H2O Magazine




Some fly anglers travel the world to discover far-out and remote destinations, to visit the parts of the world that, somehow, still seem intact. Some have their own favorite waters, their own piece of heaven where they observe and learn every little thing and they keep doing that for many years.

Some call themselves addicts, some like to have company while some like to spend their time by the water alone. Some like the rush of adrenalin and some say it relaxes them more than meditation, some are deeply in love with the unique shapes of a fly line and some spend hours and hours sitting by the vise and creating nothing but  beauty and magic.

The skills required to play a nice complex piece on a guitar, to paint a touching painting, to put the words in a sentence in a perfect, fascinating way, are no different than the skills required to tie a beautiful fly. The logical explanation would be that it is the purpose that makes the difference.

If a crowd of fly anglers would be gathered and asked to describe fly fishing in a few words, the most used words would be: addiciton, passion, adventure, game, love, sport and art. The art of fly fishing! If you take some time to think about it, fly fishing is and can be many things but there is that one question that is asked and talked about the most: is fly fishing an art?


Art is, by definition, a process or an activity done by people with a communicative or aesthetic purpose with a unique goal to express an idea or emotion or a world view.

As a form of human expression of a creative nature in a diverse range of human activities, art is an evolving and global concept and today more than ever, art is  not only used  to express one’s skill or to present beauty, art is used to send a message.

Art is made from a subjective perspective and is perceived subjectively, it is made to touch people and with that being said, art is a message. Art comes in various forms, shapes and sizes: from visual and performing arts to literature or any other media. You can use art to communicate in many levels – you don’t need to speak the same language, be of the same age or the same race.

All you have to do is to watch, observe,  listen,  be willing to feel and to be open to experience something new. The power of art is amazing and it would be hard to imagine life of humans without it.

American playwright and actor  Harvey Fierstein said it pretty well: „Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate“ and this could easily be the simplest definition of art.


Throughout  the history, fly fishing has often been described as art or a form of it. Many well known writers have written about fly fishing in a solemn, divine way. That hasn’t changed until today and now, probably more than ever, fly fishing, at least among the worldwide nation of fly anglers, is considered to be an art or a form of it.

Someone who knows nothing about fly fishing will definitely ask some questions. They would probably argue as well. Why so? How can fly fishing be art? How can art be related to fly fishing? What is so divine about fly fishing? Without any doubts, fly fishing has been a constant source of inspiration for many years, it inspired writers, poets, screenwrighters, musicians, painters and photographers.

It still inspires artist all over the world. But that doesn’t really answer the question, does it? So, is fly fishing an art? Let’s give it a try. There is a lot of expression and creativity involved in fly fishing and fly fishing is not just about catching fish. It is much, much more. While casting that fly line, we  create all those beautiful movements, it sometimes appear to be magical.

Fly fishing can easily „turn the switch on“ and create an aesthetic experience in the angler’s mind. The flies are something else, something worth of admiring and there both skill and creativity are needed to tie a beautiful fly. Some of them are true masterpieces, tied with so much skill and passion to present the beauty from the smallest detail to the big picture.

Today, more than ever, fly anglers are very clear when it comes to sending messages and, be it an image taken with a mobile phone, a song or a beautiful painting, the message remains the same – fly anglers have a strong connection to nature and waters and they want others to know how important it is to keep the nature preserved. To show the beauty of waters and creatures that live underwater, to show and share their love and passion.

Among its other powers, fly fishing definitely has the power to transform and illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate. By that definition, fly fishing can easily fit in as a form of art and for most fly anglers, that will be just enough.

Alexandar Vrtaric

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