I find it interesting that there are many fly fishers that refuse to use other fishing methods – ever! Purists you might call them, but many would say these are the people that give off the impression that fly fishing is an elitist sport. I am not having a go at anyone, but what I want to do here is explain that a fly is a lure. Always has been. Always will be. There is a lot to be learnt from lure fishing that can be applied to fly fishing and indeed fly tying and vice versa. So in reality what these “purists” are doing is missing out on a learning opportunity.
Let’s face facts. Many great fly patterns have come about from successful lure patterns. A few classic examples are the Bomber fly that was named after the very successful Gold Bomber lure that is one f the greatest barra lures ever. Or even the humble clouser that was invented to give a fly the same action as a jig or these a soft plastic.
On the reverse there are some lures that exist today that came about due to the success that fly fishers had on certain species and certain flies. Really small metal jigs to get onto those fussy pelagics when they are on eyes (baby anchovies) comes to mind. Once the salmon feeding on these juvenile anchovies were the domain of the fly fisho. The lure and metal throwers found it near impossible to hookup until the metals started to get smaller and lighter and the soft plastics also start following suit with 2 inch plastics that are near on transparent.
But that is not the only way we have benefited. Many times i have fished with lures and had success n certain retrieves, whether it be long pauses or faster retrieves. I have then taken that success and applied the same technique to fly retrieves. A great example of this are whiting on fly. To successfully get whiting to take a lure off the top you have to retrieve relatively fast and don’t pause. Once I cracked that code my fly fishing for whiting improved exponentially by stripping the fly faster and not pausing. Force the fish to strike. When a bream followed the fly or lure back a deliberate pause was usually enough to entice the strike.
Same sort of thing for barra. Get the lure in close and twitch and pause,was usually the most successful technique. Apply the same to the fly, but add a bit of movement by using materials that still move of the pause such as rabbit or marabou. More often than not the hit came on the pause or just as you start the next strip / twitch.
These are just a few examples of learning from one form of fishing and applying it to others. Don’t limit yourself by trying to be a purist. At the end of the day you are only ripping yourself off probably to try and impress others. So next time you are out and the wind starts howling and you get sick of hitting yourself in the back with a clouser, don’t be too pig headed to pick up a spin rod 😉