I was in many fishing situations during the past 35 years, in which spin fishermen (using wobblers and spinners) outfished fly fishermen (using typical flies).
Today I can't tell you anymore, what exactly a typical fly is. At some point in fly fishing history it was a dry fly - mostly tied by wrapping feathers around the hook shank.
Many fly fshermen have tried to define, what exactly a fly would have to be about. In my point of view they all failed! Why? Because their definitions would exclude many flies, which already were in use by several thousands of fly fishermen around the globe.
Obviously we fly fish for more and more new species of fish these years. Due to that we need new and innovative fly designs. For sure everytime one of us published a new fly design pushing the boundaries of fly tying a bit more, there was a serious number of fly fishermen protesting that fly to no longer be a fly, but a lure in general.
Some pretty good examples are:
Ray Brooks inventing the Sunray Shadow. A fly tied on a piece of plastic tube. Many fly fishermen of course said that fly to not qualify to be one.
Bob Popovics publishing the Surf Candy. A fly coming with a rigid body shaped with epoxy glue in the first place. I remember a lot of us denying that great fly to be one.
Bob Clouser inventing the Clouser Minnow. A fly coming with a pretty serious weight making that fly jig up and down. Many fly fishermen at that time said, that a fly would not jig.
Martie van den Brand developing the Wobble Fly. A fly copying the typical movement of wobblers. Martie received a fair amount of protest, because a fly would not wobble.
Blane Chocklett publishing the Gummy Minnow. A fly purely made by gummy. Of course such a thing can't be a fly anymore, right?
Paolo Pacchiarini creating his Wiggle tail (and now even Dragon tail) flies. Yeah, a fly couldn't wiggle!?
Ed Sisty introducing (weighted) bead head nymphs. Obviously back then a fly couldn't have such a heavy sinking head!?
Should I further mention all our "non feather in it" flies today? ;)
Well, I think it's fair to summarize, that all these fine flies today are not only pretty well known for having caught a lot of fish (all kind of different species of fish included here), but to truly be a fly.
For me a fly is artificial and it has to come with a proper castabilty casting it with a fly rod matching to fish for the targeted species of fish. And then it has to be designed to be used for exactly that!
Sure you can cast a small Mepps spinner on a Tarpon fly rod. But a Mepps spinner was designed to be fished on a spinning rod and obviously not to catch Tarpon.
Entering fly fishing shops today I find flies, that
wobble, jig up and down, slide straight, slide crossways (riffle hitch), popp up, popp down, wiggle and a lot more!
Simply we copied a lot of actions of all kind of lures being used by spin fishermen.
Also looking at super realistic flies entering all kind of fly tying tournaments more and more shows flies being tied with a lot of materials, which 30 years ago would not have been accepted for fly tying by many of us.
The world of fly tying is changing - and I think that's fantastic! Who really wants to see a tying instruction of the great old Wooly bugger all over again and again (and again). Don't get me wrong: The Wooly bugger still is a great fly. It's just that there are already enough tying instructions for it to be found. ;)
Intensely chasing asp during the past years I realised, that spinners are the maybe best lures to catch them in many situations - especially in no moving (still) water.
So, finally I designed a spinning fly! You may find it in the pictures below. It rotates around it's own axis and makes great action even in very slow speed. No doubt it will also be a great fly to catch a lot of other species of fish, like for example Atlantic salmon!?
Castabilty of the Spinning Fly is great and I designed it to fish for asp with my 6 wt. fly rod. Publishing that fly on facebook I received a brilliant feedback. Lots of messages highlighting this fly to be innovative and well worth to give it a go. Of course I also got feedback telling me this not to be a fly, because a fly would not twist and a fly fisherman would not use a swivel to match the leader twist. But you know what, that's exactly what they said about Pitzenbauer rings decades ago. A fly fisherman of course wouldn't add a metal ring into his leader, right!?. Anyway, today hundret thousands of us are using these rings in dry fly fishing. The swivel btw. comes in the same weight as a Pitzenbauer ring and can also solve the leader twist many large mayfly imitations bring in.
You decide, whatever fly to hang on! Hopefully I could add some thought provoking stuff here!? ;)
Great fly fishing week to all of you!
All my best
P.s.: Please let me know, when the Spinning Fly did bring you a fine catch. Thanks!
P.p.s.: If you think a fly would have less of a rigid body, you may just add a zonker stripe on the back of the Spinning Fly. Oh, or you may wrap a feather around it's body!? It's the action, not the shaping details, which are key for this fly design. ;)
Some flies and fish below...