Welcome to Salt Water Fly Fishing

Welcome to Fly Fishing The Salt! If you are just discovering the joys of fly fishing the salt (or salt chuck as some call it) here you will find information to steer you in the right direction. Tips on what equipment to use, why, where and how to fish. And we will try to include a little inspiration to get you going. For the experienced salt water angler, there will be personal stories about real fishermen and their experiences, tips on what flies for which fish and techniques that work. Your stories and articles are also most welcome. Share the knowledge and adventure. Pass it on! This is for you.

The Hole Truth

By Capt. Doug Sinclair, Grantsboro, NC.

I couldn't get the feeling out of my mind. I thought about it all night. A friend said I could keep my boat at his dock during a tournament. But, I thought what if I got there in the morning and it was sitting on the bottom. That could really ruin your day.

Why do boat manufacturers put so many holes in boats? Maybe they can't justify putting in a bilge pump if there wasn't a way for water to get in there. And, how would water find its way in if there were no hole. I know you are wondering why I even bring this up.

Well to be quite honest I ran into this interesting little problem. It poured trucks today and while I had all the drains plugged, except for the side drains, the boat still had a rush of water come from the bilge when I pulled the hull plug at the ramp. Sure there should be some water, but not a couple of gallons. Yet a few days ago, bright sunny day, I pulled the plug and a ton of water came out. So is there a leak somewhere? I checked every place that there could be a problem. All the drain holes and all the intakes seemed secure. I took extra precautions and went crazy with the caulking gun.

Did you ever really look at a flats boat? Near the bow there are three drains. One for the anchor, one for the top hatches and one for the bait well, which doesn't really count for a fly-fishing boat. Maybe that well was designed for wet and streamer flies. Then there is the fuel overflow and two side drains, cockpit drains from the bow hatches and tube drains for the rod tubes. Two more drains are in the back of the cockpit, which allow water to drain directly out the sides of the hull and two more drains that go into the bilge. This is probably how they justify having a bilge pump in the first place.

In the stern there are more drains for the live wells (which I use for dry storage), back well overflow and the bottom hull drain below the pocket. I think I'm starting to get the picture. With all these drains the boat should be dry. Right? Oops, I forgot the drain hole on the poling platform. Well, that water just evaporates anyway.

I set about searching for all the little areas that may hold the secret to the accumulation of water. Inspection of the bilge area revealed something really interesting. The valve to the wet well intake was open. I looked around the valve stem and then decided to check the screen by opening the cap. Well, I didn't have to turn it very hard because it unwound easily in my hand. So this must be where the water was entering. Naturally things loosen up in a boat and that's not a place I usually check. So I've learned a lesson here. Don't just look for the obvious visible areas also consider the storage and bilge areas of the hull. These are areas that are hard to maneuver around, but you just might find an answer to a problem.

So all that caulking I did didn't hurt but I probably didn't need to do it. The problem was a simple fix just by tightening down that cap to the valve stem and shutting off the valve itself. All those drains do serve a purpose. As much as letting water in they do provide a place for it to drain out. I guess it is nice having all those drains. Makes up for the price of the boat. I figured each drain is worth about $1,000. Think of that next time you buy a boat. Here's the best news - there isn't any water in the hull any more. Hallelujah! Get out and fish.

Please don't teach your trash to swim. ~ Doug Sinclair

About Doug:

Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters. Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental. Catch him on the web at www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500. Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.

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