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 Two: Equipment Selection

By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

If you are a visitor to a flats area and plan to wade fish, you'll find you can get to some really interesting spots. Wading is a spectacular experience, but you do need to take some precautions. This is not like wading in a brook with felt shoes over your stocking-foot chest-waders. Flats boots or thick snickers are an absolute necessity. Flats boots are rubber and have a steel shank in the sole. Even if you step on a ray, he'll just move out of the way. Flats boots are useful if you are walking where there are oyster beds. Oyster shells are razor sharp and stepping on one is very painful, and your blood trail might attract some unwanted guests, like bull sharks or barracuda. Yes, you'd be surprised on sharks maneuver in shallow water. I once caught a 4-foot hammerhead on the east end of Mosquito Lagoon. Remember they are predator fish looking for food.

Unlike freshwater streams, flats have either sandy, hard bottoms or they will have grassy, muck bottoms. They are beaming with activity from various aquatic fishes that live there and under the sand or in buried beneath the mud. Our flats have an abundance of rays, crabs and other creatures. Rays have barbs on their tails and they can inflict serious pain and discomfort. Crabs like nibbling on toes and tiger shrimp will take some bites as well. Regardless, it pays to use caution when wading. Always shuffle your feet, like you were wearing snowshoes. Don't pick your feet up and then put them back down, you don't know what you will step on. Our sub-tropical and tropical waters are home to all sorts of critters. The most stepped on are rays. They have barbs that can penetrate your skin, usually a foot, and this is not only painful but a vacation wrecker as well, and it could mean a trip to the hospital.

Fishing the surf

If you plan on fly-fishing the surf, you might consider a striping basket. Although, I've never used one, they are supposed to be great at keeping your line tangle free.

Another item and more important is line dressing with a small towel and some 303 Protectant. This stuff is easy to carry because it comes in little packets and you can usually get about 3 cleanings from one pad.

When your cast starts getting heavy or the line is not unloading properly, this usually means the line is dirty. Cleaning your fly line is easy. Just get over to land and or in the boat. If you have some drinking water, you can dampen a small section of your towel (4-square area) and then feed the line through it to the backing. Now feed the line back through the 303 pad all the way down to the tippet. Then take your towel in a dry area and hold the line pulling it in the opposite direction back onto the spool. You'll find that the line will cast so much better.

What else should you take?
  • Polarized sun glasses
  • Sunscreen (15 spf)
  • Small Towel (face towel size)
  • Boat Shoes (non-marking)
  • Flat's boots
  • Nail Clippers.
  • 2 packets of tippet
  • A Hat
  • A fishing shirt with long sleeves.
  • Something to drink and food.
  • Your camera - with a polarizing lens if possible.
  • A small selection of flies (4-6 tops)
The only thing left is fly selection, where to fish and how to read a flat (huh, are you in for a surprise). We'll get to that in a future segment. ~ Doug

Fly selection next time!

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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