View Full Version : FLY vs SPIN

02-10-2005, 12:35 PM
I was curious to read comments on various views of Fly vs Spin, in other words, what are your reasons that you enjoy fly fishing over spin (or vice versa?). I'm particularly interested in those folks who were happy spin fishing but converted to fly fishing, but am looking forward to all comments. I understand it is almost like comparing apples to oranges in a sense, but just curious and maybe I can benefit from the discussion..

David Churbuck
02-10-2005, 12:44 PM
Whenever I fish at night and discover that Iíve been fishing without a fly on the end of the line (this happens more than I care to admit) I begin to question my reasons for engaging in such a stupid pastime as saltwater fly fishing in the dark. A feeling of total uselessness sweeps over me, thoughts of missed opportunities, a sense of impending doom. Why didnít I refinance when rates were low? Why did I waste the spring term of my sophomore year playing backgammon and taking pass-fail classes in womenís studies (which I failed)? Why didn't I take Abnormal Psychology, aka "Nuts and Sluts?" Why am I not rich? Why am I an insignificant speck of dust in a sea of specks, chasing slimy things which I do not like to eat?

I think I have the wrong psychiatric composition to be a fly fisherman. Thereís a tribe in Africa where the hunter-warriors learn how to stand on one leg for 12 hours at a time, sucking on roots that lower their heart rates to two beats per minute. I try to stand still for ten minutes on two legs in a pair of itchy waders and I start thinking dire thoughts about the hopelessness of my cause, the bleak, impenetrable emptiness of the sea, and the malicious minds of the fish that arenít there. It has been said that a fisherman is the embodiment of hope, always believing on every cast, that this will be the big one, the payoff, the trophy on the wall. Not me. I am the eternal pessimist, doomed to fish because I feel compelled to be outside, on the water, and not in front of the television with the wife watching the Real World: Methuen.

There I cast not even knowing that I lost my fly an hour ago on a piece of driftwood behind me. Shooting blanks. Not playing with a deck at all, let alone a full one.

My psychiatric disorder comes into full force when I have to decide where exactly to fish. I am an illiterate when it comes to reading the water. If a fish hasnít jumped out of the water right in front of me, waggling its tail and spitting nickels, I wonít cast. If birds arenít flailing at the water, then I wonít. I waste lots and lots of gasoline flitting from one spot to the next, barely giving a spot more than a minuteís worth of attention before jetting off to the next waypoint. Iíll spend 30 minutes pounding over lumpy seas, dodging spray over the bow on a hunch; then get to the spot indicated by the hunch, throw a cast, throw another cast, and then weigh anchor and off I go for another 30 minutes, peering outwards for a sign of anything ... a splash, a bird, another boat --- anything that indicates the possibility of a fish.

Why can't I see through the water? Why don't I have the patience to wait for the fish to come to me?

If I do manage to get off a cast I start thinking about what is wrong with what I am doing? Did I make the fly smell like me and not like a minnow? Is there enough Flashabou on the fly (assuming there is a fly)? Is the fly long enough? (why do I never feel I have the right fly in the box and end up taking all flies?) Should I switch flies and tie on an entirely different pattern? And why is it that the line I am using at that particular moment always feels like the wrong line for those conditions? Should I switch to the spare reel? Did I put out the cat? Did I pay the electric bill?

If I catch a fish, I immediately want to catch a different kind of fish. Bluefish? I need a striper. Striper? I need a bonito. A thousand-pound blue marlin on 2 pound test? I want an oarfish. When will it stop? When will I be satisfied? Everybodyís heard the old line: "Never leave fish to find fish." Hah. I leave no fish to find no fish, wandering aimlessly, consulting tide tables, maps, Reel-Time, tackle shops, rumors, and my own bad hunches.

I need to check into a Zen retreat and learn how to meditate myself into a full fungal mushroom. The journey is the reward. Wherever you are, thatís where youíll be. Be the fly. Think like a fish. Or maybe I need to go to an AA meeting and get some of those snappy bumperstickers that say: "One day at a time." "Easy Does it." "Let Go. Let God." "Keep honking, I'm reloading."

Or maybe itís time to achieve better living through chemicals. Get myself diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or manic depression and start medicating myself with some serious serotonin uptake inhibitors.

I think I know my diagnosis. Itís just a case of the Albacore Blues. I see fish breaking and I restrain myself from charging over. I am the Grasshopper, at peace with my surroundings. I try to convince myself to wait, to be above the run and gunners, that all good things come to those who wait. Etc. Etc. Etc. Then I turn into one of those two buzzards that sit together in a tree on t-shirts, when one says to the other, "Enough waiting for carrion. Letís kill something!" And so I floor it and go charging into the fray of Bayliners, kayakers, and other angry, red-faced men.

There. Thatís off my chest. Thatís what I get for writing the FishWire on the train to New York City. I always feel sorry for myself on the train to New York City. I rather discuss my toenails and the time they all fell off within a three-day time span after I walked through the muddy water buffalo market in Jaipur in a pair of flip-flops. So letís talk about something positive. And that is Derby Time. Thatís right Reel-Timers, it is the time of year when the island of Marthaís Vineyard hosts its annual Bluefish & Striped Bass Derby. The boundaries have been vastly expanded to cover all of Nantucket Sound and both sides of the Elizabeth Islands. So get yourself a ticket on the next ferry, buy a Derby pin, and find yourself a piece of beach to stand on, motionless, on one leg, until the madness takes grip and you start hating that song in your head that just wonít go away. This weekís broken-record-of-the-mind was "Eye of the Tiger," the week before was the loathsome Seals & Croft "Summerbreeze."

02-10-2005, 01:05 PM
I enjoy both

I enjoy fly better for the purist's reasons

I enjoy spin for the ease if use

02-10-2005, 01:42 PM
I enjoy both, but to me fly fishing is just so much more than fishing. First, you craft your flies. You take steps to think about what bait the fish will be feeding on, how that bait moves, where it likes to be, ect. Bass were rooting around on the bottom last night and wouldn't touch my clousers regardless of dressing, color or weight. OK so sandeels are out, what about crabs and flounder? Would they have taken a bigger fly on a reaction strike? Let's try something new tonight. You find materials that will give you this action, build flies to accomplish this, and ultimately end up fishing them. You fish the fly the way it was meant to be fished, and as you retrieve the fly you think about how it looks underwater...Does it look injured? Is it sparse enough? Where in the water column are the fish going to be? Are they willing to chase something down? Are they rooting the bottom? Are they patrolling? You specifically fish the fly you designed to act exactly the way you want it to, and the fish takes it. The take of a fish mid-strip is one of the greatest feelings there is. The fly is moving well, then it stops. Hard. It is much more of a direct connection to the fish than on spinning gear. You play a fish differently on a fly rod as well, again, the sensitivity of the tackle allows you to truely feel the fish you have caught.

Then, of course there is the cast. Is there anything better than throwing a fly? Anything? The way the rod feels when it loads perfectly, the power stroke on the last haul that sends the line shooting off of the deck or out of the basket. Watching the line fly out the guides and hitting reel is a great feeling. The accuracy you can achieve with your opposite hand, every aspect of flyfishing I love.

Spin fishing is fun as well. I love live baiting a big bass, or twitching a slug across mussel bars and rockpiles. Or dancing a creekchub over a boulderfield, and watching the bass chase down the popper. It is certainly a really fun and easy way to catch lots of big fish, but not nearly as rewarding or as fun as catching the fish on the fly. I always have spin on board the boat with me, as there are just times when you have to jig a few baits or employ the slug, but it is usually my second tackle to use. I fished spinning gear a lot this summer, and I missed fly rodding-a lot. It is fun to chum up fish, or even troll the blasphemous tube but its not nearly as intimate or as challenging as throwing flies to fish. I consider myself a fisherman first and a fly rodder second, and I like catching fish way more than getting skunked on fly gear. Besides, it really is nice to get out and catch a mess of cows on spin gear and 1 lb livebaits when schoolies on 2/0 flies and 8 weights has been the norm. So, for me, I like the intamacy of and the skill required to fish on a fly. The time it takes to develop and hone your abilities to be an efficient fisherman with a fly is one of the most gratifying experiences in fishing, and it will make you a much better all around angler. I also like the fun of spin tackle, its easy to go out and goof around for a few hours and catch a few fish fairly easily. Its also a good way to get someone hooked on striper fishing who hasn't done a lot of it. If I'm in need of a few fish, out comes the spinning gear. If I want to truely be an angler, then out comes the fly gear. That's just my .02

02-10-2005, 01:44 PM
I love casting a fly rod. I'm one of those fools out in the yard with a rod in hand and a beer near by on nights I can not get out and need to unwind. Too many years playing with them I guess. At times they are the right tool, at times they are not. But it comes down to how you have the most fun. Personally I don't hold spin as "better" than fly, or anything like that. Just have fun.

02-10-2005, 01:51 PM
My wife tells the kids that if I have a flyrod, I am going "fishing."

If I have a spinning rod, I am going "catching."

That pretty well sums it up. :cool:

02-10-2005, 02:02 PM
Chicks dig Fly Fishermen :brow :brow :brow

02-10-2005, 03:34 PM
Haguebrook - I like the jab --126-3- and there have been a number of days I wish it were true -really. A buddy and I tend to fish together with our boys. The boys, all competent, come armed with fly rods, live eels, butterfish, etc. While growing they can only cast those fly rods so long. Anyway, it's been really eye opening how many times we're catching more fish right under their noses when they're fishing bait. Not always, but I never would have believed it if I wasn't there. Perhaps they were doing something wrong and I just didn't know what. (#$119)

02-10-2005, 03:41 PM
When I was a kid I liked to fish. I had a fly rod and a spinning rod.
The spinning rod broke.........

It was fly fish or not fish at all. Still is.

02-10-2005, 04:59 PM
Haguebrook - I like the jab --126-3- and there have been a number of days I wish it were true -really. A buddy and I tend to fish together with our boys. The boys, all competent, come armed with fly rods, live eels, butterfish, etc. While growing they can only cast those fly rods so long. Anyway, it's been really eye opening how many times we're catching more fish right under their noses when they're fishing bait. Not always, but I never would have believed it if I wasn't there. Perhaps they were doing something wrong and I just didn't know what. (#$119)

I think it was more a statement about my prowess with a flyrod than anything else.

Other than trolling a tube (not really fishing, but akin to driving on the road and hoping that you will hit an animal), I don't care if I am "catching" or "fishing."

It's all good.

02-10-2005, 07:05 PM
Wonderful poisson prose of Mr. Churbuck. Traver would be proud. Enjoyable to hear of similar gremlins lurking in our heads as we all try to rationalize our passions in life. Passion is not sweetness. passion is consumption, an insatiable drive. it is obsessive; yet reasons well as existentially appropriate and what truly makes a life seem more significant, ie worth living.

Not too many things we enthuse about in a later, more responsible time in life.
Passions are ill defined or tainted with the cynicism empiric in our 21 century condition. Passion is in the now. Memories need the experience of today to power them. Create the experience and find yourself in your hobbies, these are just the surname given to the passions that define our souls..

To ME Fly fishing is the celestial omnibus that gets me there. the peaks of experience in a rather numb and fearful world. It is a religon because its more important to me to become graceful in the process of fin and feather, rather than expect yield for my endeavors in the end. It cradles and isolates me, and alows me to feel free in a world so hard fought for otherwise. I appreciate the awakening and ending of each day seen only by dedicated fisherman.
Where is the simms poster that shows the rest of the world complaing about the crappy weather, yet in the foreground is a very happy fishing figure, waving a stick in a river run-off. Many Follow far in faith for their god. I follow fish with similar sufference. I am devout for trout on a dry, and as traver mentions in his testiment: "all men are equal before trout"

Just tell me to shut up and enjoy it, everyone has a reason and preference, its just what makes all a lil different and a lot more interesting.

Forever a fly guy, my last rite will be to cast my last stone. My tombstone shall simply read..."THANK YOU FISH"

02-10-2005, 09:33 PM
Many Follow far in faith for their god. I follow fish with similar sufference.


yes the fly is great, spinning is pretty good, but put a conventional in my hands....ahhhh. There is no greater joy in life than doing what you do best!

As Douglas Adams would say, my tombstone will read:
"So long and thanks for all the fish"

02-10-2005, 10:59 PM
well lets see hear i found spin fishing to easy and wanted some thing as a hobbie an that would be fun and yes spin fishing is fun but beaing abel to tye you owen bait and mach it to there prey is totaly fun to in oter words i got two hobbie for the price of one i still spin fish a little but not much any more any ways good luck too you and tight lines rhino --123-3 --123-3 --123-3

02-11-2005, 08:03 AM
Tie-Dye-Fly-Guy...that pic..is that the Cemetary pool on the Salmon River?

I love fly fishing the most...this was the way I was taught as a youngster how to fish at Jamaica Pond in JP, from my uncle who was a die hard flyrodder...in the early fifties. But I will use a spinning outfit when the time is right..and not so right for a flyrod..wind...distance etc. But I do have a buddy who will only fish a flyrod...even if all others are catching fish on a spinning outfit...we will try to entice him to try it...but to him it would be a mortal sin..lol.

Bob Parsons
02-11-2005, 09:06 AM
I carry fly, spinning and conventional on my boat. I enjoy all three. By switching rods I change which arm I use for casting and can go all day without getting sore. The spinning rig is the easiest to use but still there is the challenge to work some plugs/lures just right to trigger a strike. My convention rig is a bit heftier and great for hard fighting fish in rips. And the fly,,, there is just something about laying out a homemade fly and catching a fish that you got to love.

02-11-2005, 09:40 AM
Speaking for myself, one of the big appeals to salt water fly fishing is that it gets me into places where I'm essentially fishing alone. That solitude is something I really need from time to time.
When the surface plug bite is on at the canal, fishing can be spectacular at times. But, it can turn into a zoo very rapidly. The term most frequently used is "combat fishing".
Recently, I've just found the need to be alone. More and more I've passed on the productive early morning plugging tides in the canal, and explored the early morning tides at the creeks, beaches, and the infamous "undisclosed location."
You've got to understand going in that fly fishing puts you at a certain disadvantage as far as other forms of fishing goes. But, once you come to accept that, it sort of changes the way you look at a lot of things in life after that.

02-11-2005, 04:17 PM
spin when it's slow fly when it's fast

02-11-2005, 06:20 PM
yes to the cemetary hole in altmar. good eye. was very surprised so many people on water 2 weeks ago. but we had great spot and never left pool all day. took nice fish all day with next day even nice push of fresher fish. rare sweetness to be in the spot everyone else wants. maybe ill see ya up there sometime.

02-12-2005, 01:31 AM
Most people can't fly-fish. I have a need to be somewhat unique.
I like to be DIRECTLY connected to a fish like you are when striking a fish on a fly (that I tied)
I learned to fish after moving to NYC, with a fly-rod for trout, so I am basically better with a fly than not.
Conventional reels am a basically a beginner on, and feel akward with.
Trolling is for people that have given up, I never give up...

02-16-2005, 09:30 PM
Converted to fly (exclusively) about 10 years ago. Old days: hired a charter with at least 5 other guys, dragged downriggers/plugs around, drank while trolling (too much) and reeled in big fish (kept 'em all).

Today: fly only. go with 0-5 other guys, fish sunup to sundown (All night sometimes) on foot, occasially catch small/medium fish (released) and might have one or two beers after 3 days of fishing. Feel much more relaxed. Tie all my own flies, give a lot away.

What's better? Depends what you want out of life....

02-17-2005, 09:10 PM
Now if someone could tell me how to convert my nieces and nephews I would be in heaven. Have taken all of them fishingbut only one real fishing addict among them. He is a spin fisherman. Have tried several times but prefers easy to challenging. There is a niece....maybe.