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.

The Old Shakespeare

By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!

Back many years ago, just before my fourteenth birthday, which was the day before Christmas, it was there under the tree, "To Doug from Dad and Gam." Gam was my dad's best friend. His name was Homer Gammons and he lived up the street from Reverend Pew. Dad and mom rented the upstairs rooms in the old, 2-story brick house at 1451 Windsor Place in Jacksonville. At the time, it was the only house on the street. Jacksonville was smaller than it is today.

My mom was assistant in the Central Supply and Drug Dispatch at St. Vincent's Hospital and my Dad was a Pharmacist's Mate at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. JNAS was like a small city. I couldn't believe how big that place was, still is today. Because my dad worked seven days a week, there wasn't much time for us to do things like other fathers and sons. His friend Gam had lost his son and I sort of became a surrogate for Brad that was his sons name. I didn't really know him, but do know how crushed Gam was when he died.

Gam was a great fisherman and he loved to fly fish. So, he'd take me over to the St. Johns or the Trout River on Saturday's and Sunday's, or during the week after school, and we'd fish. I was terrible. But he was determined to teach me. Did I say what a patient teacher he was? The best. He was also the Guidance Councilor at the high school and just terrific with people. Gam loved the outdoors and nature. An avid hunter and fisherman, but he respected all things in nature. One time I caught a baby Copperhead and I brought it home. My mom wanted me to run it over with the lawnmower, but Gam stopped her and said we would return it to the woods. Snakes have their place and help control the rodent population. He was a real stickler about those kinds of things, but it made me aware of preserving God's creatures.

Gam taught me how to fly fish when I was about 11 years old. He had a bunch of rods and would take me to a big field near Riverside Park, the one off of Sydney Street. He would fill balloons with water and air and place them in the field. The object was to pick out a target and cast to the balloon. It was a game and once I mastered it we moved on to more tricky targets. One Saturday afternoon he took me over to a place behind St. Vincent's, down by the river. He had some balloons filled with water and air and had strings attached to them. The balloons were lowered into the river and floated out with the current until it reached the end of the tether. They weren't out that far, maybe twenty or thirty feet. With the wind and current, it became a little more difficult casting to the balloons. Once you hit a balloon it would break and then you could haul the balloon in on its string. I got quite good and now it was time to apply my new talents on the fish.

Gam picked me up early one Saturday morning and took me up to the river. At that time you could get out on small creeks and wade for fish. I think the fishing was easier then. My recollection is that we always brought fish home, which my mother cooked in her many southern dishes. She could make bluefish taste like Prime Rib. She worked her magic on fish using homegrown vegetables and herbs. We were down at the river and having one terrific time when I broke my leader. Gam was still away from me and I didn't want to bother him. So I put the rod down on the bank and fixed up another fly. Who knows what kind it was. Gam usually tied some and gave me a couple because he knew I would loose one. That was ok. So I put on another fly. I think this was a streamer and it probably was a white one, because Gam liked white flies. I got the fly on and threw it in the water of this little creek. As I reached down to pick up the rod the line screamed out at high speed. I tried to stop the line from spooling the reel and wouldn't you know it the line came right off the spool. I guess Gam had been watching the whole ordeal, because by that time he was about 50 feet down stream from me and he reached out and grabbed that line. He pulled back hard, set the hook and hand-over-hand pulled in a 15-pound Jack Cravelle. My first Jack. Well, I can't take credit for catching it. That Jack was probably a record then, but they might not have been tracking record fish. This was some awesome fish and was he powerful. Gam and dad talked about that fish and the whole episode for a long time.

It was happy memories like this that I remember Gam and what a great friend and mentor he was, until his death in 1996. There is a special place in my heart for that man and the great times our families shared. On Christmas Eve, my father told me to go ahead and open that box. There it was all wrapped without a bow who needed one. The Shakespeare was inside with the Plueger Progress reel. Times were hard then and I know my dad and Gam saved a long time to get me that rod.

So it is a special rod that lives in the Fenwick case today. ~ 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.

Previous Fly Fishing The Salt Articles

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice