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 Don Ordes, Wyoming, USA

Don and Dandy Sailfish

The interesting thing about the sailfish pic is not just that it was caught on a fly, but it was my first billfish on my first bluewater flyfishing trip - on just the 2nd day! I caught it on the first billfish fly I ever designed, Don's Green Machine (see pic below).

I grew up in New Orleans and fished the Gulf quite a bit, but never billfished. For the last 25 years I've lived in Wyoming, where trout fishing is king and there are very few marlin and sailfish (mostly on office walls). This trip to Loreto, Baja, Mexico was the first of a lot of things.

First things first . . . Wow, was it HOT! August 2nd in Meheeko is not where Wyoming people belong! But the fishing was incredible. Dorado were very abundant and easily caught on flies, but not king-sized, the biggest weighing in at 40-50 pounds tops, averaging about 30.

Green Machine

The sail in the picture above was estimated at 125 pounds, and measured 8.5 feet long. He never jumped, not even once. He just pulled like a tuna, like being hooked to a car, but my 14 wt rig was more than up to it. It's hard to tell how far a fish runs into your backing when there's 700 yards of it, but man, was he way out there! It took an hour and a half to get to see him for the first time when he rolled about 40 feet away. It looked like a sea-monster! I couldn't believe that I had him on a fly-rod and that 20 pound tippet had held him! It took another half-hour to land him, two hours in all We took a couple of pictures and released him.

Just fifteen minutes later I hooked another sail that went about a hundred pounds or more, this time on my new 12 wt combo. This one jumped dozens of times, one of them causing the hook to slip out of his mouth and re-hooking him in the belly about a foot behind the pectorals. Then he ran long and fast and "fried" my new reel, forcing me to back off on the drag and palm the reel. Later he took a quick run and my drag hung up, causing the rod tip to drop against the boat bow and breaking my new rod at the top ferrule. It was now about 2:00 in the afternoon, too hot to describe, and I had a belly-hooked 100 pound sail on a fried reel and broken rod.

What more could a fisherman ask?

Two hours later I had him so whupped he was coming in belly-up and backwards, yet still fighting! As soon as the guide grabbed his tail, all hell broke loose! Amazingly, the "exhausted" sail came back to life and jerked the guide around like a rag-doll, causing slack in the line which allowed the hook to fly free. Now he had the tiger by the tail and decided to just let it go. The sail swam off, sounding immediately.

That's two 2-hour sails in about 4 and a half hours - if you add the one hour fight with a bull Dorado that morning, that's about five hours out of 6 hours being hooked up with just 3 fish!

Don and Dorado

Not too bad for just day two.

The adrenaline rush after two 100 pound plus sails and a bull Dorado was about like 10 cups of espresso coffee. I was ready to go some more, shouting to the guide to go out for "marleen". My buddy Jim Dean had already dubbed me "Santiago", after what he called an "epic" battle. The guide added "Loco Pescadoro" to my aliases, emphatically waving his finger "no" at me, saying "maņana - maņana!"

It was a good thing we went back in. I had drank all the water on board and was still dehydrated and we wouldn't get back in till after 4:30. (Everyone normally goes in around 11:30 a.m. or so. By then you're Dorado-whipped, the feed is off, and it's just too blamed hot to stay out, anyway.) The other guys in our group were about ready to send the local Marine Federalis after us, thinking us broken down and dying somewhere out there from the heat.

Only Dan Blanton knew better, guessing that we had gotten into the billfish. Boy - did we! ~ Don Ordes

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