Fly Fishing Merit Badge Goes Far Beyond Fly Fishing
Want to learn to fly-fish? Ask a Boy Scout. The Boy Scouts of America now offers a merit badge in fly-fishing.
Earning the badge demands more than throwing a tight loop. Scouts are required to:
Explain to their counselor the injuries that could occur while fly-fishing and the proper treatment, including cuts, scratches, puncture wounds, insect bites, hypothermia, dehydration and heat reactions.
Explain how to remove a hook that has lodged in someone's arm.
Name and explain five safety practices you should always follow while fly-fishing.
Discuss how to match a fly rod, line and leader to get a balanced system.
Discuss several types of fly lines and explain how and when each would be used.
Review how to care for this equipment.
Demonstrate how to tie proper knots to prepare a fly rod for fishing.
Tie backing to a fly reel using the arbor knot. Attach the backing to the fly line using the nail knot. Attach a leader to the fly line using the needle knot, nail knot or loop-to-loop connection. Add tippet to the leader using a double surgeon's loop or blood knot. Tie a fly on the terminal end of the leader using the improved clinch knot.
Explain how each of the following types of flies are used: dry, wet, nymphs, streamers, bass bugs and poppers. Know what each imitates. Tie at least two types of the flies mentioned in this requirement.
Demonstrate the ability to cast a fly consistently and accurately using overhead and roll cast techniques.
Go to a suitable fishing location and make observations on the types of insects fish may be eating. Look for flying insects and some that might be on or beneath the water's surface. Look under rocks. Explain the importance of matching the hatch.
Explain the importance of practicing "leave no trace" and how it positively affects fly-fishing resources.
Obtain a copy of the regulations affecting game fish and where they live.
Explain when they were adopted and what is accomplished by following them.
Explain what good outdoor sportsmanlike behavior is and how it relates to fishermen. Tell how the Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America relates to a fishing enthusiast, including the aspects of littering, trespassing, courteous behavior and obeying fishing regulations.
Using fly-fishing techniques, catch two kinds of fish and identify them. Release at least one of them unharmed. Clean and cook another fish.
-- Gary Garth
Source: Boy Scouts of America - BSA - National Council