Our recent chat about center pin fishing got me thinking about what it really is that defines fly fishing…

Is it the flies we use? Maybe… but what makes those foamy, gummy, slinky, epoxy patterns any different from some lures?

Maybe it’s the rod. But then again, I’m having a hard time seeing a steadfast connection between a 14-foot, 9-weight two-hander and a 6-1/2-foot fiberglass 2-weight (but both are fly rods)…

Can’t be the line, could it? Granted, the weighted line is what we use to power the cast and propel flies… but I can tell you that a WF5F and a 7-weight belly connected to a 25-foot, 350-grain sinking head are two completely different animals.

Ah… maybe it’s the reel. Why do we call spin fishing spin fishing, and baitcasting baitcasting… and center pin fishing center pin fishing? You’re right, I was center pinning, not fly fishing. In fly fishing, there is some degree of uniformity of basic design in fly reels, from the click and pawl on the bamboo rod to the super disc drag on the tarpon rod.

What say you? I will give an autographed copy of the book Castwork to the best rationale for defining fly fishing (I’m also announcing the other book winner from the Iaconelli caption contest on Wednesday).

And best of all… on Wednesday, I’ll be sharing the most interesting answer for this question I’ve ever heard… one from 86-year-old steelhead fishing icon Frank Moore, with whom I fished Oregon’s North Umpqua River over the weekend. It was a thrill of a fishing lifetime… but more on that later.