Fly Fishing With A Spinning Rod

I fished the South Yuba river from a drift boat with a friend last week. We caught some small trout on nymphs using 5 weight fly line, indicators and lead weight. I started calling the indicator a bobber and the boat got really small.

3706585112_94c0387848_zI am not a fly fishing purist. I think any kind of purist is missing the boat. There are ALWAYS things to be taken from other methods that work, and often work better. I fish a lot from my SUP (Stand up Paddleboard). My favorite setup is to troll with a woolly bugger using a fly rod rigged with a 5 weight sink tip line and a light weight spinning rig with a piece of hardware, usually a kastmaster. If I see a fish rise I have my choice.

I love catching fish on the fly rod, the feel of casting, stripping and catching a fish off the reel is great. But throw an indicator and lead onto this rig and you have a different animal all together. Your typical nymph rig has an indicator a couple of feet above some split shot another foot or two above two flies. This is an awkward way to fish with a fly line. I’ve lost more fishing time dealing with tangles than I’d like to admit. Fly lines are made to deliver light flies to a target by using their weight. A spinning rod cannot cast a light fly – it needs weight on the end of the line. Once the indicator and lead are added to the fly line it looses its purpose. By definition this rig is best suited for a spinning rod.

Honestly, if you look at this rig without the fly line and rod attached and it looks like it should be fished with spinning tackle. It’s a common setup and will cast better with spinning gear than fly line.

A bobber is an indicator and an indicator is a bobber. There is no difference in my opinion. Lead weight is lead weight and leader is leader. The only difference is the delivery system. Catching fish on a fly rod is often more challenging and fun than with conventional tackle. I love the feeling of playing the fish off the reel. But, add the indicator and lead weight and it’s just not the same.

The next trip down the river I plan on taking two rods. A fly rod to fish drys and streamers and a spinner to fish nymphs.

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