You can learn a lot about catching fish on the fly from the conventional anglers. The spin-and-cast guys are just has hardcore and passionate about saltwater fishing as the fly fishermen. These guys can teach you something about what type of flies to select, how to fight fish, how to read the water, the best knots to tie, and what to look for when you’re fishing.
Also if you don’t come off as an elitist, as many fly fishermen do, one of these guys might take you out fishing striper fishing on his boat or to one of his favorite surf fishing spots. A good conventional angler will impart the kind of fishing knowledge that you could never find in the best book. Remember the adage, “experience is the best teacher.”
Many of the most skilled and knowledgeable saltwater fly fishermen are also outstanding spin-and-cast anglers, fishermen who have honed their skills by surf casting with a surf rod and/or jig fishing from a boat. Truth of the matter is, the most skilled fly fisherman is always the best all-around fisherman.
Learning to cast a spinning outfit will make you a better fly caster. Why? Because being able to cast a small jig accurately into a small space, like a mangroves along a shoreline, will refine your fly casting abilities.
Another example of learning from the conventional guy: The “old salt” you find routinely hanging around the local dock or tackle shop is a wealth of information even if he has never held a fly rod. There’s is a good chance that he has logs of his countless hours spent fishing and has probably caught more than his share of saltwater game fish. Most of these guys love to talk fishing as it was in the “good ol’ days.” Get them started and stand by. Willing to pass on information, they will regale you with some of the most interesting tales about the old days that are not only interesting but also educational.
So, to become a more than passable saltwater fly angler, take some advice from the conventional fisherman. If you do, you’ll be a better and more informed angler and not just a fly fisherman.
By Conway Bowman