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.

Morning Creek

By Capt. Doug Sinclair, Grantsboro, NC.

"Go softly by that river side
Or when you would depart,
You'll find its every winding tied
And knotted round you heart."
~ R.Kipling

I remember my uncle quoting that many times when I was younger. Fishing gets into your core and you just can't shake it loose. And, why would you!

Vandemere Creek, Pamlico County, NC The New Year brought the freshness of a cold morning. The river and creeks were dead, still. Not a ripple anywhere. A thin layer of ice crystallized at the surface, but only in the shallower areas. I knew it wouldn't last long. Give the sun time to warm things up. Water temperatures fluctuated, but averaged around 40 degrees. Yes Sir! That's cold by Florida standards. And, well the fishing, not to mention the fly-fishing, gets extremely challenging.

Only the reminiscent haze from my breath and the lingering smoke from oil filtered in the morning air. My engine coughed and whined, and finally turned over. She stuttered and then smoothed out as she started to warm up. The fly rod was cold. But the Little Tunny line stayed surprisingly supple in the freezing water. It cast nice and smooth and delivered the big zonkers and rattails to their targets. When it is cold, the flies have to get to the bottom where the water temperature is warmer than at the surface.

I was surprised to see pelicans. They scouted the edges, looking. For what seemed an awful long time they circled and then with a twitch of their head dove down, straight. Pelicans are great anglers. They have been known to catch such big fish that they wouldn't be able to fly away. This one pelican scooped up a baby spotted sea trout, our target for the day. So we went fishing with the pelicans. For what seems like a long time, we watched as the pelicans made their pass along a point in Vandemere Creek. The sun was warm against my black fleece jacket. We moved closer to the area where the pelicans began to group. Greg put a chartreuse weedless leech and cast to the grass line. Strip. Strip. Strip. Wait. He waited a long time before the line started to go taught.

"FISH ON!!" he yelled. And the sound resonated across the water like an echo from far away.

About ten minutes later the small trout spit the hook near the surface. As he swam back to his hideout a pelican came down for an easy snack. It was still early and the water temperature at the surface was 46 degrees. That meant the trout were still on the bottom in about 12 feet of water. Four hours of fishing this spot was loosing my angler's interest, so we packed up and motored down to Trent Creek in Bayboro. We stopped by a point near Marker 9 to eat lunch. It was warm with the sun's rays beating on us. This was a good break from the morning of hard fishing.

Trent Creek is an estuary off Bay River. This is a wonderful place to fish. There is good tidal current with deep ledges on the turns. Holes can be more than 20 feet deep. In the winter fish will group in the deeper holes to stay warm. The trick is getting a fly down deep and that calls for intermediate and sinking lines.

It was late afternoon by the time I motored up past the Highway 55 Bridge crossing Trent Creek. Myrtle Shrub leaves fluttered in the wind. The air was warmer and the water temps had risen to 52 degrees. The creek was active with mullet. Every once in awhile a large gar would roll on the surface. Rock were there too and ready to make a meal out of a passing mullet. The mullet run really thick here and I've seen anglers snag them with subsurface plugs.

Gregory set up with a 7wt Scott HP and a nice cast near the bend of the creek. He let the fly settle down. He waited patiently for the current to take the deep Clouser to the bottom. He fished the Clouser for more than 30 minutes before changing to a Wallace Eel fly, my version; tied with purple hackle, black marabou and teal ice chenille on a #1 751Q hook with weed guard.

He cast a couple of times to the same spot and waited. With each cast he varied the strip, but it was always a slow retrieve. It was late in the day and the sun was going down. Everyone was getting tired and except for the three trout hung earlier (hung is a local term for boating fish), this creek was wearing out our patience.

At dusk everything seems to be in slow motion. Gregory was tired from casting all day. But he wasn't giving up. Cast after cast, he let all the fly line out to the backing. He let the current take the fly. Then pull the rod tip up and drop it fast. This caused the fly to rise fast and flutter back to the bottom. On his fifth attempt the line went tight. Backing was screaming off the reel and heading for the next bend in the creek. We pulled up the anchor and started after this fish. Not knowing what lay at the other end of the line. I thought it could be a big gar. We weren't sure.

Line kept going out. Slowly Gregory turned this fish and started reeling in line. We got to a smaller creek just on the west side of the bridge and the fight stopped. Gregory reeled in a 6-pound sea trout, biggest one he had caught on a fly. This fish was so spent that it would have been senseless to release him. We arrived back at the dock tired and cold but refreshed from a great day on the water.

The sun had gone down. But Gregory was a lit up with a beautiful fish!! You'll enjoy the outdoors more with your sons or daughters.

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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