The History of Fly Fishing For Billfish

February 19, 2005 By: Marshall Cutchin

Vic Dunaway offers this comprehensive look at the origins and development of fly fishing for billfish, which demanded outsized creativity from its pioneers. The most interesting parts of the story have to do with Helen and Webster Robinson, who almost single-handedly gave the sport its momentum. “The caster’s impulse would be to throw his fly ahead of the fish, but trial and error proved to Robinson that this wasn’t the thing to do. A billfish which follows the fly is less likely to hit it, and if he does take it, the straight-on strike seldom results in a good hookup. [Webster] Robinson would throw his fly behind the irritated fish and pop it noisily. His aim was to make the fish wheel suddenly and crash the fly at a right angle. Almost invariably, when this was accomplished, the hook locked up tight.” In Florida Sportsman.