The Compleat Angler author Izaak Walton famously said that he had “laid aside business and gone a-fishing.” Today, 370 years later, far too few of us follow his example. It isn’t only that we’re all plugged in, attached to devices, and hopelessly harried; it’s that, sadly, many people think of fly fishing as work–the last thing we need more of! Perhaps dispelling a few of the myths that surround the quiet sport of fly fishing will go a long way toward encouraging us to join the spirit of Izaak Walton on Texas’ plentiful waterways.

Kayaks are often used by fly anglers to improve access to good fishing spot. Photo Credit: Old Town Canoe

Myth #1: Fly fishing is new.

Actually our old friend Walton was a latecomer to the sport! Fly fishing dates at least as far back as the Egyptians.

Myth #2: Fly fishing is complicated.

In fact, nothing could be simpler: Conventional anglers cast bait or a weighted lure, whereas fly anglers cast a weighted line. It’s the line that carries the fly–an artificial lure–rather than the reverse. 

Myth #3: Fly tying is hard.

Perhaps, perhaps not–but does that even matter? It’s as easy as pie to pick up flies from a fly shop. These fly patterns mimic just about anything a fish would eat, from midges, dragonflies, and bees, to frogs, baitfish, and even baby ducklings.

Bass are often the target of fly anglers in Texas. Photo credit: Danny Soluta

Myth #4: Fly anglers fish for trout.

Jerry Hamon–pro-staffer for Old Town Canoe, owner of River Crossing Fly Fishing Guide Service, and veteran fly angler for decades–begs to differ: “Right here in Texas, you can fly fish for darn near anything, including bass, Guadalupe River trout, carp, longnose gar, catfish, cichlids, bluegills, speckled sea trout, red drum….”

Myth #5: Fly fishing is expensive.

Just like conventional tackle, an entry-level fly-fishing kit can be had for peanuts. Sure, when you inevitably become obsessed with fly fishing, you will spend money on your new, beloved hobby. But isn’t that true of any habit worthy of the name?

Myth #6: Fly fishing is for someone else.

Whether you believe that the quiet sport is for someone richer than you are or someone who looks different from you–frankly, you’re wrong. Fly angling is for everyone, from every walk of life.

If you’re ready to give the quiet sport a shot, then you’ll want to be at the 6th Annual Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival, held entirely indoors at the Mesquite Convention Center this weekend (February 24-25, 2024) and featuring numerous lectures and free and specialty classes–including free walkup casting instruction from Good Fly. More than 85 vendors will attend the Texas Fly & Brew, including locals like Plano’s Dirty Water Fly Co.; lodges and guide services from destination fisheries in Alaska, Belize, Mexico, and Brazil; kayak experts like Dallas-based Mariner-Sails; fly tyers and outdoor artists; specialty food purveyors; numerous guides, rod makers, and outfitters from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado; and of course, Texas microbreweries Twisted X, Hop & Sting, and Four Corners. Saturday evening also features a Festival VIP After-Party, which is open to the public.

More women are entering the sport of fly fishing each year. Left photo courtesy of Jaz Robinson.

Attention, women anglers: Don’t miss the Texas Fly & Brew’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium, sponsored by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation! Students will meet new friends and learn from expert anglers–including members of the USA Women’s Fly Fishing Team–how to rig a fly rod, how to fish from a kayak, how to select the right flies and gear for a local outing, and much more. Lunch and a weekend pass to the Texas Fly & Brew are included in the Beyond the Cast fee. 

To see a short video about this year’s festival with multiple speakers click here.

For more information visit the Texas Fly & Brew website:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Moonlit Fly Rods

Simon Trask
Author: Simon Trask

Simon loves Texas and the Great Outdoors. From East Texas pines to West Texas mountains, he calls North Texas home but is always ready to float a river in Hill Country or go fishing on the Gulf Coast. Simon loves camping and road trips as well, whether it's cruising Highway 287, 82, 69 or 281, that's the true way to see what Texas is all about!

Join the Texas Outside newsletter