Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Fly Rod or Spinning Reel


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!!


  1. Bill,
    Like you & many other anglers, I began my fishing life as a kid by chucking lures with a spin-cast rod & reel, and I have to give the technique credit for rooting me in the sport. Transition to the use of a fly rod & reel came shortly after, and I hardly recall that at all. However, once I caught my first few stocked trout on the flies I tied as an adolescent, there was no turning back. It's been fly-fishing joys & tribulation ever since (mostly joy). Thanks for sharing your experiences here & allowing me to reflect.

  2. Years ago, a companion and I hired a guide and his raft to float us down a section of the Blackfoot river in Montana for cutthroats. Along the way we chatted about fishing methods. This guide had been a fly fisher all his life and when he heard us explain Minnesota walleye fishing with spinning gear he wondered if it was hard to use and hoped he'd learn how, someday. I had to chuckle at that.

  3. Hi Bill. Sorry for the late comment, but this just showed up this morning. Weird, but then that's Blogger. I've found that whether you use a spinning rod or a fly rod depends on what and where you're fishing. Used to use a spinning rod on small creeks. Now I wouldn't be caught dead with a spinning rod there. On the other hand, parked at someplace like Camanche, spinning is the only way to go unless you're out in a kayak or float tube. Just depends on the time and place I guess.

  4. Mark
    I sitll use my 7 and 7 1/2 ft. microlight rods to fish for carppie, to mimic my fly rod---there I have the best of both fishing modes--thanks for the comment

  5. Walt
    How I wish there were more children getting into fishing now. Thanks for sharing some childhood fishing memories with me!


  6. Al
    That guide was really dedicated to fly fishing---living in that part of the US one assumes fly fishing is king. Thanks for the comment

  7. Hey Bill this is Coach Christian! Good to see you still enjoy fishing as much as I do! Halbert told me about your blog. I really enjoyed the times we fished together when you were at Shannon.