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.

Fly-Fishing Eastern Carolina

By Capt. Doug Sinclair, Grantsboro, NC.

This is an exciting time to saltwater fly-fish in one of America's most beautiful eco systems, and second only to Chesapeake Bay. The waters of Pamlico Sound and the Neuse River Estuary are teeming with all types of wildlife, from bears to tarpon, redfish and bonefish. Truly North Carolina could boost the World's largest of many predator game fish. So, why the big secret? North Carolinians are very hush when it comes to talking about their fishery. For those anglers who have come here year after year, they know it is world class.

For many centuries these waters have been home to abundant species of both fresh and saltwater fish, aquatic animals and birds, sea grasses, and island hammocks of pine, crape myrtle, oak, and pecan. The area has seen unprecedented growth in the past 50 years. Changing and diversifying land use practices that include forestry, agriculture, industry, wetlands and large urban areas have increased the challenge of preserving vast watershed and habitat areas. The State of North Carolina recognized their responsibilities and set into motion policies that will protect all species for many years to come.

While most species are caught year round, special seasons hold surprises for the angler.


This is a time of seasonal change and the deep creeks are still holding spotted sea trout. Puppy Drum (Florida's version of redfish) are on the backside of Core Bank flats and the estuaries leading there. Some flounder and many stripers prevail everywhere. These situations call for intermediate and sinking lines and usually a good supply of eel flies, deep clousers and spinner-type zonkers.


Spring is upon us. In North Carolina, daytime temperatures have already risen to the mid to high 50s. Hichory and American Shad are spawning in the upper Neuse and Trent Rivers (you don't have to go to Roanoke Rapids for this action). Stripers are thick in the river. You'll see fish typically in the 10 to 30 pound range. Many bait fish species are starting to move from the creeks onto the flats, which will stir the winter trout and redfish. There is a lot of activity and plenty of action.


The rich waters flowing from the creeks will be warm enough for excellent catches of spotted sea trout (4-8 pounds), flounder, and puppy drum (4-10 pounds). There are also surprises that many anglers aren't prepared for: Giant Redfish, called Red Drum here. And, Tarpon in the 100 pound-class. Last year's record was 175 pounds. Know that there is always a tarpon rod in my boat. Don't be surprised to see huge bluefish 20 pounds or more.


You don't have to go to Florida to find world record tarpon. We have one of the best fisheries for Tarpon. They winter over in our estuaries. I'm serious. My friend Gerry has a 75-pound tarpon in a tank he raised from a yearling. Then we have Black Drum (average 30 to 60 pounds), Bluefish (tailing in 2' of water). This might be the first time that you sight fished for blue fish and giant drum.


These are the hottest months to fish. The fish have been gorging themselves for 6 months and have grown to enormous size. Florida cannot hold a candle to the size of redfish (red drum 40 to 60 pounds), black drum, bonefish (yup, you heard me), bluefish, and Spanish macherel. All these fish are oversized - catch and release is mandatory.


While the waters start to cool with the fall season in gear, many of the large fish will migrate to their wintering holes. Trout are in abundance as are puppy drum and stripers. As glass minnows make their migration to the inlets, false albacore (also known as Little Tunny or Fat Alberts) and big stripers will take over the angling scene. These fish will average 5 to 15 pounds and put on a worldly fight.

Don't be a stranger. We have great places to stay and the fishing is about as isolated as Alaska, but warmer. Our seasons hold a surprise for every fly angler whether it is pure fishing or learning about our marvelous environment. Just like in Florida, you'll see brown pelicans and sight fish for bonefish on our flats. North Carolina has a lot of hidden treasures just waiting for you to explore.

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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