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.

Bye, Bye Fly

By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!

Monday morning started in a nice casual manner. The only oddity was waking at 4 am. I could have slept a couple of more hours. How nice that would have been. This was going to be a different kind of day. Summer was over and the 7-day churn of constant guided fly-fishing trips had come to an end.

This is the time of year when the fishing gets really hot. The locals enjoy this time the most, because they have the rivers and creeks all to themselves. With the tourists leaving, Daytona Beach looks like a deserted mining town. This is a great time to get back to the fly tying and replenish the stocks before the next season.

Sometime before noon the telephone rang and Chuck's voice boomed, "Morning Captain! Wanted to touch base and see what you were up to. Whatcha say me, Angelo and you go fishing tonight. We'll pay for the gas. Take us some place where we can get our lines stretched?"

How can you refuse two great friends?

That evening, I pulled up in from of Angelo's house and as usual there he stood ready to go. Angelo is the kind of friend everyone should have at least once in their life. He is an artist by trade, and not just with a paintbrush. Angelo is the kindest, patient individual I know. He can sculpt wood, metal, cement, paint and create. Anything he touches turns into a work of art.

Next stop is Chuck's house. Chuck is a retired charter boat captain who tuna fished out of Long Island and now runs a business out of Daytona Beach. Chuck is Mr. Organized. All his belongings are organized and indexed, so he can find anything on a moment's notice. This probably how he got the coveted nickname of, "Mr. Tidy Bowl."

All the fly rods and flies stowed, we headed down to New Smyrna to fish the North Bridge pier and fenders. By the time we launched and got to the bridge it was already 7 pm and the tide was still coming in. Only two hours to go before we faced the outgoing turn. We were using big flies and some mighty ugly ones just for fun. I had a tandem fly that was never used because it had two hooks (4/0 and 2/0).

I couldn't really figure what we would use to throw it. Chuck had a 12-wt Pinnacle. But I decided to keep the tandem in the box and we could try it later. Angelo had the first hook up using a modified tan Clouser. The fish took the fly and headed for the fenders of the bridge and swam between the boards. There was not a prayer of a chance in landing that fish, so we broke off the leader. It's a good wake up call when you are trolling by the fenders, everyone kept on their toes paying attention to the drift and the proximity of the line to them.

After a couple of more passes Chuck hooked up a nice 2 pound Mangrove Snapper and then a 5 pound Redfish. Chuck and Angelo are using dark deceivers and changing flies a lot. I've been working an ultra hair bug on the outside of the fenders and stripping as fast as I can. I'd like to hook up a big Jack Cravelle.

Hair Buddy I kept working this fly until I thought my arm was going to fall off. Using my 10-wt, I threw the fly to the current as close to the back fender as possible. Wouldn't you know that the fly hit the fender and it bounced into the water. I couldn't have placed it better if I had been standing right there! I let the fly drift a little and then gave a tug. Then another. And on the third tug, a big snook gobbled up that fly and started a ferocious run. About 15 minutes later I pulled a 7-pound Snook from the River, dehooked it and let 'em go.

Chuck and Angelo were still doing pretty well and we were all having a great time. Chuck said, "Captain. Hand me over that big ole' ugly fly. The two boys in your box. I wanted to try throwing them with this 12-wt." So I handed the tandem to Chuck. He put on a 60-pound bite tippet and started to work the fly. I must say it turned over very nicely and Chuck admitted that the weight ratio made it easy to cast. After a while thought I noticed that he was just letting it drift with the current.

Tandem Mullet

Chuck was holding the rod with one hand and lighting a cigarette when his rod almost got pulled out of his hand, and him almost out of the boat. The biggest Tarpon I'd seen in the river in a long, long time had the tandem mullet flies and bee-lining down the river. That 12-wt was smoking. Chuck's cigarette, lighter and pack were in the river. We had a great chase with this big "poon" taking us for a ride. Just past the bridge the tarpon reversed direction and came three feet out of the water in front of the boat. We all got drenched. Chuck fought this fish from the first hook up at 8 pm until Angelo said, "Hey guys, there's the Coast Guard Station." I looked at my watch. 11pm. Whoa! It didn't seem like 3 hours. That tarpon made countless runs back and forth up the river, towing us along all the time. The trolling motors weren't really helping. Another hour passed and we were heading out the inlet with the tide. Chuck was tiring. He still had the rod tip up but he was sitting down on the console seat.

I had the engine on now. The trolling motor couldn't slow this tarpon. We followed him out the inlet and around the buoy north along Ponce. For another mile this tarpon was pulling strong, then the line went slack. "Good." Chuck said, "We've worn him out." Three seconds later this tarpon came within six feet of the boat, rolled on his side and the sounded. As he made his dive you could hear the unmistakable sound of graphite shattering. Chuck still held what was left of the 12-wt rod down to the last stripping guide when the line made its final stretch and snap.

"Bye, bye, Fly!" were Chuck's last words of the night. Since then, I've tied countless numbers of tandem flies. ~ Doug.

About Doug:
Doug is a USCG Licensed Captain and fly-fishing guide from New Smyrna Beach, FL a member of CCA, FFF, AFF, APCA, FOWA, the Action Craft Saltwater Team, and the Orvis and Redington Pro-Guide Program. He can be reached at 386-679-5814.

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