Fly fishing is a method of catching fish with an artificial bait fashioned in such a way as to replicate an insect either flying or swimming, that attracts the fish to think it is a meal just waiting to be eaten. Realistically, any fish can be targeted and caught as long as the main food source is effectively duplicated by the fly being used.
The first recorded use of an artificial fly to catch fish may have been given to Claudius Aelianus a Roman, near the end of the 2nd century on the Astraeus River in Macedonia. However, William Radcliff in his 1921 book, Fishing from the Earliest Times, gave the credit to Marcus Valerius Martialis, born some two hundred years before Aelianus, but whoever it was that gets the credit, it was a long time ago that fishing with artificial flies got started and has evolved to what we have today.
Fly fishing rods have come a long way and have improved as they have advanced as have everything else in this sport. Rods now have evolved into a boron/graphite composite that is light weight and super strong along with tweaking the whip action to give it the right feel anyone could want. A 5 or 6 weight rod is probably the most used in most cases, but different weights are also popular depending on the fish you will be targeting. But the 5/6 weight rod is like the old Jeep, can be used for everything.
Fly fishing reels have also come a long way. Made of aircraft aluminum grade material makes these reels very versatile with a very strong frame. They resist rusting and corroding and will last a very long time. A very good value item for the money. They now come with large interchangeable arbors, cartridge systems and snap in spools. You can buy reels with 2 spools and you can buy more spools separately if your reel is designed to accept snap in spools, so check around and determine before hand if you might want to change lines and spools on your fishing trip. All reels come with either a right or left hand retrieve system, your choice when you buy it.
Fly lines are so varied it’s all personal choice. Either floating or sinking and even can come color coded. Get the ones that suit your needs best and by what works in your fishing area, so talk to other fly fishers what works for them. That also goes for Leaders and Tippets. This is where personal choice makes it your signature selection.