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Fish Tales

There are usually two sides to every fish story; the tale and the truth. Some believe the same could be said about methods of fishing. On one side, there is bass fishing. On the other, there is fly fishing. Which one is right and which one is wrong is always up for debate. One school of thought is that you are either a bass fisherman or a fly fisherman. It’s like the Hatfields and McCoys. Flip-flopping sides is an act of treason.

Many summer days were spent at my grandparents’ house growing up. Both lived in rural areas with a lake or pond in the backyard. There I learned the ways of bass fishing. For a long time, that was it for me. I knew fly fishing existed, but I never had a chance to try it. A recent trip to Montana seemed to be an opportunity too perfect to pass up. This is my tale about two types of fishing.


Regardless of method, fishing requires comparable basic equipment. You need a rod to cast the line/lure, a reel to pull in the line/lure, some line to put into the water, a lure to attract the fish, and a hook on the lure to catch the fish. That’s pretty much where the similarities end.

With that said, there isn’t a rule of nature that says you can’t catch bass with fly fishing tackle or you can’t fish a stream with bass fishing rod and reel. It’s a matter of using the best tool for the job. You could drive a nail into wood using a wrench, but wouldn’t a hammer be better? So what’s the big difference?


In the world of bass fishing reels, you have a few options. Generally speaking any reel can be used to catch any fish. Some are a little better than others for certain situations. Ultimately, it just boils down to what you prefer and what feels the most comfortable.

The spincaster reel is arguably the most common and easiest reel. Push a button and fling the lure into the water. Once you begin to reel, the line locks and starts to retract.

Spincaster Reel
Spincaster Reel

The baitcaster reel is very similar the spincaster in terms of casting and reeling functionality. In my humble opinion, the biggest difference between the spincaster and baitcaster is the level of experience of the fisherman.

Baitcaster Reel
Baitcaster Reel

The spinning reel is where things get weird. First, it seems upside-down with the reel on the underside of the rod. Also, casting and reeling aren’t so simple. To cast hold the line near the reel with your rod-holding hand, flip open the bar partially surrounding the spool, then release the line as you fling the lure at the apex of the cast while making sure not to let go of the rod and chucking everything into the water. You’re not done. Make sure you flip the spool bar back or else you won’t be able to reel.

Spinning Reel
Spinning Reel

Choosing the right reel aside, the rhythmic cast/reel/cast/reel can have a relaxing quality at times. With a much heavier lure than fly fishing, long-distance casting is easier if the monotonous back and forth becomes too tedious. When a fish is hooked, it’s pretty obvious. You can feel a tug on the line. Reeling in the fish the fairly straightforward. Just wind the reel and pull.


The fly reel resembles the spinning reel with the upside-down look. However, there are nowhere near as many moving parts. Well, mechanically speaking at least.

Fly Reel
Fly Reel

The thing that sets fly fishing apart isn’t so much the equipment as it is the casting technique. Basically, you pull out the amount of line you plan to use from the reel then whip the rod back and forth until all the line is out. This procedure is required since the weight of the lure is so small and bass fishing casting would not work. Trust me. I’ve tried. To me fly fishing casting is more like an art form with it’s own therapeutic consequences.


In the end, both methods fishing have the same effect on me. I like it. Maybe there’s a sense of nostalgia somewhere in my subconscious. Maybe I just enjoy tricking fish. Either way you look at it, I should be able to eat for a lifetime, right?



To be or not to be, that is the question.


One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.


There’s no crying in baseball.