The Lines Are Blurred – Who Cares?

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Bawlker's Art of Angling (1854)
Bawlker’s Art of Angling (1854)

When I had the opportunity to talk with one of the masterminds* behind J. Stockard recently, the subject of what is and is not a fly came up. In simpler terms, when does a fly become something else—a lure, piece of hardware or bait? Is it material, construction technique, size, weight, what? Unfortunately, it is not a simple answer, especially if you hold some reverence for the sport of “fly fishing” and want to maintain some type of boundary between fly fishing and all those other dark side techniques like spinning, bait casting, jigging, trolling, etc. Although one might think this is just a tête-à-tête between natural and synthetic materials there’s more to it than that. We could simply say that if you are using a fly rod and fly line to propel (cast) your “fly” you are fly fishing and whatever is on the end of your tippet is a fly, not a lure. But that pronouncement has serious flaws as there are just too many exceptions and exclusions.

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