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:

In By Eight

By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!

Sometimes I can't fall asleep. It could be the anticipation of the next day. That's why I write. I can't help it. Last night was no exception. I was looking forward to today and a spur of the moment trip with a friend. Rising at 4 am is tough when you go to sleep after midnight. Blame it on the full moon. Luckily I don't howl.

There is so much light with a full moon, you know what I mean, you've seen it yourself. And you've wondered, as do I, if the fishing wouldn't be better during this period of light. After the sun disappears and your eyes adjust, you can see almost as clearly. Of course you can't see into the water. But if this is an area you have frequented often, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the serenity will steal your soul. It will transfix you in a time warp with no reference points, outside of a shoreline or grass line. Your perspective on the water changes, on life too.

When I was a boy, I would sit very quietly with my father watching the moon cast its silver shimmering beams across the dark water. How magical it seemed. Just like the sun, the moon's rays would stretch in an ever-increasing angle highlighting every ripple in the water. It was more spectacular in a boat with the froth from the wake casting silvery fans off the stern. The darkness just before dawn is a spiritual time for reflection and contemplation. Better yet is that moment when the sun first appears. It is still dark. Off in the distance you see that first red-orange glow, hint of a new day.

I loaded my gear and our golden retriever, Rob Roy, into the car. I arrived at Brian's house just after 5 am, right on schedule. We pushed off from the launch site at 5:30 and headed to one of our favorite spots in the lagoon. Moonlight guided our way through the backwater past Eldora House to the Shotgun. The weatherman said Florida broke another record low for August - 65 degrees. The weather was perfect, and no mosquitoes.

The three of us cruised along the flats over to the Inter-Coastal Waterway, and headed south. The channel markers are silhouetted by the moon's reflection. We passed M15, turning farther down near M21. Ahead we could make out the lights from a working barge pulling a paddlewheel boat south on the Indian River. It was dead quiet. I'm sure at some other time in its life you would hear the sounds of jazz music, singing, and the tick and clunking noise from the ball bouncing on the sprockets of the roulette wheel. She was all lit up. This was odd. I remember a riverboat on the Mekong River that had lights like this one, a silent ghost full of anticipation.

We passed along the tug's port beam. The captain was busy cooking breakfast and gave a half-hearted wave. He must have been on autopilot. You could just make out the dials on the white stove. Between the moonlight and the lights from the tug, picking out the channel markers was easy. We could make out their reflectors at least two markers ahead. Farther down we made our turn to a place known for schools of redfish.

Brian is a native of this area and knows these waters better than most. It was still dark, the sun would not rise for another hour as we settled down and Brian quietly started poling to the west side of the flat. We surveyed the flat and waters around us.

"There's a push," as I pointed with my finger.

"Yes, but they are moving away," Brian said.

We could see movement on the water reminiscent of a school of reds; we held back to see what direction they would take. They turned. Slowly. We watched. Studied their moves. A couple of doubles moved ahead of the pack. The school hung back. We figured there were a hundred redfish.

I readied both rods. I had a 9wt Custom Silstar with 9wt Slime Line and an 8wt DFR with 8wt Clear Sink Tip. Brian had his Orvis Silver Label and a Fly Logic. We were using half&halfs and fur shrimp flies. Until there was more light we blind cast into what appeared to be pushes about fifty feet away. Pushes are easy to spot on flat water. As dark as it was, the water was so clear that you could see this endless sea of grass. As we moved, the boat would glide over this deep shag carpet.

Brian poled very slowly. Then he stopped. "Good morning. This is Capt. Brian Clancy . . . ," he spoke into his cell phone giving a live local radio station fishing report. "It's a beautiful morning in Mosquito Lagoon," he said to his listeners. Rob Roy, my golden retriever, watched Brian and listened intently. His ears perked as he watched Brian's gestures as he talked about this wonderful place. Of course, he is right. This lagoon and estuary system is a marvelous place. How lucky could anyone be, to be in that spot at 5:45 am? The world was all ours.

First hookup went to Brian. A beautiful ladyfish hit a rattle-rigged Clouser Minnow. You know that feeling when someone gets the first "fish on." How great a sense of joy and excitement illuminates everyone. What's even better, the sun is just starting to rise. You can tell. It gets lighter out, and the sun is just breaking through the horizon. How grand!

Now it was my turn. Brian positioned me on a pod of reds. I took a couple of false casts and double-hauled a nice long one. But I missed. I retrieved and then recast. I felt the enormous pull and line tighten. "Fish ON!" I said. Boy, there is nothing like it to get the heart pumping. Then the line went slack. *@##!@@," I muttered as I retrieved and pulled thirty feet of line off the water, with a single haul. That's when I got sloppy and really fouled my line. The school was starting to move. This is one of those times you don't want to waste trying to untangle line. I cut the fly off the tippet and retied it on the 9wt., then cast again at the school of reds. BINGO!

"Can you hear it?" I asked Brian.

"Yes," he nodded. Life is good. This baby was spooling line like there was no tomorrow. ZING! Oops, he's coming back. Time to reel as fast as you can. Then he is off again.

"Take the line, take all you want," I whispered to this magnificent fish. His big tail came out of the water about sixty feet in front of us. I could just make him out as the sun was just rising. It was still dark but we were facing due east. What a spectacular site? This beautiful fish was making his run and we were enjoying every minute of it.

This red had been on the line a long time. He was getting really tired and I didn't want to hurt him. When a game fish starts to get exhausted get him to the boat quickly. Get the photo and release him by working the water through his gills until he is able to swim away on his own. We all did high-fives, including Rob Roy who watched as the redfish swam away.

"Let's head home."

"Sounds good to me," I replied. We had a terrific morning and now we could get back to our other activities. Off to our right was another local guide who respectfully stayed back as we landed and released our redfish. Thank you Dennis. That's me on the left.

So we headed back. It was just 7:15 am. Not bad for a morning on the water.

Practice catch and release and enjoy our great outdoors. ~ 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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