Angling or Fly Fishing, Wolfgang Fabisch

Is fly fishing really that elitist?

Fabisch Fly Fish Blog

Angling or Flyfishing, Is there a Difference?


The difference between angling and fly fishing

Angling means all kinds of fishing using a hook and a line and thus includes fly fishing! I admit that fly fishing used to be a sport for those who considered themselves elite, and it used to be rather costly. So only the well-to-do had a chance to indulge in flyfishing. Frequently, flyfishers were supposed to hire a "Lagelträger", i.e. a person who carried the catch alive in sort of a little wooden barrel, and served as sort of a guide and warden at the same time.

Hard, poorly paid work. Despite the poor fees, common people could not afford flyfishing. Fishing gear, all manufactured by hand, was unaffordable, not even to speak of the prices of fishing permits. Poaching - fishing without a permit - brought about draconic punishment.


Meanwhile I´ve been fishing with a flyrod for 50 years, and these years have seen a lot of change. I remember quite well how my father took off his pants to retrieve a dry fly caught on a bush on the other bank of the Diemel. Karstatt, then a big department store, sold those flies at prices ranging from 15 to 20 cents apiece. To get my first carbon flyrod, I made a special deal with a tackle shop in Nuremberg. Half of the selling price was to be paid in natural produce, i.e. earthworms collected on the banks of the Pegnitz.


The Price of Fishing Tackle


Similar arrangements are not the rule anymore, and they´re not necessary either. Until about 10 to 15 years ago people used to ask why rods and reels for fly fishing were so much more expensive compared to normal fishing tackle. The answer is simple, let us for instance take a fender for automobiles: if you make fenders for VWs, one tool for the press will stamp 650,000 pieces before it has to be replaced. The tool to stamp fenders for Ferraris costs roughly the same price, but a whole series of cars needs only 300 fenders, once these are made, you can discard the tool.


So the price depends considerably on the quantities produced. A couple of years ago we had about 50,000 flyfishers as compared to a total of 5,000,000 anglers. A lot has changed since then. The number of flyfishers is steadily rising, and tackle for flyfishing or plain angling is available in price ranges from bargain to luxury class. So general angling and flyfishing are not so far apart anymore, at least as far as prices are concerned.



Angling and fly fishing have become closer to each other, especially for the younger generations. Among older flyfishers you may still occasionally find some prejudice towards other anglers. What we all want is to pursue our wonderful pastime in an unspoiled natural environment, so let´s enjoy it while we can! What would be important for flyfishers and anglers likewise is to agree on the tools to use and those to ban, especially in Germany! The use of double or treble hooks is ages old, and should be strictly banned today. In the New World, i.e. USA and Canada, most good waters require the use of single barbless hooks exclusively. I will comment on this shortly.

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