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.

Short fishing trip report
New Orleans 25 May 2004
Not What Was Expected!

By Captain Scud Yates, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

I am way behind in the story writing about the recent Mexico trip but still wanted to pass this little tidbit along about a one-day trip to New Orleans I just returned from. The reason is I landed a rare fish on a fly for the area and needed to show it off.

Scud and carp It was/is a "common" carp as near as we can tell but would take any input as to the identity from experts who really know. Rick Heim had a world record with one kind of these fish and Jim Blackburn is offering fantastic fishing adventures in Utah fishing for them bonefish style. None of the boys from around New Orleans have ever seen one eat a fly before but this one did for sure. I had a witness. And, this fish ate the now famous Rich Waldner "spoon fly." Better than all the above, it was in "saltwater" even though the high level of the big river was dumping plenty of fresh water in these tidal flats.

The fishing around home is really hot right now but the lure of the reds down river (Mississippi) from the Big Easy is just about to start. Winter has the big river too high to allow for the fantastic 50-a-day trips until June but I called Rich Waldner and he had the whole weekend open. We planned to try the Venice area for some early action.

The drive over, dinner with his family, a trip to a casino and his 90 year-old dad hitting a jackpot all added to a fantastic one day adventure that started at 0500. Rich likes to move about when you cannot see and hit the water before the fish roll out for the day.

We had a bit of wind, 15 knots all day from the south (always over my right shoulder), lots of dirty water and high water but we managed to find some fish. I actually got about 30 good shots on reds of big to bigger in size. The red "bite" was really not on for some reason but I got four of them up to eight pounds to eat. I had many good shots that got the fly changed as rejection was often and noticeable. There was a good "bite" on for the sheapshead. They were interested and although hard to hook, were hot on the trail of just about anything I tossed properly at them. I got three really nice ones on film as we are going to ask IGFA (record keepers) to add them to the list so we can claim some records.

Then the strange carp thing happened. This place is a nature paradise with constant wildlife passing in review all day. Underwater is just part of the show and if it is a fish, I toss whatever fly I have on at it. I have caught sharks, rays, jellyfish from this tactic and now this fish as a result.

The big carp was lazing about the flat when we pushed upon it. At the fringe of my sight it looked like one monster redfish but as it moved from the front of us to the right side going away I could see it clearly and threw my spoon fly perfectly so it would sink in time to be stripped right in front of the fish's nose. I have tossed at these fish before but never had a reaction or even expected one. They eat grass, I thought! As the fly passed through his vision he had only to turn slightly to his right and he just opened the slightly pointed down mouth and sucked it in. Both of us watched and I reacted with a hook set as we both said together, "he ate it." The fish noticed something was amiss and just "blew up," turned 135 degrees away from us and took my line out as he sprinted away in front of the boat. Rich says, "hey Scud, I don't know what to do now." I was, by then, watching the fish burn the clutch in my reel drag as he tried to head for Texas and suggested, "follow the fish, so I don't run out of line." He did and the fish ran into a pile of weeds slowing him down. I did not worry so much about the line as I had fifteen-pound leader but I was using a seven-weight rod. That is a stretch on a fish this size. I had to put the pressure on without much rod bend to get him out from under the weeds and then he took off again. This run and hide in the weeds went on for about four runs with Rich working hard to keep up. He finally ran out of steam and I had him on the surface waiving his tail at us about 20 feet way like a tarpon does at end game. By having the fish out front and walking to the back of the boat I could get him close to the net without bending the already overstressed rod too much more. The first attempt with the net caused the fish to sprint off again and it took some pressure to stop him. He did not like the looks of Rich or the net. They are equally ugly to a fish, I think.

Rich netted him and then just about broke the net getting him on the deck. We shook hands then posed the pictures, one of which is above.

I have been back since for another couple of days and although I got 36 fish in the two days and threw at many more carp, none seemed interested more than one short "follow" without a opening of the mouth.

Since this episode, Unk gave me a book, Carp on the Fly (Barry Reynolds, Brad Befus and John Berryman), by a couple of guys who took fly fishing for carp to a new high. They chased and targeted this very spooky fish even when other anglers were laughing at them. They go into detail on fish activity and the tactics, flies and gear to make the quest a success. It is a good read.

My friend, Captain Jim Blackburn, is guiding trips targeting these most fun fish on Flaming Gorge reservoir in Utah part of the year (http://www.grandslamfish.com/). I am planning on trip to try his fun this summer later.

Meanwhile, Capt Rich Waldner (504-656-7337) and Capt Brian Carter (504-329-5198) are filling up their dance cards for this season's fantastic redfish trips as you read this. I am headed back every chance I can get away. I would like another fight with one of these monsters so will keep on tossing at them. I now have some basic clues about how to do it. There are other big things floating around there too and sooner or later I will write about my pending success with an eighty-pound gar. They are not all that uncommon. ~ Capt Scud Yates, June 2004

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