“Are You a Fly Fisherman?”

I get this simple question a lot. But, it takes me a while to answer. I CAN fly fish, and HAVE gone fly fishing many times but I cannot yet truly indentify myself as a fly fisherman. I’m not the only one who wanted to learn more about this class of angler.

A seminar at the 2014 ICAST (“the world’s largest sport fishing tradeshow”) moderated by takemefishing.org contributor, Tom Keer, addressed the differences between fly fishermen and “conventional” anglers (users of baitcaster and spinning reels. Basically, the rest of us.) Ken Cook, Managing Editor of Fishing Tackle Retailer Magazine and Ross Purnell, Editor of Fly Fisherman magazine shared some light on the profiles of these two types of anglers.

There are 46 million conventional anglers, and only 1 million fly fishermen. Fly fishermen may comfortably use Latin when sharing species of hatching insects for their beloved trout. Conventional anglers often work in the French word “chartreuse” when talking about a hot color for bass. On average, fly fishermen have higher salaries, are older, have completed more college credits, and travel more than their conventional counterparts. However, they fish fewer days of the year.

Perhaps the greatest distinction between the two factions is that the fly angler is a person more focused on How and Where the fish is caught than size or quantity. Fly anglers may also enjoy other activities that are similarly complex, less practical, and get fewer results such as archery and upland bird hunting.

Citing perhaps the most extreme example, Mr. Purnell shared that a fly-fishing muskie angler (“the fish of a thousand casts”) is an angler who is “willing to suffer.”

So, are you a fly fisherman? Or do you just fly fish? In any case, check our places to fish and boat interactive map to choose your next fly fishing spot!
Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.