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Versus: Fly Fishing vs Reel Fishing

What happens when two 50 Campfires contributors square off on topics and gear that matter in the camping world? Punches get thrown, voices get raised, cats and dogs living together, complete madness… Welcome to 50 Campfires Versus – fly fishing vs reel fishing.

Fly Fishing

To be honest, reel fishing has become slightly too competitive for me. It’s the whole operation. Going out on the boat with tons of electronics – more rods on deck than I’d ever use in a day – with every bait and rigging option known to man. Just to catch a fish.

Fly fishing on the other hand, has this wonderful, mystical power over me. Wading through the river, waist-deep – as the pulling current moves around me. The morning air hits my face as the rest of the world is just waking up. The harsh sound of a two-stroke boat motor is replaced by soothing river, as the water tumbles swiftly over the rocks. It truly has become one of my favorite things to do while camping.

My first memory of fly fishing takes me back to the first time I went bobber fishing with my dad. Fishing was new, and exciting, and magical. Back then the act of fishing was the trophy – not the size of the fish. Simply participating made it something special. I would spend all day casting, wading through the river, and enjoying the outdoors.

Fly fishing gear is ultra-lightweight, so you don’t have to load your car down with fishing equipment. You don’t need a boat. You don’t even need to mess with live bait. Just grab a rod, a couple of flies and hit the river, pond or lake. That’s why it’s the perfect activity for any camping trip.

Being relatively new to fly fishing myself, allow me to dispel your current objections. Yes, I still catch a ton of fish. No, it’s not difficult to learn how to fly fish. No, it’s not expensive to get started. And yes, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Going fly fishing is the equivalent of going camping for me. I leave my modern conveniences behind, like electronics and fancy bass boats, and I transport back to the past – to the good ol’ days. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
– Matt

Leave my modern conveniences behind and transport yourself back to the past.
Leave my modern conveniences behind and transport yourself back to the past.

Reel Fishing

The beauty of reel fishing is that a three year old can literally cast a push-button reel and get hooked on the sport of fishing as he or she is learning to talk. If you have a friend in town that has never even touched a fishing pole, that friend will have no problem learning how to cast. The skill will come easily and before you know it, they’ll be catching fish on their own.

Another benefit of reel fishing is that you have more variety in the fish you catch. With 8 lb. test line and a decent rod you can fish anything from sunfish to northern pike. If you’re throwing spinner baits or spoons for larger fish, you can also cast much further with a reel because the line is so light.

The widespread accessibility and reasonable pricing is also appealing to aspiring fishermen. You can often find a reel setup in any gas station that has bait. You’ll also be able to get up and running for under $50. It’s affordable, easy, and hey – you just might catch your dinner.
– Clint

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