A Guide To Salt Water Fly Fishing
A Guide To Salt Water Fly Fishing
If you are used to Trout fishing in rivers you may find fishing in more exposed environments difficult. Our fly fishing expert explains some useful tips, techniques and equipment neccessary for learning to cast and improving your catch in salt water.
When it comes to saltwater fly-casting, sadly we’re not always in the right situation to teach. I won’t say it’s different casting because it’ not, but it means you’ve got to consider the elements. It means you’ll have to consider casting in strong winds and casting big flies. The rod I’ve chosen today to demonstrate is a 9 ft number 8. A 9ft number 8 does most things; it can cast a decent sized bait fish pattern or a heavy crab. We’ve already talked about double-hauling which is very important in salt water fishing, for distance, for casting in the wind and for getting that penetration of the loop into situations where we need to get the fly to turn over.
Getting the fly to turn over is something the fly line manufactures have given a lot of thought, they’ve produced a fly line which has an aggressive forward taper and a stiffer coating and core so that helps us to get the fly to thump over whereas a trout line would really struggle to do that. When we’ve got the kit together, I should talk about is how to start off. We’re talking about bone fishing as it’s a very popular part of fly fishing nowadays. So we’re on the boat and we’re stood on the front of the deck, there’s a guy pulling and looking for fish and hopefully doing his job back there. I always try and get people to hold the fly in their finger and thumb. That gives us the leader length and what I like to have out the rod tip is enough fly line to load the rod. If the guide spots a fish and all you have out the tip of your rod is a yard or even less of fly line, you’re going to get yourself into a real sticky situation where we can’t cast quick enough because we can’t put a load on the rod yet. So I get people to just have enough fly line out there to load that rod immediately. What I like is a piece of that line that’s hanging down behind me, down the side of that boat, so we’ve got a loop of fly line that I’ve got that trailing in the water behind me, ready for when we spot a fish. When I’ve got that fly line there, there are many instances when I can cover a fish immediately, which saves us any false casting. So similarly when your guide has spotted a fish 20 or 30 yards away leaving the flat then if we’ve got all this fly line here to use and enough fly line to load the rod I can throw this into a back-cast, up and over and cast immediately. I’ve got enough line to load that rod so I can cover the fish quickly and get a hook-up immediately. Side-casting is also very useful. When we’re taught trout fishing we’re taught textbook casting styles, up and over the top but with saltwater fishing there’s no real advantage to that as we’ve got no trees to worry about. We’re often out on a shoreline or out on a flat where the only thing we’ve got to worry about is the wind, so side casting also helps to cut beneath the wind but also helps to put that presentation at a very low height, a height where hopefully fish aren’t going to see what’s going on. Many times I’ve been chasing a permit and I’ve made a cast and as soon as I’ve cast I know I’ve done it wrong and lifted the fly line too high. The glare of the fly line flashing in the sunlight is enough to scare them. So picking it up off the water and keeping it low is useful and if we can double hall and side cast at the same time then we can cut in with a very low loop. That works every time and most fish don’t see it coming. If you can adopt side casting so it’s like your natural cast when you’re on the flats that will give you a huge advantage. Another thing about side casting, we’re always in a situation where the wind is wrong and with salt water fishing being able to suddenly turn around and land that fly on the fish is very useful. I like to teach people back casting, a lot of people would do this when fishing for a trout and cast up and down the river but when we start using a heavier rod we need to think about the back cast and cover fish the other way, this method can double your catch.