Fly Fishing VS Regular Fishing

Fly Fishing Vs Regular Fishing

Wow! This seems to be a controversial subject.

Regardless of what the justifications are – (whether right or wrong), there are those who would prefer fly fishing over regular fishing.

On the contrary

There are also those who would still advocate or go for regular fishing instead of fly fishing.

Whatever the case may be, my main job in this post is to bring you a balanced view regarding both fishing methods without any bias.

What’s the difference between fly fishing and regular fishing?

  • Fly fishing is typically done on moving water, although lakes, ponds, and reservoirs are still done frequently.
  • Conversely, Spin fishing or bait fishing is primarily done on lakes, ponds, and reservoirs but they do this on rivers also.

Though other differences exist, these are the main ones as it pertains to equipment and usage.

Comparison Based On Feed Type:

Fly fishing involves the use of flies (dry flies, nymphs, emergers, streamers, or the like) to mimic all kinds of food fish feed on.

Even as it is possible to make or design your own conventional/traditional lures. It is not as common or practical as creating your own flies.

Also, being extra rewarding or gratifying when you catch a fish. Homemade flies give you room to test out new materials and patterns.

With a little practice, you can make flies that look like the natural environment too.

Let’s say the fish in a local pond feed primarily on green sunfish that have strange or weird black stripes on them for some unknown reason.

This way, while tying your own flies, you could try to create unique flies to resemble the green-striped fish.

You would also be able to present the fly more delicately and quietly to the fish. This is quite definitely more than you can with a lure while using your spinning outfit.

That said, if you definitely know how to cast well, you can easily drop the fly right on top of the fish without spooking or scaring them away.

Contrarily, regular fishing, on the other hand, utilizes heavier lures to mimic fish.

In addition, regardless of it being a picky trout or perhaps a finicky tarpon, it is quite obvious we all know that a couple of times a smaller/meager lure is a better or pretty good way to catch a fish.

But however, it would be somewhat difficult for you to find a conventional/traditional lure to match or fit exactly the bait you’re trying to imitate.

Unlike fly fishing, with regular fishing methods – it is almost impossible to not make some sort/kind of noise/sound/splash when the lure hits the water.

Comparison Based On Type Of Water:

Fly fishing in a stream

Fly fishing is normally conducted on moving water – (meanwhile, still water is also a reliable source). On the flip side, regular fishing is mainly executed on still water and less on rivers.

Furthermore, fly fishing is not the ideal method of fishing for certain situations. This is especially true in situations where you need to fish deep.

But on the flip side, regular fishing is the most practical choice when it regards fishing deep. Although not everyone will agree with that opinion either.

However, some would consider it as pain in the butt to constantly cast and retrieve almost all the fly line. And then recast, wait for it to sink, and then repeat the whole process. Frankly speaking, I don’t think it is a lot of work as I enjoy it.

Comparison Based On Rod Type:

Fly fishing rods are light in weight, and also used or deployed for casting line by false casting. In addition, with a fly rod – it is somewhat easier to cast small flies at reasonable distances.

Of course, with a fly rod, you can also pull out your ultralight trout rod. So you would be able to cast a good number of nymphs under an indicator across the stream.

On the other hand, regular fishing rods are heavier and also used to cast monofilament line with a single cast.

Additionally, there are also tricks to casting small lures on conventional or traditional gear. By utilizing ultralight rods or simply tying a small lure a few feet behind a lead casting weight.

But however, there’s simply no shortcut or easy way to lay something like a size (22). Then have it lay gently on the surface layer near a rising fish 40 feet (ft) out.

Even at that, there’s the likelihood you won’t or may not be able to get away with an ultralight setup anyway.

When you’re fishing for something like a tarpon that feeds on 2-inch or bigger bait. Remember when you are casting a small lure behind a lead weight for casting. Then you just know it isn’t going to land very smoothly or delicately.

Comparison Based On-Line Type:

As it regards line type, fly fishing uses fly line, leader, and tippet to cast the lightweight flies. While regular fishing uses monofilament line to cash heavier lures that don’t necessarily require the heavier line to cast.

Comparison Based On Presentation:

Fly fishing gives room for upstream and stealthier quiet presentations. Furthermore, you can still work in tighter quarters when fly fishing.

While regular fishing functions or works fine in mimicking bait fish or crawdads. In addition, it is presented at all water depths, retrieved, thrown upstream and delivered to you.

Comparison Based On Cost:

It is quite obvious flies are pretty much cheaper to purchase than lures. It may also interest you to know that you could actually get or access some quality flies for about $1 (USD) each.

On the flip side, cheap crappy lures will cost you double or triple that price thereabout.

So, therefore, it is imperative to note that fly fishing is quite expensive than regular fishing.

Truth be told, flies are really cheaper than lures, but that’s just about the only thing.

Apart from that, everything else in fly fishing is more expensive. That being said, you may even need to budget around $50-$60 in a bid to get some decent or pretty good line.

Thereafter, you could start talking of other essential equipment such as – (the rod, backing, reel, leaders, tippets, strike indicators, waders).

Comparison Based On Practice:

Furthermore, unlike the regular fishing method, you would need a whole lot of room to cast out your fly when engaging in fly fishing.

In fact, this perhaps is one of the very first things you should consider when you try to fly fish. Meanwhile, it doesn’t come easy or cheap.

In addition, you may spend ample time just getting your flies out of the trees than you would do fishing. Yeah sure, it could be that frustrating.

Also, learning to cast in fly fishing could take more skill and practice to be perfect compared to regular fishing.

Boy fishing a pond

Even so, if you’re quick to grab or smart enough, you could even learn how to cast a spinning outfit for regular fishing, perfectly well, in just about 24hours (a day precisely).

In the same vein, with fly fishing – you may still feel like you’ve not had your casting skills well-groomed or perfected yet, regardless of how long you’ve been engaged in fly fishing.

Final Thoughts on Differences between Fly Fishing and Regular Fishing

One of the key motives behind fly fishing, besides catching fish is to fool a fish to bite a fly. They get them to bite any artificial fly that is made with animal pieces (the likes of feathers, hair, etc).

Meanwhile, the aspiration of a good number of fly fishermen is to have themselves challenged or tasked with a more difficult form or kind of fishing to the end that they catch as many fish as possible during the adventure.

That said, the idea of challenging oneself is, of course, a core ideology in fly fishing.

To some individuals, fly fishing (unlike regular fishing) is more tranquil. And it has also been embellished as a more pure or quintessential way to catch a fish.

Normally, a trout will obviously prefer flies mimicking insects more often than not.

While using lures with the regular fishing method just doesn’t give you as many options to catch fish across trout waters.

In recent times, fly fishermen have been so eager or desperate trying to catch everything on a fly rod.

Even so, in most scenarios or cases – they’ve been able to achieve pretty good results.

Can You Only Catch Trout On A Fly Rod?

However, there are those who would disagree and rather say – fly fishing is mainly just for trout. But on the other hand, some would still see that notion as false.

Whatever the case may be, it all boils down to individual perceptions.

Meanwhile, the regular fishing method to some individuals is really meant or designed to catch a whole lot of fish.

In much the same way, it is likely or perhaps a more versatile way to fish. This is especially true if you are aiming or going for different species other than trout.

And as it regards that, the results so far have been awesome. It is not incredible to those who so much believe in regular fishing as the best.

In addition, crankbaits and other resistant lures could only be utilized with regular fishing rods. This is also an edge that regular fishing seems to have over fly fishing anytime, any day.

But however, the fishing skill of the angler often beats any of the fore-mentioned attributes.


In a fair judgment or comparison, between an equally matched regular fisherman and a fly fisherman. The regular fisherman is probably the better option or bet – (if the adventure is not on a river for trout).

As some would say, the true essence of regular fishing is result driven and also easier than fly fishing. Even at that, some would disagree with the same.

And like I said earlier, it all boils down to individual perceptions.

In conclusion, however, stick to what works for you. Even though I prefer Fly Fishing

Here is a book that is good for not just the beginners but for the experts as well and other types of fishing not just fly fishing.

Dean Jensen

I started fly fishing in 1972 and I have learned quite a bit about this wonderful sport called fly fishing and I want to share some of the things that I have learned.

Recent Posts