Fly Fishing Vs Regular Fishing: Learn How They Differ & More

by Thavius | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
Fly Fishing Vs Regular Fishing: Learn How They Differ & More

No one can deny how interesting and therapeutic fishing can be. Sitting down by the shores of a body of water for minutes or hours waiting for prey to tug at your line is also a great way to spend time with your friends and family. However, you need to note that there are different types of fishing – fly fishing and spin fishing.

Spin fishing is the popular type of fishing that we are all used to. It involves using spinning reels and baitcasting reels to catch fish. Fly fishing, on the other hand, is a type of fishing that requires a certain level of expertise. It usually requires a fishing rod and an artificial fly or bait to carry it out successfully.

It’s not uncommon to find anglers who excel both as fly fishermen and regular ones too. But most anglers would stick to a personal preference.

While both fly fishing and spin fishing have the same goal – catching fish through advanced angling techniques. There are a few significant differences between both fishing techniques. This piece is a detailed overview of fly fishing vs regular fishing.

What Is The Difference Between Fly Fishing And Spin Fishing?

To review the difference between fly fishing and spin fishing, we’ll compare both types of fishing under different parameters. These parameters include:

The Angling Process

The first thing to note is that both techniques are completely different. Fly fishing involves tricking your prey with an artificial fly that will be crafted to look exactly like an insect. This process may sound easier than it actually is. But you need to keep in mind that trout are finicky animals. Therefore, they easily get spooked, making it difficult to catch them. Fly fishermen can optimize their angling experience by crafting their bait properly.

The fly fishing technique involves targeting your prey with your bait fly before initiating a strike. Often, this type of fishing is not useful for catching a large amount of prey. Instead, it focuses on letting the angler catch tricky prey.

Spin fishing focuses on catching numerous fish during any particular expedition. This doesn’t mean that some spin fishermen don’t go for challenging prey, but the approach is different, and the end result is less challenging.

Most of the time, the spin fishing technique is not as important as the equipment that is employed by the angler. A spin fisherman has access to various equipment and lure types and can try their hands out at different water bodies. Regular fishing places more emphasis on catching the bigger fish.

On any given day, spin fishing is guaranteed to help you catch more prey, and it’s also considerably easier. Many people will refer to fly fishing as the purer form of fishing.

The Type Of Equipment

Another significant difference between fly fishing and regular fishing is the type of equipment that is used for both activities. If you’re familiar with angling equipment, you can tell a fly fisherman from a spin fisherman from a distance.

The majority of the equipment used by both fishermen is different, and how they will position themselves for the catch will also be distinct. Fly fishing outfits and equipment are designed to help the angler stay undetected, while the spin fishing equipment will help the fisherman catch as many fish as possible.

Well, a fly fisherman will most likely get up close to the prey, and you’ll find him waist-deep in the water, putting on waders. However, most spin fishermen will be seated in a boat or kayak alongside a water body. They’ll also be found holding a standard rod with a giant cooler of catches behind them.

The Fishing Line

Most of the time, an angler has to set up their fishing rig in a specific way. As a result, the fly fishing line will differ from those used for a regular fishing trip. This is due to the uniqueness of fly fishing techniques. Fly fishing gear will comprise a fly line, tippet, backing, and a leader.

The backing is usually placed at the end of the line, giving additional strength to fight tough prey. The fly line is only designed to offer some weight to the entire setup. Then, the leader will be made from a thin material that will be difficult for the prey to detect.

The line used for spin fishing will vary depending on the needs of the angler. If you are hunting for large prey, you can opt for heavy monofilament lines that can support up to 50 pounds of weight. When fishing for pike, spin anglers may also add a steel leader to their bait fishing line to prevent the fish from biting through it.

The Type Of Rod And Casting Technique

A fly fishing rod has to be lightweight enough to support a technique referred to as a false casting. The false casting technique involves swinging the fly rod forwards and backwards to generate more momentum as you gradually release more line from the fly reel. During false casting, the fly is never expected to touch the surface of the water.

On the other hand, a spinning rod has enough weight to lift a heavy monofilament line out of the water with a single swing.

The Type Of Bait And Lures

The most significant difference between fly fishing equipment and regular fishing gear lies in the type of bait and lures used for both angling activities. Fly fishing does not have many different types of bait. However, there’s an extensive variation in the sizes, patterns, and colors of the available alternatives.

When spin fishing, there’s a near-limitless number of lure shapes, sizes, and features. Common fishing lures that can be used for this type of fishing include: floating baits that stay on the surface, crankbaits that sink into the water, plastic worms, artificial creatures, and so on. Any item that can trick a fish into biting at the line qualifies as a lure for spin fishing.

The Type of Waterbody

Fly fishing is more effective when it is practiced over a moving body of water. This type of water usually contains prey that does not stay in one place.

However, spin fishing is ideal for still water. Don’t be surprised to find certain anglers spin fishing over a moving body of water. They will only enjoy a limited amount of success from such activities.

The Cost Of Angling

There’s also a major difference in the amount of money that is charged for both types of fishing. If you’re trying to save on expenses, spin fishing is a better alternative. As a spinning angler, you can set yourself up for your next fishing adventure with as little as $100. This amount will cover the cost of your equipment, including spin rods and fishing line.

A fly fishing setup will cost almost twice the amount of a spin fishing adventure. You’ll also spend an additional $150 to purchase waders. However, fly fishing is relatively cheaper in the long run.

Watch this video to learn about the essential equipment used in fly fishing:

Which Is Better – Fly Fishing vs Spin Fishing?

Well, the truth is that one fishing technique is not superior to the other. The final choice is up to the angler and the conditions of the fishing expedition. The angler will have to consider the type of waterbody in question, the fish species being hunted, and the end result of the adventure.

Personal preference plays a major deciding factor in settling on the type of fishing to adopt. Yes, every angler wants to catch fish, but it really goes beyond just that. The fishing technique adopted must offer you a measure of satisfaction that you agree with. There’s no justification to claim that one angling technique is superior to the other. In fact, there are anglers that use either of these fishing techniques depending on the scenario in which they find themselves.

Key Insights & Takeaways

And that’s all about fly fishing vs regular fishing. We’ve taken a close look at the features of both angling techniques and reviewed what they are really about. It’s quite clear that fly fishing is an angling technique that is most suitable for catching energetic prey, while spin fishing is a technique that applies to regular fish species.

Before you go ahead and decide on a fishing technique to opt for, you need to review your angling skills, the nature of the waterbody in question, and the amount of money at your disposal. When you master any of these angling techniques, you’ll enjoy a reasonable amount of success. If you’re unclear on any of the differences between fly fishing vs regular fishing, you can go through the piece once more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Fly Fishing Better Than Regular Fishing?

Well, it’s impossible to determine which of these angling techniques is the best. However, we can safely admit that both of them are suitable for different scenarios. Fly fishing is more effective in a running water body and when fishing for energetic species. Regular fishing, on the other hand, is ideal for still water and common fish species.

What Is the Advantage Of Fly Fishing?

There’s no real advantage of fly fishing. It won’t help you catch a larger volume of fish. It’s only a great way to give yourself a great challenge in catching tricky prey. As a result, it’s considered a purer style of fishing.

Does Fly Fishing Catch More Fish?

There’s a widespread misconception that fly fishing will help you take home a larger volume of fish. However, this is incorrect on many grounds. To start with, fly fishing requires more patience. This means you will have to spend more time catching a single prey. Also, it’s more challenging. As a result, anglers end up catching lesser prey when they adopt this particular technique.

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I've been a fisherman for over 35 years. From catching small bullheads with my grandfather at his pond to catching strippers on the backwaters of the Chattahoochee, I love to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water.