I am sure some high school science teacher will take exception to the fly fishing culture incorrectly using the word ‘meniscus’ to describe the surface film and the tension that creates a barrier that separates the upper world from the lower (sub surface) world. Regardless, there is a tension that emerging insects must penetrate.
This emerging process, factors into your fly tying, on the water fly selection, presentation and observations of insects and fish feeding.
As a beginning fly tier or fly fisher, you will primarily focus on dry flies, nymphs and expand your awareness to ’emergers’ that typically sit half in and out of the water, on a curved shank hook. This, of course, is the acceptable norm. Perhaps, do a little research on floating nymphs or unweighted nymphs, tied on light wire, straight shank hooks. These patterns can be presented just below the surface for feeding fish in the upper strata. Not every nymph needs to dive to the bottom nor does every emerger pattern have to be on a curved shank hook, sitting half in/half out of the water.