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:


By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!

Every once in a while a fly comes along that doesn't discriminate in the type of fish it attracts. Dave Braddish of Ormond Beach showed me how to tie the HOT LIPS fly. It is without question the best warm-water, summer pattern for North Florida.

Hot Lips

Capt. Kent Gibbens and I went out early last Thursday morning, we launched at Strickland Creek, motored two miles to the Tomoka River and headed east. We past the Tomoka State Park boat ramp and shot over to the northeast corner of the basin, along the weed line, about 6 miles from the launch area. The sun was just peaking above the horizon.

Kent was using an 8 wt. Orvis Silver Label with floating line and 16 pound fluorocarbon tippet. He shot his cast out about 80 feet from the boat and started the retrieve. On his third strip, the baby snook nailed the fly and made a powerful run 80 yards west into another canal. He didn't want to give up the fly. A dehooker was used to edge the fly out through the gills. We then cut the line so that the line and fly fell free for a clean release. Picture taken, the snook was lowered back into the water.

Kent Gibbens and snook.

Two days later, I had a charter on the Tomoka. We moved eight miles up the Tomoka River towards the State Road 40 overpass. The weather was perfect and my fly angler was anxious to get a fly in the water. The area this far up the Tomoka hosts a number of fresh and saltwater game fish including Long-nose Gar, Bowfin, Black Bass, Red Drum, Black Drum, Bull Sharks and Jacks, along with numerous Alligators. The water looks dirty, but it isn't. The blackness comes from decaying vegetation on the bottom because the water within four feet of the shore is crystal clear.

I ran Twin Lenco Trolling Tabs to position the boat for my client's casts. Armed with a Hot Lip fly (#2 Mustad 34011), he made his cast, let the fly settle, and started the retrieve. On his last strip the fly got a big bump and push, but no hook up and we couldn't see the fish. Jim pulled about 30 feet of line of the water and recast about 60 feet to the same spot. Four strips later he was hooked up with his first Catfish on fly.

First Catfish on Hotlips

What a fight the Catfish gave him! This catfish did not want to relinquish the fly. He lost. Hook dislodged he was freed to find something else to eat Since then we've caught and released 8 snook to 12 pounds, 4 jacks to 25 pounds, 3 redfish to 30 pounds, 1 tarpon did a bump and run, and 4 spotted sea trout. I would say that is a proven test for what this fly will deliver. So here it is, for you to tie.

This is what you need:

Materials for Hotlips

    Hook:  Mustad #34011 (#2) Don't forget to pinch down that barb.

    Head:  Thin Fly Foam (White) 2MM, cut inch wide by 3 inches long.

    Tail:  White or Tan Saddle Hackle (2 @1 inches), White Marabou.

    Body:  Large Ice Chenille (Red). Cut a piece 5 inches long.

    Thread:  White Flat Waxed Nylon.

    Super Glue or other fast drying adhesive.

This fly is tied using white Flat Waxed Nylon. Tie off a small section of thread in front of the curve of the shank. I tie in a two short saddle hackles (white preferred but you can use tan). Then tie in a small bunch of white marabou. Use a double half hitch for this group. Now move the thread to just behind the hook eye.

Take the inch foam strip and using a pair of scissors punch a hole large enough so that the hook eye will go through it. Once the foam is in place. Secure the bottom lip with three wraps and a half hitch. Tie the red ice chenille in back of the foam, then wrap the chenille in close loops back to the marabou. Now wind the thread in wide spirals back to the marabou.

Next step is to lay the foam strip backwards over the chenille and tie snuggly just in front of the marabou. Make three loops, pull tightly, make a couple of half hitches and then a modified whip finish. Clip off the tag end towards the back of the foam.

Squeeze a thin line of Super Glue along the top back of the foam. Pull the foam strip forward tightly so the two sections are sealed together. The end of the foam strip is now pointing forward of the hook eye.

Tie the thread back on behind the hook eye and carefully wrap it around outside and over the upper and lower lip. Secure with half hitch and do the final whip finish. Trim the upper lip to be about the same size as the lower one. Using a red marker color the lower lip red. There you have it. HOT LIPS!

You will be surprised by the effectiveness of this fly. Go catch some fish! ~ 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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