Home | BGAV Blog | Fishing on the Fly

Fishing on the Fly

Trout swimming in the headwaters of the Snake River in Idaho. Photo by author.
Trout swimming in the headwaters of the Snake River in Idaho. Photo by author.

Posted: 7/11/15 at 8:15am. Column by Ed Jordan.

Summer is a time when people’s attentions turn to fishing, among other things. So I wanted to share a few things that I have learned about fishing.

Fishing is both an art and a science. It is a science in that there is much hard data that can help someone become a better fisherman (or fisherwoman).  Successful fishermen begin a fishing excursion by determining what kind of fish they wish to catch.

If you wish to catch trout you will need to use techniques and lures or bait that are geared to trout. If you wish to catch bass you will use different equipment, and if you are fishing for pike or shark, you need leader lines that won’t be damaged by their teeth.

Fishing is a science, requiring accurate information about fish and their feeding habits. When fishing for a particular type you need to know what they feed on, in order to choose the best bait. It is good to know where and when they like to feed in the body of water you will be fishing.

If they feed towards the bottom of the water then you will need weighted lines and bait appropriate to fish feeding in deeper water. If the fish feed mainly on surface insects then you want to be fishing with a fly rod with floating line and flies. Knowing when the fish feed is also important scientific data.

Trout and bass often feed in the early morning or early evening. Mid-day is not a prime time for fishing for surface feeding fish. If you’re fishing in a stream, it’s important to understand where the fish like to hang out at various times of the day.  You have to fish where the fish currently are if you hope to catch anything.

Fishing is also an art, which requires your senses and personal skills to make the bait move like the real thing would move.  In fly-fishing you “whip” the fly forward and back, letting out more and more line until there is enough line in the air to have the fly land where you want it to land.  Then you release the line and follow through as the line rolls out across the pond and your fly drops near the fish.

Through observation you can see a trout feeding on the surface, making circular “drains” that suck the insect off the surface and into the trout’s mouth. You can see the trout moving across the pond, by watching for the circles on the surface of the water.

Then it’s just a matter of timing and artistic ability to gently lay your fly on the surface of the water in the path where the trout is going, and setting the hook when he strikes the lure.  When bringing your fly back towards the shore, you have to pretend that you actually are the insect, and also visualize what the fish is doing in response to your fly’s movement.

Insects move in little spurts in the water, like a wounded bug would move trying to get to shore, pausing in order to gain strength for the next spurt. This pause also gives the fish a chance to catch you, i.e. catch up to the fly. When they do this you catch the fish.

In this interesting account in John 21:5-6 (NLT), Jesus interacted with His disciples. “He (Jesus) called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied. Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”

The disciples were professional fishermen who had fished all night, and caught nothing. They were feeling frustrated. When Jesus asked them if they had caught anything, they had to admit that on their own they had caught nothing. When they did what Jesus told them to do, they caught a miraculous catch of fish. As this happened, they recognized that the one instructing them was Jesus, the Lord.

Perhaps like the disciples, in their night of fishing, you too are experiencing significant frustration from something right now, and you would love to experience a change in your life. Why not consult Jesus for some advice? He knows more about our lives than anyone else, and therefore can guide us into a more blessed life.

Have a great summer, full of good fishing, and new experiences with God.

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.