Fly Fishing With A Spinning Rod

There are many reasons to let flies fly on your spinning rod.

Perhaps you are traveling and have only one rod. Fly casting might be something you don’t know how to do or aren’t interested in. You might have a painful shoulder injury that makes fly casting difficult. Perhaps the high price of fly tackle makes it prohibitive for you and you are looking for alternatives that allow you to fish with what you have.

No matter what the reason, spinning tackle can be just as deadly as fly gear when used to cast flies.

Continue reading to discover the tips and techniques that will make fishing fly fishing easy!

Technique Basics: Two Options Explained

Casting a fly rod is done by using the line’s weight. Proper technique and a heavy fly line with tippet and leader will propel your almost weightless flies along.

Fly tackle casting is based on the line’s weight to propel the almost weightless fly.

However, a spinning tackle is not able to rely on the line’s weight to propel a fly.

Casting requires some weight. The challenge is to find the right setup to cast without casting or sinking your flies.

Anglers in Europe have a solution, fortunately!

A recent trip to Una river, Bosnia and Herzegovina saw anglers casting with spinning rods equipped with flies. After taking a careful look at the situation and having a few conversations with them, I was able to understand their method.

Fly anglers will love the Una.

Their secret? They use a variety of weighted cast bubbles to pitch flies (or two, three, or four) across the country without sinking or affecting their delicate actions.

Here’s how it works.

Option 1: The Casting Bubble

Casting bubbles are the most popular technique I have seen.

They are rare enough to find in the United States, and I was surprised to discover that Amazon makes it easy to get one. Best Fishing Secrets sells a 3-pack that includes swivels. This makes rigging, especially for wooly buggers and nymphs, really easy.

Rainbow TP-1B Torpedo bubbles are a great option, especially for dry flies.

It is very easy to use them.

The water casting bubbles, such as the Best Fishing Secret are easy to use. Simply fill the bubble with water until it is ready for casting. The torpedo-style comes pre-weighted so that it can be taken out of the box.

Option 2: Slip Float

I tried some experiments on my own and found that slip floats work well.

Pick a float that is heavy enough to permit casting. It should not weigh less than 1/4 ounce. Theft has a great design in 1/6, 1/2, and 3/8 ounces.

This tutorial will show you how to set up slip floats.

You will only need a few knots, bobber stops, and some bobber stops.

The Setup: Do It Right!

It is easy to understand that you will need weight to cast a fly using a spinning tackle. Both casting bubbles or weighted slip floats are good options.

No matter which option you choose, the key is how it’s set up.

You want your fly to be at the end of the line for best performance. If casting bubbles are my preference, I prefer to use a standard-weight mono such as a 6-pound Stren Original on one side and a lighter leader like 4-pound Test to the fly. Trout Magnet S.O.S. leader material is even better. 2-pound copolymer mono is a winner.

Casting bubbles often have eyes on both ends. However, some casting bubbles work like slip floats that require a large stopper. Both options work well. The sliding option is easier to cast.

Slip floats are best rigged. Adjust the depth of your float and connect your main line to your leader about a foot below the float. A Double Uni knot is the best choice.

Next, measure your leader for each option. I prefer 3 feet because casting is easier and the fly doesn’t get too close to my bubble.

I prefer about three feet between my casting bubbles and my fly.

Attach your leader to the one end of the casting bubble. Then, tie the mainline to the other end and give the casting bubble enough water to make a cast.

Apply dry fly floatant every time. Hackle Armour Classic Dry Fly dressing is my favorite. This will keep your fly on top for longer.

To help the fly sink, I might crimp a little split shot if I’m working with a nymph/woolly bugger.

Troubleshooting an Alternative Rig

Many anglers report that their fly tends not to land near the float, or that the limp leader can cause problems with hooksets.

The gentlemen I met on the Una preferred a different rig.

They cast the casting bubble Place their flies at the end and start to move towards the back of the bubble.

Many anglers I met had four or more flies attached in this manner. They had been doing it for decades so I know it works!

This alternative is to tie the fly using an overhand knot and attach the tag end of the casting bubble.

The knot’s strength won’t be important, and the overhand will hold it in place well.

Last Thoughts

Casting fly with a spinning rod can be easy. With the right equipment, knowledge, and the right tools, you can benefit from stronger rods, better drag, harder fighting reels, and a more powerful spinning tackle.

We’d love to know if this guide helped you.

Leave a comment and check out our fly fishing trips!

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.