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.