“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 is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.