Merwin: Spinning Reels on Fly Rods
Some blog readers have asked for offbeat fishing suggestions, meaning to fish for common species but in unusual ways. So...
Some blog readers have asked for offbeat fishing suggestions, meaning to fish for common species but in unusual ways. So here’s one I like: Spin-fishing with fly rods. Putting a spinning reel on a fly rod can work surprisingly well in some situations where a fly rod’s longer length gives a distinct advantage.
One example is in trout fishing small mountain brooks with a worm. An ultra-light spincast reel on a 9-foot fly rod is ideal for this. Most fishing is done upstream, using a gentle pendulum cast to drop a lightly-weighted worm in deeper pockets around boulders or logs. The extra reach of a fly rod is a big help here, while the little spincaster does a good job in helping to control and contain fine monofilament.
Another case that I like even more involves a little more work. I have built some spinning rods on very light fly-rod blanks (9-foot, 4-piece, 4-weights). That means a cork, spinning-style reel seat and very lightweight spinning-style guides. I use these for fishing micro-jigs for trout on medium and large rivers. With an appropriate ultra-light spinning reel, it’s easy to cast one-eighth- to one-sixteenth-ounce jigs a very long way up and across the the current.
The longer rod length also makes it much easier to control the jig’s drift. The same long-rod set-up has also worked well in “dipping” a minnow or jig for crappies amid thick spatterdock weeds or tangled brush where casting and retrieving would be impossible. As far as I know, there are no long-and-light commercially available spinning rods like this (I’m not counting crappie “poles” as spinning rods here), which is why I made my own.
There is no “rule” that says you can’t put a spinning reel on a fly rod (unless you’re in fly-fishing-only water, of course). And while fly rods aren’t really designed for spin-fishing, there are times and places when it’s a good idea….