Those of you who have been following this blog know that the trigger that moved me to learn to fly fish was the terrible time I had on Town Creek last fall. Every leaf in Maryland was floating in the water and every cast with my spin gear snagged one or more leaves. My brother, on the other hand, was doing just fine with his fly gear. Case closed. I had to learn to fly fish.
But... old habits die hard and sometimes you need more than one weapon. So, I was very interested when I saw this hybrid fly/spin rod on Amazon for 20 bucks. For a price that cheap, I figured I would take a chance.
I used this rod when I fished the Bullpasture last week (article on that coming). I fished the north section with this rod as a spin rod and the south section as a fly.
The rod's concept is simple. The rod is basically a fly rod with a removable handle. The handle pulls out and flips to position the reel seat towards the front for spin or in the rear for fly. Since this was the first time I had used it, there was no problem with the handle seating firmly, but I wonder whether it would get slick with use and have you face the nightmare of walking in several miles only to have the rod leave the handle on your first cast. Probably a good reason to carry duct tape if you use this thing consistently.
Spin Comments: This is the floppiest spin rod I have ever used. As you can imagine, a 7'6" spin rod that is as flexible as a fly rod needs to be can be hard to control. However, I was able to fish effectively with it once I got the hang of the motion and relearned how to cast. I found that gentle casts produced a more accurate result. I fished this section of the river with a jointed rapala, caught a few small fish, but moved on fairly quickly based on the overall quality of the river in this section.
Bottom Spin line: Not the world's best spinning rod, but it will do the job.
Fly Comments: There are no markings at the base of this rod that tells you what weight line to use. So, the assumption is that it has not been matched to anything. Based on the length of the rod and the fact that the Bullpasture in the gorge area is a wide river, I chose to use 6wt line on this.
The handle detaches to allow the correct positioning of a fly or spin reel
I found that I could cast just fine. The rod's action was not as smooth as I would have preferred and I found myself having to power the cast more so than I do with either of my real fly rods. I was able to fish dry flies, streamers and nymphs just fine.
Bottom Fly line: Again, not the worlds best at anything, but it was functional.
So the real question becomes, when would you use this thing? Unless you are getting on a airplane and going someplace distant where you are uncertain of the conditions and the best approach, all you are going to do is pile out of the truck and start walking in. With local water, you should have a pretty good idea of the strategy you want to follow. If not, you can always throw a real fly and a real spin rod in the truck and make the decision on the water.
The other situation to consider is that if you are going into some really rough country and are at risk of breaking your rod, then why not take one that is this cheap - it's functional and if you destroy it, you are only out 20 bucks.