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.

Saltwater Fly Fishing For Inshore Game Fish:
Part Eighteen: Wading

By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!


"Lifeguards rescue 25 from currents. Date line, Daytona Beach: Saturday proved to be another beautiful day for beach goers, but lifeguards were kept busy as they helped rescue 25 people caught in rip currents." [5:30 am New Smyrna Beach FL]

Rip currents are caused by water running in cuts, or troughs, between sandbars that run parallel to shore. Water from waves funnels back out through the cuts forming narrow, fast-moving currents. These can pull an unwary swimmer or wader into deep water. Why all the alarm? This can be dangerous even for a wary wader because water can fill waders, making it impossible to move.

Fly Fishing the surf is fun and exciting. It is best done in flat water or surf with fewer sequences of rolling waves. Flat surf is the best, especially just before sunrise.

If you see surfers out then it probably isn't going to be good for fishing the surf. Trust me. Don't wade into the water deeper than your thighs, you can get caught up in the excitement and venture to deep.

Wind is a major factor when fly-fishing the surf. When casting over the waves pay attention to the currents, the tide and especially the wind. The wind can blow your fly line in a direction that may cause it to come back to you. There is wind created by the wave action too. The line can wrap around your feet or tangle around your body. When the line is too close to you it becomes very difficult to pull the line out of the water. You want the line to come back parallel to the beach but away from where you are standing. If the wind is blowing your fly into you while casting, turn the palm of your casting hand outward to move the fly line to the opposite side of your body.

Fly patterns in the surf will vary by location, time of year and types of baitfish. I like chartreuse Clousers or white deceivers or large green and white herring patterns. Surface flies also work but they must be large (2/0 to 5/0). The Crunch Man's Needlefish or Denny's Glass Eel work really well in the surf in my region.


When wading the lagoon and estuaries wear your flats boots. Oysters are extremely sharp and will penetrate almost any material. Be alert for skate and stingrays that lay partially buried in the sandy bottom, they have a barb near the back of their tail. Skates and rays alike, will usually get out of your way, unless of course you step right on one.

Flats boots are a must for wading, and they come in different styles. One of the best is made by Chota (shown in yellow).

Chota and Shimano wading boots

Other manufacturers include Shimano (next to my stripping basket), Orvis, Cabelas (Premium Flats Boot), Patagonia (Marl Walker) and so on. Look for boots that offer bottom and side protection.

Patagonia and Cabelas Flats boots

Magnified Blimp Jellyfish

The best all around protection in warm saltwater is chest high waders. They are the best protection from another menace in the lagoon too, Blimp Jellyfish, they are known locally as Sea Lice. They aren't Sea Lice. These miniature jellyfish are responsible for rashes surfers and waders get and the rash is really annoying. During the mating season of jellyfish, which is now, millions of larvae are floating in the estuaries and the surf. The bite is similar to that of a mosquito.

Swimmer with bad jellyfish rash They have tiny stinging cells that can last for days. This swimmer had a bad case and was treated in the hospital. Jellyfish stings, ray barbs, oysters and a host of other nasty creatures can ruin a really nice day on the water, another critter is man.

Some guides feel it is a pre-requisite for their charters to get out of the boat. This happened to a friend of mine. The guide told him to get out of the boat and wade, or he wouldn't catch any redfish. Absurd!

There are two risks in getting out of a flats boat. You leave the safety of the boat and you could get injured or stuck.

Bob stuck!

Getting stuck in the mud flats is no laughing matter. Bob got a nice redfish. He is also stuck fast to the bottom. The guide had to help him get back into the boat. If you want to get out and wade, that's a different. But, don't let a neophyte guide order you around.

Remember to be prepared when fishing the surf or the flats, you'll have a better time if your feet are protected. Wear your polarized sunglasses too, enjoy yourself; fish hard.

Until next time ~ Doug

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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