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Fly Fishing vs Spin Fishing: What Is the Difference?

Posted by Ellie B. on 12/17/2021
Fly Fishing vs Spin Fishing: What Is the Difference?

When it comes to freshwater fishing as a sport, there are two primary types: spin fishing and fly fishing. 


Spin fishing is the form of fishing most people are familiar with, and it uses spinning reels or baitcasting reels. Fly fishing is a more challenging form of fishing that uses a rod and an artificial fly as bait. 


The main difference between fly fishing and spin fishing is that they use different methods and tackle to catch fish. 

Fly Fishing and Spin Fishing: The Differences

Fly fishing is a fishing technique in which the bait is placed on top of the water for fish. This makes the bait look like a bug or invertebrate has landed on top of the water or just below the water's surface.


This is drastically different from spin fishing, where the bait is presented to fish well below the water’s surface. 


With fly fishing, you cast an extremely lightweight fly. In order to get a good cast in fly fishing, the line itself is weighted. Spin fishing uses attached weights and the weight of the bait to get a reasonable distance for your cast. Then, the float holds the bait at a specific water depth to lure fish.

Fly Fishing Lines 

A fly fishing line consists of backing, fly line, leader and tippet, and fly. The backing is used to fight fish when they pull a lot of line from the reel. The leader and tippet are used to present the fly in a hidden way. 


However, the main difference between a fly fishing line and a spin fishing line is that the weight comes from the line in fly fishing.

Rod and Reel Differences

Fly fishing rods are also very different when compared to spin fishing rods. Fly rods are extremely flexible and usually made from graphite. They are typically longer than spin fishing rods at an average length of nine feet. 


The fly fishing reel is also different from spin fishing reels. This is because fly reels are open and the main hand position on the rod is in front of the reel. Spin fishing reels usually have a closed reel with the main hand positioning behind the reel.

Casting Differences

Casting is another significant difference between fly fishing and spin fishing. In spin fishing, you basically push a button and then throw the rod out. Fly fishing casting is much more complex and is more of an art and skill. 


Although there are many fly fishing casting strategies, all of them involve letting out a bit of the fly line and then whipping the rod out. Fly fishing casting aims to place the fly on top of the water so that fish believe a real bug has landed on the water. When appropriately done, the fish will not notice the leader and tippet or fly line. 

Fly Differences

In fly fishing, the fly is actually the bait. For this reason, thousands of different fly designs imitate small bugs or aquatic life.

With an abundance of options for fishing, which one will you explore?
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