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BSA Fly Fishing Merit Badge

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Fly Fishing Merit Badge

Tips for Alabama Boy Scouts
Following list of requirements contains helpful links.  A copy of "Fly Fishing Merit Badge" will also be needed to teach the scouts.

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  1. Explain to your 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 your arm.  Name and explain five safety practices you should always follow while fly fishing.
  2. 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 with your counselor how to care for this equipment.
  3. Demonstrate how to tie proper knots to prepare a fly rod for fishing:
    1. Tie a backing to a fly reel spool using the arbor backing knot.
    2. Attach backing to fly line using the nail knot (hollow coffee stirrers work great).
    3. Attach a leader to fly line using the needle knot, nail knot, or loop-to-loop connection.
    4. Add a tippet to a leader using a double surgeon's loop or blood knot.
    5. Tie a fly onto the terminal end of the leader using the improved clinch knot.
  4. Explain how and when each of the following types of flies is used: dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers, bass bugs, poppers, and saltwater flies.  What does each imitate?  Tie at least two types of the flies mentioned in this requirement.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to cast a fly 30 feet consistently and accurately using both overhead and roll cast techniques.
  6. Go to a suitable fishing location observe what fish may be eating both above and beneath the water's surface. Explain the importance of matching the hatch.
  7. Explain the importance of practicing "Leave No Trace" techniques. Discuss the positive effects of Leave No Trace on fly-fishing resources. Also, discuss the meaning and importance of catch and release. Describe how to properly release a fish safely to the water.
  8. Obtain and review a copy of the regulations affecting game fishing where you live or where you plan to fish.  Explain why they were adopted and what you accomplish by following them.
  9. Explain what good outdoor sportsmanlike behavior is and how it relates to anglers.   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.
  10. Using the fly fishing techniques you have learned, catch at least one fish and identify it.  If local fishing and health regulations allow, clean and cook a fish you have caught. Otherwise, acquire a fish and cook it.

Additional helpful information
Places to fish: Alabama State Public Fishing Lakes, Alabama State Parksfishing locations by region, private ponds.
Alabama fishing license requirements and free youth licenses (Licenses are not required for anglers 15 and younger nor while fishing a private pond.)
The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division has fly rods and reels that can be loaned for short periods.
Discover Fly Fishing Web site was developed by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) to help people interested in the sport of fly fishing get a good head start.   You may register with the site to obtain information on fly fishing.  (The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has no control over the AFFTA site nor the use of your registration information.)

Fly fishing does not have to be difficult.
With a small fly (18 or smaller), fly fishing can allow scouts
to catch the numerous minnows and other small fish in a stream or lake.

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