One of the main reasons why fly fishing is such a fascinating and time-consuming activity (some would claim it´s a life style), is that it´s not just about catching fish. Actually, there are several distinct spin-off hobbies within fly fishing:
Some people get really into entomology. They study the creatures that fish feed on, and spend more time searching the water bed for bugs than they actually do fishing. This sub-hobby often makes them experts in Latin as well.
Fly tying is a winter activity for most flyfishers, but tying flies becomes a sport in itself for some. Many compete in tying the neatest and most original flies. Despite the fact that the millions of existing fly patterns work just fine, new patterns and variations are invented every day.
Others get into photography, and end up dragging truck-loads of cameras and lenses around, hunting for that one magical shot.
Allthough many release a lot of their catch, the art of outdoor cooking is as important as the fishing for many, especially for those who like to camp out in the wild.
And the gear… Fly fishing gear is an endless source of debate among flyfishers. Some take it to the next level and become collectors, filling their houses with gear they´re never gonna use. They spend night and day on ebay, searching for the next “bargain”.
Hiking, canoeing, the study of geography, meteorology and even geology are examples of other popular spin-off hobbies.
But the fly cast itself is perhaps the most popular spin-off activity. The fly cast is a strange thing – it really is a quite impractical way of introducing a bait to a fish. The spinning rod is arguably a much more rational tool.
The fly cast has a lot in common with the golf swing – it isn´t difficult to make it happen, but you never fully master it. Lots of people spend more time casting than fishing, and some fly casters barely fish at all – they spend all their time on lawns, fields or casting ponds, trying to achieve the perfect zen-cast – the one that never stops flying and disappears into the horizon. And competitions in fly casting are held in all corners of the world.
Well, here are some very nerdy yet fascinating videos for you. The first one is recorded with a high-speed camera, and the caster is the Norwegian legend Sven Kalmar (courtesy of SuperRattus´ youtube channel – lots more there):
This one is by the Norway-based Swede Mikael Blomberg, who is one of Scandinavia´s best fly casters. It´s from one of his daily practice sessions on the snow. Enjoy :
And finally, some really strange and wonderful stuff – again by Sven Kalmar. This is getting pretty arty: