I recently had an opportunity to spend a wekend bass fishing with a good friend who also happens to be a staunch fly-fisherman. I was interested in comparing the two techniques and their effectiveness on bass.

We were fishing out of a 16' side console fishing boat. My buddy "McFly" was on the trolling motor and I was in the back.

The first thing about bass fishing out of a boat with a fly-fisher is that they take up a lot of airspace with false casting. I found myself having to wait for him to get his fly in the water before I could make my cast. I also had to get used to the occasional false cast whipping over my head! Proper positioning of ourselves in the boat was key to efficient casting.

I was equipped with three baitcasting outfits: crankinf stick, worm rod and flippin' stick. McFly used mainly one rod for whole time, except when the first rod broke and he switched to the back-up.

When fishing around structure I have to admit that a fly rod in the hands of a skilled fly-fisher is more accurate than any other kind of set-up. I pride myself on the accuracy of my casts with a baitcasting rig. However, Mcfly could lay down a fly with the accuracy of a cruise missile on an Afghan mud hut.

But that is where the advantage ends for the fly rod.

With my three rigs I was able to quickly change up my presentation as conditions changed. I could be burning crankbaits and then quickly switch to a worm if we cam upon a stump or some cover. McFly wold have to tie on a new fly for every new presentation.

McFly did have a great weedless fly that worked really well in heavy cover, but he didn't catch anything on it. My scum frog was not quite as weedless as McFly's weedless fly, but I got a lot more action on it. I would have been interested in seeing how the fly rod performed if McFly did have to pull a hawg out of deep cover.

The biggest advantage of a baitasting rig (or spinning rig for that matter) over a fly rod is the endless variety of presentations that are available. A fly rod is designed for one thing - casting flys. When the fish are biting flies, that is great. However, when they are no, you are, pardon the pun, up the creek with a fly rod.


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Comment by chris on August 14, 2008 at 11:20am
An interestig comparrison, a fly fisherman could also have 3 or 4 rods set up with differing techniques ready to go of course! Also the fly fisherfolk i've fished with (i'm not one) have shown exelence way above my own simple skills on knots, what with all that whippit, leader, and of course fly tying abilities. i'd love to indulge in a similar test.

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