of the fish, which could then be pulled in.

With the coming of the use of metals, a hook was one of the first tools made. This was tied to a handline of animal or vegetable material, a method that is effective only when used from a boat.

The practice of attaching the line to a rod, at first probably a stick or tree branch. This made it possible to fish from the bank or shore and even to reach over vegetation bordering the water.

For many thousands of years, the fishing rod remained short, not more than a few feet in length. The earliest mention of a longer, jointed rod is from Roman times, about the 4th century AD.

The Future Of Fly Fishing

I believe that the sport of fly fishing is going to grow at a comfortable rate. Today I was reading some reports about fly fishing and they said that 31% of the fly fishermen were women.

I think that this is a very remarkable fact. That there are that many women who enjoy the great outdoors are unbelievable.

This sport has evolved with so many new rods, reels and lines it is hard to believe. Just in the last 50 years, there have been so many improvements in fly fishing gear.

I remember my first fly fishing outing, we went to a small reservoir it covered just 53 acres. It is mainly a holding pond for irrigation water that runs down from the mountains.

We went out with my nylon covered float tube, neoprene waders, and some swim fins. I also had an 8-foot Fenwick fiberglass rod and a Pflueger Medalist reel with a sinking line.

I had a blast even though I had never fly fished before. It took me several tries but I finally got my fly out there on the water. Then after a few strips wow I thought I had hooked a whale by the way he was fighting.

I ended up catching 4 more and then my brother in law wanted to try it so I let him. Needless to say, we were both hooked and so were our cousins that went with us.

We have been fly fishing for over 44 years. My health has deteriorated so that I can’t use my float tube but I own a boat that we go in.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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