Mark Domagalski is a purist when it comes to fishing.
And for the avid fly fisherman, the act of actually hooking and landing a fish is just part of the experience that keeps him coming back to area rivers and streams. Although, the Campton Hills man fishes around here, he particularly enjoys fly-casting in South Western Wisconsin.
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Angling has been a lifelong love. His evolution into a fly fisherman was born from a love of the sport as a child.
"I used to fish a lot when I was a kid, in the city, in the park lagoon and down by Lake Michigan with my dad," he said. "After college I decided to buy a fly rod and learn how to use it. And I have kind of been hooked ever since."
Fly-fishing differs from spin casting in many ways, but when you fly-fish you are actually casting the weight of the fly line not the lure. Also, the bait is the "fly," which can be very small, most often resemble local insects that the fish feed on.
And when he faces with a fish, which have better senses than people do, Domagalski says it takes patience and the mentality of a hunter to catch it, especially when you tie your own flies.
"It's as if you are stalking the fish with a fly rod and you have to trick the fish into taking an imitation fly," Domagalski said.
So, as a means to an end, Domagalski started tying his own flies.
"Tying flies is a cheaper alternative. It's a good way to pass the time, especially in the winter," Domagalski said. He's not alone in this pursuit, during the winter he meets with fellow fishermen to tie flies.
Domagalski uses all sorts of natural and man-made material to tie the flies which he will use to catch all species of fish. Traditionally, flies are made with deer hair, feathers or other natural fibers. But Domagalski has found it doesn't have to be that way.
"Realistically you can use anything, if you think a little bit out of the box you can incorporate (various materials) into a fly," he said.
Flies are not necessarily as much tied on a hook as they are wrapped. The material is held in place by wrapping thread around the hook with a bobbin. Most fly-tying kits for beginners can be found for around $60, but like any hobby, once you get set up properly you could put quite a bit of money into it.
"It's really fulfilling when you tie your own fly and you actually catch fish on it. It's really a full circle," he said.
Yet, Domagalski says what he enjoys most about fly-fishing is just being away from the city and pursuing fish in the quiet rivers and streams.
"Being out there, being away from civilization feeling the current from the river," is what keeps Domagalski coming back.