Atop the Angling Mountain: The Five Stages of Fly Fishing

“I don’t remember when I first heard the phrase, but for a while now experienced fly fishers have been regaling new anglers with tales of “The Five Stages of Fly Fishing.” These are the levels we all go through at one point or another in our fly fishing careers; at least if we stick around long enough to move up the ladder…”

Nice article on the Hatch Magazine site, on  the five stages of fly-fishing – guess we all go through them or are going through them.

Mind you I am not sure that the five stages only apply to fly fishing – pretty sure they match all forms of fishing and fish.

Why Does No-one Bow to a Trout Anymore?

I recently noticed I was losing more hooked fish by way of broken leaders or hooks pulling out. Why? I checked the leader material I used and found no problem. Still tough as old boots and broke just over the line weight. No answers there.

Maybe it had something to do with today’s ultra fast-action rods? Rods I mostly used over the last ten years.

I think I am on to something. Here is why.

Blobs, Boobies, Bluster, Babble and Banter

And that is quite enough ‘b’s" for one day.

The debate about Blobs and Boobies has generated a good deal of air-time – most of it split fairly distinctly down between those who hold more ‘traditional’ notions of what constitutes good fly-fishing practice, and those who favour catching fish with what works and to hell with tradition.

I suspect part of the communication problem is exacerbated by the fact that when new flies such as the Booby and Blob are pictured, they are depicted in their dry state.


For instance the photo nearby shows a Booby when dry and wet. I think most will agree the wet Booby is a remarkably good baitfish  approximation. Add to this life-like appearance, the life-like action produced by the foam eyes floating the fly toward the surface after each pull on a sunk fly-line, and the sinuous movement of the marabou tail  and the illusion is complete.

Yes, Booby flies have copped some negative flack, especially about some anglers using the fly on a ‘heave and leave’ basis. That is simply casting out the fly and leaving it until some fish comes along and gobbles it. 

But to ban a fly that is effective for the many who fish it as fly fishermen, for the sake of the very few who fish it as bait fishermen seems to be a bit like using a sledge hammer to drive a tack. Besides I have observed some anglers using a couple of nymphs under a giant indicator or balloon on a heave and leave basis.

Any one who believes Booby flies should be banned because they ‘float’ underwater will, I trust, never use weighted lines or weighted nymphs for the same fractured logic in reverse. To decry a fly because it is effective when fished as a fly seems to strike at the very core of the inventiveness that has characterised the fly-tiers art since it began.

One part of the art of catching trout on the fly is to select a fly that will induce a trout to bite it. The next and perhaps most important part is to place the fly where the fish are feeding. This is perhaps what makes the Booby so effective.

Designing and using a fly that floats just off the bottom is a tactic equally as valid as using a fly or fly-line weighted to fish right on the bottom.

A wet Blob fly may approximate small bait fish as well – the sparkle body and marabou tail look remarkably different wet and in the water. Gone is the blob, in its place a sinuous attractor.

For more information on the Booby Fly, how to fish and tie it, see this.