Can You Fly Fish with a Spinning Rod?

White and Black Boat on Sea

Fly fishing and spinning are two distinct fishing techniques, each with its unique set of equipment and methods. However, there may be situations where an angler wants to try their hand at fly fishing but doesn’t have access to a dedicated fly rod. This raises the question: Can you fly fish with a spinning rod? In this blog post, we’ll explore the feasibility of using a spinning rod for fly fishing and discuss some tips for making the most of this unconventional approach.

The Challenges of Fly Fishing with a Spinning Rod

At first glance, it might seem impossible to fly fish with a spinning rod. After all, fly fishing relies on the weight of the fly line to cast lightweight flies, while spinning relies on the weight of the lure to propel the line. Nevertheless, it is possible to fly fish with a spinning rod, albeit with some limitations and adjustments.

  1. Casting Distance: The most significant challenge when fly fishing with a spinning rod is achieving the casting distance and accuracy that a traditional fly rod provides. The weight of the spinning rod and reel, combined with the lack of a weighted fly line, can make casting lightweight flies difficult.
  2. Line Control: Another challenge is line control, as the spinning reel does not offer the same level of control as a fly reel. This can make it difficult to manage line slack and achieve a proper presentation of the fly.

Tips for Fly Fishing with a Spinning Rod

  1. Use a Casting Bubble: A casting bubble is a small, clear plastic float that can be attached to your spinning line to provide additional weight for casting. Fill the casting bubble partially with water to adjust its weight, and tie a section of monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to the other end. Attach your fly to the leader, and you’re ready to cast.
  2. Choose the Right Flies: When fly fishing with a spinning rod, it’s essential to select flies that can be cast effectively using the casting bubble’s added weight. Lightweight, buoyant flies, such as dry flies and foam-bodied poppers, work well for this technique.
  3. Adapt Your Casting Technique: Adjust your casting technique to accommodate the spinning rod and casting bubble. Use a sidearm or lob cast to prevent the bubble and fly from tangling during the cast. Keep in mind that you won’t achieve the same casting distance or accuracy as with a traditional fly rod, so focus on shorter, more controlled casts.
  4. Practice Line Control: While line control is more challenging with a spinning rod, it’s still possible to achieve a proper presentation by carefully managing the line on the reel. Use your fingers to apply tension to the line as it leaves the reel, and be prepared to quickly reel in slack or let out the line as needed to maintain a natural drift or retrieve.


Although fly fishing with a spinning rod is not the most conventional approach, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for anglers who want to try something new or don’t have access to a dedicated fly rod. By using a casting bubble, choosing the right flies, and adapting your casting and line control techniques, you can successfully fly fish with a spinning rod. Give it a try, and you might just discover a new way to enjoy the art of fly fishing.