I remember my first experience using a rod/reel. It was a small Zebco push-button spin cast reel with a short rod. It was easy to push the button cast and watch the lure sail through the air and land in the water at no particular place. At that age, just getting the lure to land on the water spelled success. As I got older I graduated to the spinning reel and casting reels. I was entering high school when my Dad taught me how to use the fly rod. I look back now and realize the fly rod would have been my best method of landing fish at that time. I am playing catch-up now using the fly rod.
Fly rod fishing and spinning reel fishing have seen advancements in reel and rod quality since my boyhood days. Spinning reels and fly reels are much lighter. The spinning reels reel smoother with the addition of ball bearings. Some spinning reels have as many as ten ball bearings now. Drag systems on the fly reels today are much stronger and will last longer.
I realized years ago that learning to use the fly rod and spinning reel took patience, especially for the fly rod as opposed to the spinning reel. The spinning reel required less precision and technique to cast and retrieve. They can cast a variety of lures much further than a fly rod in certain situations such as fishing from a boat or when trying to reach a specific spot in a large body of water. Not all is perfect with the spinning reel: because of line tangles, in the form of the dreaded loop. This one fault can cause one to pull yards of line off the spool to remove the loop. A spinning reel offers less sensitivity than a fly rod.
Some fly rods in the 6 to 7 ft. length weigh 2 ounces or less making them extremely sensitive to detect a hit from as small bluegill and trout. A fly rod allows for a more subtle and quiet presentation of the fly, which can be important when fishing in clear water or when targeting spooky fish. As with the spinning reel, not all is perfect with the fly rod. A fly rod requires more skill and technique to use effectively, which I can attest to when I first learned how to cast one. The casting and retrieve is something my grandchildren are still learning. Fly rods are generally limited to using flies or bugs to imitate insects, which will not give you the distance in casting a lure with a spinning reel.
I still use my 7 1/2 ft. ultralight spinning reel combos to fish for crappie, but the fly rod is my main mode of fishing for the rest of my fishing days----looking forward to an early Spring!!