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Dble Haul 12-20-2001 07:01 PM

Spinner flies- Lures or flies?
I've been into some discussions lately as to whether or not spinner flies are really flies. For the purpose of this poll, a spinner fly will be defined as a fly that incorporates a propeller, in-line spinner, or tail spinner.

I say that anything that can be cast within reason on a fly rod is a fly. Heck, aren't clouser deep minnows pretty close to being fly rod jigs? I admit that spinner flies may blurr the edges a bit between flies and lures, but IMHO they're still flies.

pmflyfisher 12-20-2001 07:32 PM

Lures to me and in all fly fishing only sections I have fished to date. Not much difference to me between these and a regular spinner, mepps, rooster tail, abu reflex etc... Did a lot of spinner fishing at one time in youth. That is my .02 cents

Tod D 12-20-2001 08:56 PM

Latest issue of Fly Tyer has a piece on spinner "flies".

My .02 - too much of a bastardization to be considered a true fly; I vote for lure. (My brother-in-law would suggest that clousers and other weighted flies - ones that cause fly casting to violate the 'line pulling the fly' maxim - are more properly considered lures as well. No matter, I'll still fish 'em).

John Desjardins 12-20-2001 09:34 PM

Oh No :tsk_tsk: the annual what is a fly debate is 2 months early. I didn't expect to see this until March :whoa:.

Eventually after all the debate is over it can be defined in two different ways; an angler's choice of what is a fly, and what the regulations say is a fly. Neither of these is cut and dry. On one extreme view point all streamers are called a lure, because they do not imitate an insect. On the other extreme is the definition of if I can cast it with a fly rod its a fly.

My own opinion is to look at the appropriate regulations and follow them.

Eddie 12-20-2001 10:21 PM

They are all lures. Feathers and fur too. But then I like to call my nine weight a pole. It pisses some people off for some reason. "Hey, check out my bamboo pole".
Fly fishing on the other hand is a style of presentation. It is too early for this thread, but at least it is still civil. Other forums are melting down as we speak.:eyecrazy:

saltRon 12-21-2001 12:11 AM

flies or lures
My humble opinon tells me that any non fixed attachment to a hook that will rotate about the axis of said hook should not be called a FLY. I am sure we have all Fished wiith Flashers , spinners and all sorts of additional hardware attractors but we at that time did not refer to it as flyfishing. You can throw a fly with a spinning rod with a weighted bobber , or what have you but it is not FLY FISHING We could use rods and line systems to propel just about any form of attractor man made or natural that man has come up with to chase fish with but in my opinion that is not fishing with the fly unless we tied that to the hook
I will also state that I have thrown the occasional plastic egg to the salmon and following cuthroat trout but have also felt a little bit guilty about using it but have felt no pangs about using a tied imitation in wool.

MY .02 saltRon

Dble Haul 12-21-2001 07:01 PM

Thank you....
Thanks to those who responded to the poll. I'm working on an article about how certain paradigms have changed throughout the history of flyfishing and tying, especially about what actually constitutes a fly. It's interesting to see how attitudes and materials change over time......spinner flies were very mainstream from the late 1800s until about WWII. Of course, their departure from flyrods was due at that time to the advent of the spinning reel, but that's another history.

Tod, I just got my issue of Fly Tyer (a few days late due to my recent address change). I plan to read the article that you mentioned very soon. Thanks.

I think that John's post was very insightful and probably sums everything up best: it's a personal choice that eventually falls under local regulations. Well put.

BTW, the responses of this small poll are very much in line with what I've been learning at the flyshops, among friends, and in the recent literature. You guys are a very representative group! :)

roballen 12-22-2001 11:59 PM

Well let me lay down the law here.. keep in mind this is not my opinion this is a fact of life :)

Spinner/fly = spinner= lure = not a fly
weighted fly=Jig= not a fly

juro 12-23-2001 12:24 AM

Call me mr. double standard. :devil:

When I fish for steelhead, I never use weighted flies. I think one can move a steelhead to a well-swum fly and there is really no need given sinktips and all the tricks we have up our sleeves nowadays. I don't tie them or use them.

If and when I get to fish the Gaspe or Scotland's Dee / Spey or other legendary AS rivers, you won't see anything but my finest unweighted salmon patterns on the tippet.

When I fish for trout a beadhead nymph when fishing a nymph off a dropper doesn't bother me or make me feel 'dirty' ;) but I prefer woolly buggers over beadhead buggers and dries over all of the above; for trout.

When I fish for bonefish, weighted eyes are used on the many popular bonefish flies and I think they are important. I caught my first bonefish in a patchwork of coral bits, turtle grass and sand and if the point of the hook was hanging below the fly I would have never been able to keep it out of the obstacle course the bones were feeding on. Two links of a bead chain don't make my crazy charlies jigs, although I guess they are jigs in essence. They are still flies to me, saltwater flies.

When I fish for stripers, I use a variety of flies to suit the forage I want to imitate. Lately I have been focused on the sand eel, which can be tied hook up or hook down. For hook down patterns I favor epoxy body "flies", for hook up I like an adaptation of a streamer and the crazy charlie design. I believe that chronologically Bob Clouser's deep minnow followed the Florida saltwater angler's creations, and that the deep minnow is based on the same principles as the charlie. Both are in wide use today, and although by steelhead or salmon fly standards they are indeed not within my personal taste threshold but for the eat-or-be-eaten world of the briny surf I could really care less about the elegance of the fly, and enjoy poppers, sliders, and other contraptions for fish that may require steel tippets to prevent their teeth from sawing off the fly in an instant. Using a fly rod for 30 pound striped bass is in itself a concession when conventional tackle for the same fish is a 12 foot telephone pole surf stick and a 3-ballbearing spinning reel with 30 pound test and swivels the size of black jelly beans.

I guess for me it depends on what I am going after!

Besides, the only truly unweighted fly is the one without a metal hook!

striblue 12-23-2001 08:47 AM

For me ,I don't consider a weighted fly as a Non-fly.. I mean even in the trout ranks I have used a number of "weighted" nymph paterns and the Clouser ,although arguably a "jig ,is a fly to me. This is particularly true of say a Sedotti Slammer... tied similarly to a lefty's deceiver but wth a couple variations. However.. it is generally tied with a lead keel as are anumber of pure feather patterns.

Hawkeye 12-23-2001 08:56 AM

I think if you go the "weighted fly is not a fly" route then you logically need to also concede that a dry fly with floatant applied to it is not a fly.

Personally I think this fly/not a fly issue is only a real issue when considering regulations or rules to some sort of contest. Other than that ... to each his own.

Colston 12-28-2001 12:23 PM


Funny I should come across this. I haven't thought about flies mounted behind inline spinners in years and now have the subject come up three times in a week this discussion, a comment a fly shop owner made and got a shadowbox of old flies for Xmas that had a McGinty mounted behind a spinner in it.

The shop owner, who ties a great many of his own flies for sale, said there was a lot of interest in fly/spinner combos just now but he was having trouble finding appropriate spinner blades.

The shop is in Richmond Va. and I suspect the interest in fly/spinners reflects the smallmouth orientation of that area. I also suspect it reflects a lingering lack of confidence in their and their equipment's ability on the part of newer flyfishers. I can recall figuring ways to use my fly rod as an inefficient spinning rod before I learned how to actually catch fish with true flies.

ssully 12-29-2001 04:18 PM


Originally posted by juro
Using a fly rod for 30 pound striped bass is in itself a concession when conventional tackle for the same fish is a 12 foot telephone pole surf stick and a 3-ballbearing spinning reel with 30 pound test and swivels the size of black jelly beans. [/B]
Ahem... I took a 30# striper this year but it was on a 7' spinning rod on 8# test mono. Are your tippets that light?

Flies, not flies who cares it's only fishing.

juro 12-30-2001 10:35 PM

Congrats on that fish, sounds like you are having yourself a heck of a year. That kind of finesse (8#) is not what most anglers would consider conventional for the fishery (which was my point). I wish everyone gave as much consideration for the "sport" in sportfishing as you.

On an unrelated note it's possible to go too far on the light side as well, which is a common accusation made against fly fishing. Despite these claims I'm confident that with 9wt or better gear and an aggressive fighting method the fish is in good shape when it takes off like a rocket after release. This applies even more to today's awesome light tackle spinning and level-wind outfits, with fast retrieve rates and silky drags light tackle tames big fish efficiently... as Sully's fish proves.

That being said, as a fly-only angler I think I'd pop 8# tippet every time with fish over mid-30" range trying to get them in for a quick release. I use 12# for light tippets (flats) and 15# for heavy (rips). On occasion, I will use 20# in the big surf (e.g. Nauset) to land big fish in the pounding surf effectively. Fly size also plays a big part, I will override as needed to turn a big fly over.

ssully 12-30-2001 11:49 PM


Thanks for the reply. Just had to do some bait fishing. :D

This type of thread comes up every year on every board that I read. And what bothers me the most is that it projects an eliteist attitude. Which I might add that this board and it's members are not about. Hence my comment, "that it's only fishing".

Everyone here knows I love to fish. Sometimes fishing is tough. I will fish whatever method it takes to entice a fish to take. But I do prefer certain methods and FF is one of them. I just don't limit myself to that. I agree it is the ultimate challenge, but not the only way to fish. It's an added bonus in this short race called life.

If fishermen you meet in the field or online detect an attitude they may not decide to pursue this beautiful sport of FF and that is my concern. Because when it comes down to it and I catch a nice fish by other means I ALWAYS think in the back of my mind what it would have been like to catch that fish on a flyrod. ;)

Rant over!

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