Fly fishing is gaining popularity as it is a very interesting sport and there are many people who are participating in this activity. Novices at fly-fishing prefer to purchase all the gear they require including artificial flies. However, once they experience the thrills of the fishing activity, they are hooked on to it. They then think of making their own artificial flies to be continuously involved in the sport during the off-season too. Artificial flies may be a bit tricky to make but some of them are within the ability of most anglers. Some of them are quite easy enough to be made even by children, and this can help to get them interested in the fly-fishing activity.
The earliest use of artificial flies was made by Macedonian anglers, way back in the 2nd century. The Macedonian anglers tied a piece of red wool round the hook. They would tie small feathers to the red wool and make it into an artificial fly. They carried out the fly-fishing quite successfully with the help of these primitive fly-making techniques.
American anglers from the Catskill Mountains in New York began to experiment with the dry-fly designs in the 18th century. They began to design artificial flies to imitate the native insects around the stream that trout feed on. The artificial flies fooled the trout into believing that an edible insect has landed on the water. This discovery encouraged the study of insect hatches to decide which kind of artificial fly would be most successful for fly-fishing at different locations and times.
Artificial flies are comprised of a hook. The hook is disguised to look like a living insect that the targeted fish like to eat; the fish are attracted by the motion or the color used to imitate the live insect. Artificial flies were made by using wool, fur, feathers and other natural materials. However, the artificial flies are now being made using synthetic material. Even though there are a wide variety of synthetic dry flies to choose from, the basic characteristics of fly design have not changed much over the years.
Another new development in the artificial fly design is the barb less hook. Many anglers now practice the catch and release method of fly-fishing wherein the fish that is caught is released back into the water. The barb less hook is easier for the angler to extract from the fish and it ensures that the fish is not injured in the process. There are thousands of designs and styles of artificial flies and a selecting the appropriate one is a challenge for the new anglers.
The materials used to disguise the hook may have changed form natural items to synthetic stuff, over the passage of time. Fur, wool and feathers were the choice of the earlier times. The newer synthetic materials include foam, Mylar, plastic and metals. These synthetic materials are either glued or tied on to the hook in various patterns to attract the fish.