Fly fishing is an Advantage or Disadvantage?

Fly fishing, advantage or handicap?


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karstopo

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Do you consider fly fishing, as you conceive of and practice it, at an advantage or disadvantage bringing targeted fish to hand as compared to any other legal method widely practiced where you fish?

Set aside any other thoughts or feelings about any other considerations. For example, thoughts or feelings like Fly fishing is an art, it’s beautiful, there’s mad skill involved, you don’t care about numbers, the settings you fish bring you back, etc. That’s all true and more, but I’m talking efficiency not art.

I’m looking for opinions on if the chips were down and you had to go toe to toe with a bait fisherman or a spin fisherman to catch a desired fish where you typically fish, your sort of wheelhouse waters, do you think you would have the upper hand, it’s anybody’s game, or you would be at a hopeless disadvantage?

I’m looking for perceptions and perspectives on individual species and waters. Many will probably not care, including me, whether the flies they use to catch the fish they desire, work better than alternative methods. They, like me, simply enjoy so many things about fly fishing they would seek to fish that way no matter how disadvantaged things appear.

This isn’t a poll where you win if you select I’m at an advantage fly fishing. It’s more about what people have noticed about the fish they fish for and the different methods people use to go after them.

A lot of you, including me, have a lot of experience fishing for the same fish using different methods. Others have been fly their whole lives. In either case, share if you want, vote, comment.
 

karstopo

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Sight casting to fish out in the marsh or bay, the fly is a big advantage. More options, greater stealth and finesse, as I see it, the fly wins hands down.

Shallow structure fishing in the same environment, I still give the fly the nod, but it’s not as clear cut as I see it.

Shallow lake and pond for warmwater fish, it might be a toss up or depends on the species. I’m still putting the fly ahead for the versatility it offers. Bait catches fish, but it doesn’t cover as much water as quickly. Lures catch fish, but Fish get lure shy and they are harder to downsize when necessary.
 

camelbrass

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It’s a distinct advantage in my local fishery. Talang queenfish are the main quarry and although they’re not difficult fish to get to take a lure or a fly, they do have access to large schools of 2-3 inch baitfish and get fixated on them. When that happens you have to match the hatch and since these fish average 7-8lb and 20lbers aren’t uncommon the super light spinning gear and 10g lures required are outgunned. 9 times out of 10 a size 1 or 1/0 natural coloured clouser launched by a 9wt accounts for more fish than spinning gear.

Regards,


Trevor
 

huronfly

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I voted mostly an advantage. I definitely find it an advantage when fishing resident trout, and also any type of dead drift presentation. Also, I think predators like pike and bass love the natural movement of feathers and fur. Swinging flies for steelhead, well... a disadvantage in most cases, but I'm ok with that.
 

el jefe

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Where I fish (mountain rivers and streams for trout), I voted Mostly An Advantage. I think bait typically does better, but that's more for fishing for sustenance, which I don't do. Fly fishing is way better than spin fishing in my area, though.
 

kentuckysteve

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I would say a Toss Up for me.I fish 90% warmwater and fly fishing is an alternative and not an advantage.I still like throwing a crankbait or a plastic worm as much as fly fishing.I catch fish using both styles and really can't say i catch more one way vs the other.For top water fishing i really love fly fishing and starting to fish more streamers with the fly rod but in deep water i still prefer the conventional gear.Maybe because i have not learned deep water fishing with fly gear.

If i fished trout 90% of the time i am certain the fly rod would be the advantage.Presentation and stealth are far more important with trout and fly fishing definitely gives you the advantage there.
 

jspfishing

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I believe its an advantage once you get everything dialed in on some of the additional skills needed. Like different types of fly cast, knot tying speed, and stripping line to fish your targeted depth. Oh yea, and line management. Thats killing me right now. I have a stripping basket and when I shoot line for long cast a small line tangle hits the eyes and ruins my distance.
 

littledavid123

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Small mountain streams where I fish the fly rod certainly has the advantage over all but the guy picking grasshoppers off the weeds.

Dave
 

cpowell

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Depth and spot on a spot are the dictators for me. If it's shallower than 15 feet I will likely find a fly technique that can work, sometimes as well or better than hardware.

If it is for trout...depends on what they are targeting at the time but I Like my chances with the long stick.
 

gpwhitejr

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That is an interesting question, and as pointed out by others it depends a lot on where you fish and what you fish for. Suppose you changed the question a little: If the only food you can have for the rest of your life is the fish you caught, what method/tackle would you choose? (Only rod/line fishing allowed, a big net is cheating. Also cheating is dynamite, electricity, etc.)
 

clsmith131

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For me, it's purely situational. It depends on what the fish are feeding on, and where they are in the water column. I marked "mostly advantage" because it is advantageous to be able to fly fish.
 

MickT

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Creek smallmouth is what I fish- if they are looking up, fly rod is an advantage for topwater, but even then, topwater is rarely the most efficient method, just the most fun. I won’t call it dry fly fishing because it’s rare I use anything that resembles a dry fly, and I’m usually imparting movement instead of dead drifting. If I’m fishing deeper plunges or runs on the bottom, the fly rod is a liability. I’ll probably blaspheme and take both on a canoe trip or two this year.

As for 2 posts above, spinning gear all the way if my life depends on it. Warm water fish rarely lock in on a hatch, so I can usually catch them opportunistically on the bottom even if there is considerable surface action.


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ia_trouter

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I assume the final poll results will be skewed towards trout anglers (which is fine).

On my cold water it is about a tossup. There will be days when floating a night crawler or minnow on a spinning rod wins out. For warm water it is so dependent on species and where they live in the water column usually. I love the fly when the fish are towards the top. Fishing for walleye, cats and carp on the fly is very fun, but it is FAR from the most effective method most of the time. I accept that reality when I pick up the fly rod.
 

philly

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I think it's a toss-up. I seldom fish spinning gear these days. The only time I really use it is when I go up to Ontario. Conditions dictate what I'll use. The walleye are usually in 20 feet of water when we fish for them in the evening so it mainly spinning tackle. During the day we move from spot to spot looking for smallmouth and pike. When we first get to a spot I'll always toss out a jig with a leech or a nightcrawler on it. If I pick up a bass, I'll switch to my fly rod. The first 20 inch smallie I caught was on a jig and nightcrawler, the other three I caught on a fly rod. For trout I use the fly rod and can often out fish my friends who are using spinning gear, especially if there's a hatch going on. Most of my local fishing is warm water. Again, I out fish my friends and usually wind up catching bigger pan fish.
 

dennyk

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I see it as an advantage. First off you're not reeling the line in to make another cast so the fly caster can cover more water quickly and efficiently. Even though this is possible with spin gear, the use of a floating fly with a nymph dropper. I use that alot for Smallmouth, I'll have a popper up top and a stone fly as a dropper, that's alot of fun! In a larger creek I fish I find I can get into spots that would be more challenging then the spin caster. Meaning overgrown brush on the stream banks, gotta love the bow & arrow cast, mending line to manipulate a good drift near and under the tight spots. Evidence of that is shown by all the line, bobber and sinker decorations on the bushes.

Denny
 

loonman

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I'd say its more of an advantage than a disadvantage, not least because the relatively small amount of gear I can carry keeps me focused, or forces me to focus, on the conditions, not on my rig.

In the last year, I've shifted from spinning gear (drop shot, tubes, hard baits) towards fly fishing the Chicago harbors and inlets. Catch rate for small-mouth dropped, but I'm catching more fish because multi-species days are far more common now: my first carp, more pike, and plenty of rock-bass thrown in. I even had a far-wandering steel-head take a Clouser Swimming Nymph two days ago (yes, the water is still COLD here!) inside a harbor.

Not to mention, there's just something about that tug, the twitch in the line felt between forefinger and cork...
 

dillon

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Fly fishing is definately an advantage when casting to rising trout during a mayfly hatch. When fishing for winter steelhead, not so much, but swinging flies for them, is just the way I like it...
 

Rip Tide

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The ability to mend your (floating) line is a distinct advantage over so called "conventional" fishing.
Mending allows the angler to manipulate his "lure" (fly) in ways that can't be duplicated with a spin or casting rod.
 

rangerrich99

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I voted mostly a disadvantage. Which is fine in my case; I didn't start fly-fishing to increase my catch rate, but rather to increase the challenge.

In my experience, which is mostly conventional bass fishing, a baitcaster and a medium-heavy 7 ft. stick is just far and away a more efficient set-up than a fly rod. I can cast for distances a single-hand fly rod can't match with far greater ease. If I'm burning cranks or spinnerbaits over large areas of water, I can work at a speed no fly-fisherman can replicate. I can pitch or flip jigs, Texas-/Carolina-rigged worms into super tight spots a fly rod can't even do. I can fish either on the surface or 30 ft. down just by changing the lure; no re-rigging required.

In bass-fishing a lot of fish are found hugging the bottom and are triggered by noise or vibration as a bait bangs over and around rocks, logs and so forth. With a baitcaster and a crankbait it's easy to stay in contact with the bottom; with a fly rod I'm just guessing at the depth of my fly.

Nevermind the fact that with a baitcaster rig I can literally winch or lever fish to me/the boat, whereas fly rods just don't have that kind of backbone when the fish are wrapped/sunk into heavy cover.

In trout fishing I think it's more even. Especially in small streams/creeks, where a lot of the advantages of conventional gear cancel out. However, my best days trout fishing on a stream, in terms of numbers, were still using spinning gear. And it's not even close.

But even then I tired of using spinning gear, mostly because of how difficult it was to figure out how to cast in such confinement. Consequently there was a lot of water I didn't even fish on those streams, that today I would find relatively easy to work with a fly rod.

In my experience, the one type of fishing where the fly rod truly leaves conventional gear in the dust is fishing small dries to picky surface-feeding fish. Conventional gear can't even work that situation; while fly rods are literally made for that kind of fishing.

But hey, if it was all about efficiency for me, I'd be using a trawler with a net.
 

bill_s

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Voted mostly disadvantage. My home area is warm water only. If the goal is only to catch fish, then no question, fly fishing is a disadvantage in most cases.

RangerRich99's comments well describe the advantage. No need for me to add more.

For Blue Gill, it is about even; that is the reason I voted mostly.

That being said...90% of my fishing time in my home waters is fly fishing! :)
 
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