Article : Fly fishing versus Spin fishing

I have been in the fishing tackle trade for over 35 years now. During that time I have seen numerous trends and cycles. One of the most interesting is most of the attendees of our fly fishing education program are spin anglers looking to try something new. But, we also get students every year that have never fished a day in their life’s - they have seen fly fishing and just had to give it a try.  We are also noticing an increase in the interest of women in fly fishing.

Why is this so interesting? Spin fishing gets easier every year with new advances in the tackle, lures and technology. But, many experienced anglers want to learn about something simple, challenging and engaging. Fly fishing offers this intriguing alternative to tune in with their local fish and have a ton of fun doing it.

Basic fly fishing is easy to learn and not this mystical Zen art many made it out to be in the past. It is easy to get swallowed up by your surroundings when trying to figure out what the fish are eating, and how you can best fool them with a fly.

A really common phrase that started with fly fishers is “matching the hatch”. Nature provides many varieties of edible morsels for fish. Some are perfectly imitated by spin lures and others that are impossible to imitate with anything but a fly rod and selection of flies. Smaller morsels called mayflies, caddis flies and midges can be available to the fish in huge numbers for usually short periods of time. The fish know this and feed accordingly. To be part of fishing frenzy and not have a fly rod is a fishing nightmare. Even with a fly rod it can be challenging. But, when you figure out a “hatch”, the rewards are difficult to quantify.

Fly fishers learn quickly that catching fish is not always the prime factor for measuring a successful day on the water. So many times over the year’s clients and myself have had more to say about what we learned about our surroundings and the people we are fishing with than reminiscing over the fish we landed.  This is the point where fly fishers start to grow with this addictive sport.

This attraction to fly fishing can see you taking your gear around the World for a huge assortment of fish and experiences. Sure thou can travel with conventional angling gear but just take a look on the web or on TV and discover for yourself the fly fishing travelling spirit. 

Another thing I experience when I fly fish is excitement. Even the simplest fly cast that lands exactly where I planned is satisfying. Now imagine adding a perfect landing of a tough cast and a surprisingly quick “I want it” response from a weary trout. This is a very rewarding part of this sport. It involves mental skill and physical skill that you can take real pride in when things go right.

When these things go well and a fish eats your fly, the fly fishing experience is just starting. A key part of fly fishing equipment, the fly line. It is different.  This connection with the fish has very little stretch. Combine this with a long sensitive rod and the feel is incredible. Good fly rigs are incredibly sensitive hand can help you feel more strikes and every move a fish makes once it is hooked. I know of many people who have been hooked by this type of fishing as well. In fact it will often result in a temporary to permanent storage of all other fishing gear.

Fly fishing gear is different from spinning equipment, but one of the biggest pieces of misinformation is that fly fishing is way more expensive than spin fishing. This is untrue. Your new rod, reel line and collection of leaders, tippets and flies are no more expensive than any decent spinning rod combo. The one thing you must realize is none of your spin fishing lures are useable on a fly rod. In other words you have to buy a whole new selection of lures. This can be a lot of fun. Think of how many baits you have acquired over the years. Now you need a full suite of new offerings to work with your fly gear. They look different and act different. A dozen flies I can get you going with a bare bones assortment. But, expect to collect several dozen flies to meet different fly fishing situations. As your collection of flies grows your chances on the water will blossom. Who knows you might even start tying your own flies. It is another addictive and rewarding branch of fly fishing.

by Ken Collins -

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