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
Drops of water formed little beads on the blades. They cascaded together getting all
the closer as they reached the point of the leaf. Their weight slowly pushed the leaf
down, and even more slowly they became bigger drops until they hit the ground. After
each drop the leaf would spring up a little. This made the beads head toward the fatter
end of the leaf. But gravity pulled them back. Eventually the rhythm repeated and the
beads reversed direction and headed back to the end where they fell to the ground, one
by one. Each bead glittered in the morning sun. Colors bounced off them like little crystals.
All the drops would soon disappear as the sun warmed the grass.
Slow motion. Everything was in slow motion. Dew was on the grass. Ripples on the water
rose and fell around the reeds. Water lapped the boat. Silent sounds. Louise sat on her
rocker. Slowly she leaned forward and looked at us. She taught us to respect nature and
pointed out the beauty in these little drops on the leaf. This was the same for fishing. Louise
never let us take more than we needed. The fun part was in the catching, anyway. Most of
the time we just released our fish. It was the right thing to do.
It was mid-morning, and already the charters were coming back. The whole place would
soon erupt with people talking and stretching to see the catches lifted from the boats. The
boys were just bringing up the reds and trout. They were back early which meant the fishing
Four captains hoisted their quarry onto the fish-cleaning table next to the dock. Passengers
and spectators looked on in anticipation. One-by-one, each fish was lifted. Someone with
a camera took the pictures. People were high-fiving, just all excited.
Louise looked over just as the first fillet knife cleared its sheath. Her face said it all.
Slot and bag limits were exceeded. Nobody really cared. But Louise did. She knew that
someday all this fishing and cutting would end. All the trout and redfish would be gone.
She had been there and seen it all. Forty years at the Indian River Fish Camp brought
her a new respect for life.
She felt a little responsible for this mayhem. After all, the guides bought the bait from
her. She remembered earlier days when the family would think nothing of bringing buckets
of fish back. Reds and snook were her favorite fish. Grilled with sesame seeds and fresh
herbs. She drooled a little thinking about it. There was this a little cloud of guilt that she
sensed. She did do something about it. Bobby made her a big sign 'Catch/Release, Please.'
It hung over the door. But it seems few notice it.
The crowd looked on. Skin and bones were cast to the wind and waiting stomachs
of Brown Pelicans. They scrambled and fought for each morsel of fish and guts. The
charter anglers cheered for their rewards. It justified spending $300 to fish the lagoon.
Knives did their work. Beautiful redfish and spotted sea trout were being readied
for the grill or oven.
Soon hoses washed the boards and fillets with jets of water. The birds were flying and
darting everywhere. Some would swoop in to grab a piece and fly out. They screamed
and squawked, and made one hell of a racket. Fillets were stuffed into plastic zip lock
bags so the visitors could return home with their catch. Louise watched as the guides
exchanged bag-filled fillets for hard, cold cash. The leader, a tall-thin tanned man in his
40s, with a sinister wave, directed the other guides to their boats. Soon the dock was
silent again. The bragging and banter subsided. People went about their business.
The noise and confusion finally subsided.
Louise sighed. She resumed her slow rock and watched the river return to its peaceful flow.
Her energy drained, she wondered how long this could continue. Was this any different
than cutting down the Rain Forests? She didn't think so. By now the blades of grass
had shed their dew. The sunshine was bright and warm.
Catch/Release: protect the species ~ 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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