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.

Florida Bay

By Jeff Pierce (Dr. Fish), NY

Wow, it sure is good to be back among the living again. I got a real wicked strain of the flu while working the Miami International Boat Show just over a week ago. It completely knocked me out of commission for 8 days. Between the constant 101.5+ fever, ever-present aches and pains and the complete lack of any energy, I had to cut the trip short, cancel a trip to China and retreat home to recover. Symptoms are gone thank goodness but the lack of energy remains.

Before the flu set in, I got to spend a day on the water with good friend and guide, Jorge Valverde. For once the wind was supposed to stay below 30kts and cooperate. Turns out that it did not really cooperate but neither did the fish. We set out of Flamingo in search of early morning Reds and maybe a Snook or two. Later we would hunt Bonefish and maybe some Tarpon and Permit. The morning started out nice with temps in the high 60's and no wind. Temps warmed to near 80 degrees during the day and the 5-10kt south winds developed into 15-17kts out of the east, go figure.


It's always interesting spending the day on the water as each day holds new surprises. Right away we found a few skittish Reds and some Black Drum. The first Black Drum I saw, I quickly presented a fly to. Unlike the typical Black Drum response, this fish followed the fly and ate it like a champ. Hey, what a great start to the morning. It's gonna be a great day! Well, that was pretty much it for the catching for the rest of the day.

Jeff and Black Drum

Don't get me wrong, we found plenty of fish BUT wow, they sure were acting weird. Some were eating on the run and I mean on the run. Mud . . . run 30 yards . . . mud . . . run 40 yards . . . mud . . . run . . . see a pattern here? Never seen Reds act like that before. We could not get them to eat any flies and my friend even offered up some fresh, live shrimp with no takers. So, we ran south in search of Bonefish. Then, there it was. Someone had played a terribly tacky trick and loaded a flat with pink lawn ornaments. Wait a minute now . . . upon closer inspection these lawn atrocities were alive and moving! COOL, we have found one of the resident Florida Bay Flamingo flocks! They were a wonderful sight to see and they let us get fairly close. Their brilliant colors in the early sun was burned into my memory. Ok, so I'm a closet birder . . . ssshhhh don't tell.


Flamingos in flight

After a few photos we continued south toward the middle Keys hunting silver ghosts. It did not take long and I was on the bow with 6 to 8 small Bonefish in the 7-8 pound range. Yes, I said small because 7 pound Bonefish here ARE small. Florida Bay is the land of GIANT Bones, if you know where to look. Well, these fish wanted nothing to do with us but never blew out and took off. They simply chose to ignore all offerings and slowly move elsewhere. Shortly there after another group of fish in the 8 to 11lb range show and come right to us. Again, it mattered not what we showed them. They were not going to play today. This repeated itself over and over again during the day.

Later in the afternoon we found a nice school of fat Tarpon in the 40 - 70lb range. Again, we offered flies and some crabs with our newly found friends showing no interest whatsoever. Quite humbling it is. As the afternoon went on, we found a few more Bones and even a couple nice Permit. Nope, no takers . . . none at all. Even the sharks, which normally play ball 24/7, were acting out of sorts. The Lemon's that typically love to chase a fly (or bait) were lethargic, uninterested and rude to us. Now, I did manage to get a couple to tug on the line but not what we normally see.


So, it was a frustrating day as far as the catching went. But, that's not what it's all about. Sure I love hooking up on fish, especially when they are fish I only get to chase once a year. A day on the water is also about sharing good company, seeing all the wildlife in the air and in the water and enjoying a nice day. It's interesting how things change over the years. When I was a kid, fishing was about the catching. How many did you catch and how big were they. As you get older it's less about the catching (still like the catching) and more about the experience. Some of my most memorable days of fishing were days when the fishing simply stunk. However the company was great and/or I got to see some fantastic sights or get up close and personal with some wildlife. One thing you really come to understand as you get older is you just never know when it will be your time. It's a crazy world and you just never know when something can happen and it's all over. I enjoy every single second that I'm out on the water. Sure, catching fish is great but having fun with friends who share the same passion for the sport and enjoying the outdoors is really the key. Standing on the front of that boat and seeing Tarpon, Rays, Bonefish, Permit, shark after shark after shark, Eagles, Flamingo's and so on was fantastic. I'm already looking forward to my next Florida Bay adventure. Sure, I'm hoping the fish are a bit kinder to us but in the end I know it will be a great day no matter what. ~ Dr. Fish

About Dr. Fish:

Dr. Fish (Jeff Pierce) is the Sales Manager for O. Mustad & Son. Along with being an avid fly tier, he's a diehard fly fisherman that's always looking for something new to bend the long rod.

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