The Pros and Cons of Fly Fishing when Compared to Spin Fishing

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What are the benefits of fly fishing? What are the disadvantages of fly fishing? Those questions where whirling around in my head so I decided to make a list of the pros and cons of fly fishing in comparison to spin fishing for anyone else wondering the same. I also recommend reading this article to better understand how fly fishing differs from lure fishing.

Fly Fishing Rod Beautiful Creek

Pros of fly fishing:

(1) You can cast a super lightweight fly long distances. Instead of using the weight of the lure to cast, with fly fishing you use the weight of the fly line. This makes it possible to cast out microscopic flies, like midges, great distances.

(2) You can present the fly more delicately and quietly than you can a lure with a spinning outfit. If you know how to cast well, you can drop the fly right on top of the fish without spooking them. With spin fishing, it’s almost impossible to not make some sort of noise/splash when the lure hits the water.

(3) Flies are usually cheaper to buy than lures. You can get some quality flies for about $1 each. Cheap crappy lures, on the other hand, will cost you at least double or triple that price.

(4) You can get started with the rod you have. If you love it, you’ll want to invest in a fly rod. But for the beginner or those that want to experiment, you can go fly-fishing with a regular spinning rod.

Cons of fly fishing:

(1) You need a lot of room to cast out your fly. This was one of the first things I learned when I started fly fishing. I spent more time getting my flies out of the trees than I did fishing. Yes, it was frustrating.

(2) Casting takes more skill and practice to perfect. I learned how to cast a spinning outfit, perfectly, in about a day. With fly fishing, I still don’t feel like I have my casting skills perfected, even though I have been fly fishing for quite a few years.

(3) Not the ideal method of fishing for certain situations. When you need to fish deep, spin fishing is the most practical choice. Not everyone will agree. I just think it’s a pain in the butt to constantly retrieve almost all the fly line and then recast, wait for it to sink, then repeat. It’s just to much work.

(4) Fly fishing is more expensive than spin fishing. True, flies are cheaper than lures, but that’s about the only thing. Everything else is more expensive. You need to drop at least $40-$50 for some decent line. Then you have the rod, reel, backing, leaders, tippets, strike indicators, waders, net etc. $$$-$$$$. With the size of investment, make sure you are purchasing the right equipment. Here are some tips for selecting fly lure.

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3 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Fly Fishing when Compared to Spin Fishing”

  1. As a professional fly fishing guide, let me add a little more to the mentions above. On #3 of the Pros of Fly fishing above. There is also a super gratifying way of fly fishing, and that is with the flies you tie yourself. It really doesn’t get much better when you can match the hatch with something you’ve made!

    On #1 of the Cons…you don’t always need a lot of room to cast, there are several types of cast that use no room other than the water. Roll cast, spey cast, snap-t etc.

    On #2 yes, it might have a bit more learning curve, but casting the line is in part the “zen” or relaxation time spent on the water. Fishing is supposed to be fun, and relaxing.

    #3 on the con list…the cost. While it initially is a bit more expensive, the manufacturers are recognizing this and adapting their wares to make it affordable for all. It’s not about how expensive the rod, reel or lines are, it’s about what makes it comfortable for you. Making sure you match the rod, reel and line are important however.

    Happy Fishing

    • Wow! Thanks for the Comment Dreams On The Fly. I have to agree with all the points you made. The more you Fly Fish the less Cons there are.

  2. I have begun with flyfishing a long time ago and am trying now spinning. I can compare as i first usually approach a place fly fishing and then spin to try to catch deeper fish not so easily scared. For the moment for sea trout in calm condition spinning, it seems to scare them is useless whereas fly gets you the big fish. But in spring,when water is cold and rough, people also take big sea trout with lure… Which is kind of easier.
    In lakes on a windy day i had more luck with spinning.
    Concerning price, i would say that the problem is the price of reel in fly fishing, For me they cost too much as i can land a 2 kg sea trout without using once the brake. And they usually deteriorate very fast in sea water. The rest is actually very cheap, rod can last long and fly line also. I make my flies myself and lose very few of them, very cheap. I also repair my wadder, they are five year old and ok. They are actually a big plus also for spinning (to take the lure out of shallow places where it usually get stuck).
    For the moment I loose a lot of lure, and that seems to be very costly on the long run. I still hope i will get better, otherwise it does not worth it. Especially in southern countries with branches in water, lure can be a nightmare. With flies you get to explore a place more smoothly. Off course in more nothern countries, this is less of a problem.

    If you think about it fly fishing is kind of more natuaral, since metal is actually hard to make. The problem is that it is a real business and they know it attracts wealthy people, this is why they do not focus on making simple reel, robust and easy to fix but expensive and fancy one.

    One more thing, you can combine both, using the lure as a sinking line and put a fly close to it. I think this is a killer because it looks like a small fish hinting on a trout territory and she definitely hates that, and will chase the bastard out and be caught, So it is not useless to make your own fly.

    In short, the two technique seems to be complementary, but in water where a fish is precious and must be fished with care, spinning should definitely be banned, because it damages fishes indcrediby more. I think fly fishing should be promoted by authorities, reserving more water for it, just for this simple reason.


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