PODCAST: That’s Not Fly Fishing | What It Is, What It Isn’t, Who Cares

by | Jun 11, 2023 | 26 comments

 The Troutbitten Podcast is available everywhere that you listen to your podcasts.

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“That’s Not Fly Fishing.” How many times have you heard this at the bar or seen someone write it on social media? When the way you are fishing isn’t up to someone’s standards, when it doesn’t align with their own preferences, it seems that this frequent argument comes out easily — That’s not fly fishing!

Of course, there is no single definition for what fly fishing is. The fly rod is a tool. Flies are the bait. And how anglers choose to use them is where personal creativity comes in. It’s that inventiveness and room for imagination that makes fly fishing so attractive to us in the first place.

How can we do things better? How can we use these tools to catch more trout?

Every angler draws their own lines for what fly fishing is. And this episode is not just for talking through what fly fishing might be and where each of us might draw the lines. Instead, we’d like to acknowledge the absurdity of the lines themselves — the decisions we make about what is fly fishing and what is not.

How can someone be so adamantly against tight line tactics, but gladly fish a bobber and split shot all day? This makes no sense.

How can you be all in on tungsten beads but claim that adding split shot makes it not fly fishing?

Likewise, how can you be against a ball jighead on a streamer but have a full box of dumbell eyes? Is it because Bob Clouser told everyone it’s okay?

These absurdities, and these questions are what we’re here to talk about tonight. There’s a lot to this one, and we have plenty of conversations with a full house.


READ: Troutbitten | Where the Lines Are Drawn
READ: Troutbitten | Fly Fishing the Mono Rig Q&A — Lines, Rigging and the Skeptics
READ: Troutbitten | No Limits — Use Every Type of Weight Available

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Season Seven of the Troutbitten Podcast continues next week with episode ten. So look for that one in your podcast feed.

Fish hard, friends.


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Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.


  1. Recently posed a question about recommended vendors for jigoff tungsten beads on a popular site. One responder accused me of desecrating the sport of fly fishing by “spin fishing using a fly rod”. Real helpful guy………………

    • People who say it’s spin fishing on a fly rod have no idea what the tactic actually is. Same applies to those who say it’s easy.

      Oh, is it? Come show me how easy it is, please. I’d like to see this.


  2. Hey, as another PA native I have been wondering if you guys ever say crick. I grew up calling any body of water that was smaller than a river and did not have creek in its name a crick.

    Thompson Run is a crick. Oil Creek is a creek.

    Is that a PA thing or am I white trash?

    Great podcast. Thanks!

    • Not white trash. Just a spot burner.


      Seriously, I mix and match crick and creek, depending on the watershed too. Weird, though, isn’t it?

      • Good call. I selected two streams that are heavily stocked and didn’t see much action after opening day back when I lived there. But that does not mean they aren’t special to someone. Also I think there is at least 1 Thompson run near every town I have ever lived in. But point taken. My mistake.

        People make fun of me relentlessly about saying crick where I currently live. I am happy to know I am not the only one saying it

    • I grew up in Iowa and we called a creek a creek if you used the formal name, “I’m fishing Indian Creek.” However for the same water, in the informal it was a crick, “I’m fishing the crick.”

      • So is it more of a midwestern thing? I know a guy who grew up in New Jersey that swears he has never heard anyone say it.

        For the longest time I just assumed it was one of those strange sayings that only people in your home town said.

        • I had never heard of a named Run until I moved to Central Pennsylvania. I new people in South Florida that had lived there their entire life and they said crick. So who knows where it originates.

  3. “Beasuse they are jealous” I get comments a lot from Housatonic river guides that my fish don’t count or that I am cheating.

    • They are better than you, Jon. Didn’t you know that?



  4. I’ve known Bob Clouser since he opened his fly shop, and I don’t think that Bob Clouser ever said that dumb bell eyes were okay. He just started using them, and didn’t care what anyone thought about it. : )

    In 1995 I spent four days in the Florida Keys fishing and tying flies with Jack Gartside. I asked Jack what he thought about the Clouser Minnow and he snorted, “It’s nothing but a jig,” as he wound .030 lead wire onto a hook prior to tying a streamer on it.

  5. The Green Weenie is not a junk fly; it matches inch worms and some species of caddis larvae, which must explain why it works so well on a certain PA limestoner, even in November.

    Glo Bugs and Sucker Spawn in natural egg colors are not junk flies, either.

    Anyway, I’m with Dom, who cares.

  6. Loved listening to That’s Not Flyfishing while working out today
    Thoughts that it spawned…

    What if one style fits all coaches said kids had to pitch like Koufax or Kershaw…sorry Abernathy and Suter ,try soccer

    What if similar coaches put the reins on Dick Fosbury in the high jump or tried to make Lee Trevino swing like Al Geiberger?

    What if Nikola Jolic was told to play like Kareem and MJ that he must emulate Havlicek instead of Dr. J and Connie Hawkins?

    Creative invention moves the ball forward or we’d still have football helmets of leather and no face masks.

  7. What makes me laugh about these “purists” is that they actually think I care what they think about me. Trash the mono rig if you must, then move along. I have fish to catch.

  8. This was my favorite podcast so far. I really liked hearing about what y’all used when you started fishing. I grew up on the Susquehanna River, and my favorite lures were also floating Rapalas and Mepps Spinners, plus a 6″ Creme purple plastic worm.

  9. I like that you all found holes in each others’ definitions. There’s a reason it’s hard to define where the line is, and that’s because the line is different for different people. In the same vein, innovation is attractive to some people and scary for others.

  10. Fun topic! If you or others reading this are interested in a bit of history/origins of where some of these issues come from…a good read is a book called “The Fly” by Andrew Herd. One thing I can share as a take away from the over arching history of angling (fishing with a rod and hook) is that during like 90% of its history the terms and definitions were easy. Angling was done with a rod, a fixed line and the hook end defined what you did. Bait was bait fishing and an artificially created “lure” was fly fishing (they did not have spinners, spoons, etc). The invention of the reel at first was dismissed by most until it technologically was able to be made way more useful. Reel technology is, along with other industrial revolution advancements, what leads us to have the lines blurred. Think about it…you cannot “spin” fish until you have a reel of that sophistication…stripping or working the line with your hand, as Dom points out in this podcast as a critical part of fly fishing, does not enter the sport until reels and guides become common place…and the reel, actually in terms of history, is a way more recent addition to the sport. Anyhow the reel and its advancements and now rod technology, like ultra light spin rods, really are the start of the blurring of the lines and taking “sides” world.

  11. If you pay for the equipment, what you tie on is completely artificial then you can call it anything you want and if they want to buy me equipment they can tell me what to call it!


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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