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.


By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!

Grass crunched under my feet as I walked the dunes to the beach. You could hear the snap from sand and small stones breaking their blades. In the twilight sand crabs scoured for food. Diving down into their hideaways they scampered to escape from my presence. Shore birds lined up like ducks at a shooting gallery, beacons facing the onshore breeze. The seas were relatively quiet. Flat water, we call it.


In a pool surrounded by rocks, sea urchins and a couple of baby lobsters searched for morsels. The pool was decorated with lichens, kelp, mussels, and other forms of aquatic vegetation. The bottom reflected the sun's light as it dropped ever so slowly. I even looked in and could see my reflection. The water was clean and clear. Wild roses opened as the sun became one with the horizon. They were everywhere, along the tops of the rocks and even along a small creek that emptied from a salt marsh.

Even in the dim you could see the swaying of the grass tops as they moved with the wind. Some of the seedpods would drop to the ground. Natural re-forestation. How great. The only disturbance came from my waders. Slung over my shoulders, they made that annoying rubbing sound. My wading boots bounced on their strings hung around by neck. Their clack on my chest struck a cadence. They helped me keep pace and heighten my wonder and enthusiasm.

Once over the dunes, I stopped, and placed a beach towel on the sand. Rocks were readily available to serve as props to keep down the towel's corners. I placed everything on the towel and relaxed for a moment. I looked around in awe. I looked up and saw birds floating upward, soaring and diving with the currents. How beautiful this place was. The silence except for the sound of birds and swishing from the water coming in and going out, and the crabs doing their thing. I wondered if the stripers were also moving in to sting some baitfish. You could just make out this movement about twenty feet from waters edge. And, then it hit me.


A loud crashing noise came from the surf, as little as it was. Gulls took their positions and the bait propelled out of the water. Tails were flapping, gulls were screaming, and the place erupted with such a commotion, I was deliberately wakened by what was happening. Stripers were moving along the shore and crashing bait. Slapping bait with their tails, they made several runs at this line. You could see their black stripes as they came almost out of the water. Moving at explosive speed they sent the bait clear out of the water. Easy pickings for the gulls that just waited for the stunned fish to turn over sideways. The stripers would come back, but they wouldn't have claim to all the bait. Birds were diving everywhere. Then as quickly as this started it was over, took about ten minutes.

Warren sat down and started putting on his waders over thick cotton sweatpants and wool socks. He enjoyed fly-fishing for stripers after sunset. As game commissioner for the estuary just south of the Kennebec River, he was also concerned about activity from moose. I wondered why the plural was the same. Shouldn't it be 'meese'? They sometimes frequent the beaches, mostly out of curiosity. Late August and early September is mating season. Moose will venture past the salt marshes and swim along a beach. Moose are the largest members of the deer family and generally not a threat to man. Although unpredictable, with males weighing 1200 pounds and females at 900 pounds, they have the right-of-way. Their name comes from the Algonquian Indian name "moos." Alces alces americanus for you Latin buffs. They live 15 to 25 years and eat mostly aquatic and marsh plants such as horsetails and pondweed. Ever see that pouch hanging below their neck, it is called a bell. So here we were in moos country, on a sandy beach, commiserating with plants and animals and anticipating a hookup with the formidable striped bass.

Maine Creek Even with waders on the water felt cold. Warren thought it was about sixty degrees. I couldn't say, but I wondered why my legs were turning blue. He motioned for me to stop in about two feet of water. We waited. Pulling off thirty feet of line into my stripping basket, I got ready. You don't have much time when stripers start their run along the beach. One of the most endearing qualities of these fish is their feeding in shallow water. It puts most average casters in range of some down right fun. A thirty-foot cast can have you on a striper in seconds.

Warren signaled the arrival of the stripers. You could see the bait flying out of the water and the constant tail slaps. A green sand lance got the first hook up. The striper bent Warren's rod and started spooling line as it made a dash for Nova Scotia. Typically they'll make a run for open water but will turn back. When the line goes slack, start reeling. My cast was longer than I wanted but still made a hook up. The hair fly is becoming a universal bait imitation here. And, to think I use it for Tarpon. Stripers love it. I had a striper following the first one. I had this happen several times with the tandem fly setup. Maybe he thought the first guy would get sloppy. But it didn't happen. Line came off the spool like a rocket. After two hookups I was ready to call it a night. Off in a kelp slick I saw a huge striper's tail cut the water's surface. I cast and lead him by about three or four feet. BAM! He picked up that fly and shook it from side to side. He tail walked. And made a run for the creek. Two hundred yards of line came off my reel in about 10 seconds. The spool was absolutely screaming. The fan of water was zinging in an arc that looked like the prop blade when it comes out of the water. I moved into deeper water, above my knees. My 10 wt DFR was bending under the stress and power of this fish. Just as I was about to move back, I noticed a pier behind me and heard the faint noise of a motor. I turned to my left and couldn't believe my eyes.


"MOOSE! Back out of the water! Cut your leader!" Warren yelled. I'm thinking what the '@@$$%^@!' is this. I've got the biggest striper on my line. He's making a run and I have to cut the leader. Is Warren out of his mind? I looked at the Moose. I looked at the motor boat (what was he doing here anyway). The moose looked really big.

I cut the line. I cut Wonderline. I cut 200 yards of gel spun backing. I cut $80 line for a Moos. Adrenalin was at max power. Even when the line went slack, my arms were burning. I slowly backed out of the water and headed up the beach where Warren stood with the camera. "Close call," he said. "We did well. How about some refreshments?" Off we headed to Dole's Pub.

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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