Saltwater Fly Fishing 101
Fly fishing in itself can be intimidating for the uninitiated. Watching a
fly fisher while holding a spin rod can feel humbling. The whole world
of fly fishing looks complicated, daunting, unfriendly and expensive.
But is also alluring, and sooner or later, if you like to fish, you may
very well take the plunge and begin to learn. To experiment, and
hopefully to catch a fish. Before long you might begin to think of
yourself as a fly angler. Gain confidence, skill and knowledge. Try new
fly fishing experiences, and learn new techniques, flies and buy even
more gear. And on and on it goes, as learning about fly fishing is a
Well, let's go one step further shall we?
Saltwater fly fishing is the epitome of everything said in the previous
paragraph and more. Even for the seasoned fly fishing trout angler,
saltwater fly fishing looks like an impossible task, to say the least.
For one thing the ocean is huge, enormous, and might as well be
unending. Even the most competent caster can only cover a ridiculously
minute portion of the area why would one even bother. When scanning a
river or lake, one can have an educated guess about where the fish will
lie. But the ocean? Where they can be anywhere can't they, and then you
have the whole business of the tide to learn. It isn't seasonal, it is
daily. And then we have the myriad of flies to learn about all over
again. It took years to learn about trout flies, and it is still
ongoing, one must really start all over again?? Ugh!
Yes it is
daunting, but remember when you first learned about fly fishing in
general. Or frankly any new hobby or topic. It is all daunting at first.
Learning is daunting, but becomes easier, as the new area of interest
is unveiled slowly. A little knowledge to start, to hang later more
detailed knowledge on is the most crucial. So let's start with just a
If you are in an area where saltwater fly
fishing is well practiced, you are in an easier position to obtain such
knowledge, by asking fly shop owners, and fly fisher's, and by
observation you can begin to get a feel for what it is all about. But
much of the world's saltwater fly fishing opportunities are virtually
So let's see what we can do to break this down. Like
fishing lakes and big rivers, you have only look at the territory you
can actually cover with your fly rod. And pretty much ignore the rest.
For saltwater fly fishing that territory is the 60 feet or so next to
shore. The easiest way to explore this area is by foot at low tide, when
you can actually see the underwater terrain. You can first invest in a
chart or survey map, to help you narrow down areas that might have rocky
outcroppings leading into deeper pools or channels. If you have loads
of free time, this can become an enjoyable activity of exploration all
in itself. Look for activity of fish, and habitats that might hold fish
and their food. One nice thing here is that fish are fish are fish, and
they all require the same thing. Security, food, places to lie, if you
know how to read habitat in rivers or lakes you can easily adapt that
skill to oceans, and bays.
Once you have your spots located, you
will also need some gear. If you have some 8 wt gear or larger, you can
least begin to get your feet wet. As for flies, well start with the
basics, the classics, Deceivers and Clousers, will give you the best
opportunity to catch a fish. And you have begun to add that crucial
beginning of knowledge onto which you will hang new knowledge as you
become more versed in this field of fly fishing.