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.

Lady Luck

By Capt. Douglas Sinclair

Congratulation Doug - You Made It!

It was one of those mornings. We caught a little over 25 redfish, 14 trout, and half-dozen jacks. We were just plain tired. Arms felt like lead weights strapped to our shoulders. That heavy feeling stays with you long after you've stopped throwing a 10wt rod. But, look at what we accomplished in a little under 4 hours. I replaced the tippets three times on two rods, and once on the 8 wt. All the fish were released. Call it lady luck, or just a great fly angler.

We had everything working against us. Cold weather wound its way south into Florida. We had five days of consecutive freezing temperatures. Even the bait guys were canceling trips because it was too cold for their parties to go out. At 27 degrees our Florida fish are usually in shock and not feeding. They head for deep water. It means that some will move up into the creeks. Which is just fine by me. The creeks offer great cover and protection from the northerly winds. That protection also allows the sun to penetrate and warm up the southerly facing banks. Air temperatures will move up quickly by the sun. From 27 degrees at daybreak you can see a ten-degree climb every hour. That means the water temperature will also rise. By ten in the morning the redfish and trout will move up along the banks to feed on baitfish. Getting a fly to them is the easy part. Wrestling them out of the mangroves requires some high sticking.

I've had more charters from fly anglers in the past three weeks than anytime I could remember at this time of the year. Fly anglers know cold weather. Most of them are from northern climates where they fish for trout in streams so cold you could freeze your butt sitting on a rock. One spring I fished Lake George with a friend and there was still snow on the ground and ice on the rocks. Imagine my expression, standing there in my breathable waders.

Jane is a Vermont cold stream angler, and a really good caster. She double hauls almost as good as Lefty. She is accurate and uses the roll cast frequently. You don't see people use this cast much, but it is very effective in tight spaces, especially for changing casting direction. I think the technique is better than using a false cast. She also perfected a nice underhand side-cast, good for getting under branches. So we had questionable weather and fishing conditions mixed with some outstanding angling skills. I launched from the North Causeway in New Smyrna and headed up the Indian River towards Spruce and Lost Creek, about six miles up the Intercoastal Waterway.

The beauty of this day was that we didn't travel far for our bounty. Not ten seconds after the Foxy Clouser entered the water, the lady from Vermont tied into a 23-pound redfish. We weren't halfway on the bend into Lost Creek. It all got better after that. Each cast brought a hook up. After three hook ups in a half hour, we moved down the creek to a large mangrove stand. There the roots were sticking out of the water. You could see tailing fish along the southerly exposed bank. This day was really cool and the water temperature hovered around 55 degrees. But we were protected from the wind by nature's blind of Black and Red Mangroves. They were just high enough to block the Northwest wind.

Water and air showed through the arching root branches. The sun sparkled reflections on the ripples against the grass edge that lay behind the mangroves. Three redfish moved slowly along these roots. A low cast got a hook up inside the roots where a redfish engulfed a crab fly. There was no explosion from the hook up, just a lazy kind of pull. You could see that we were hooked up. But the redfish was taking his time, moving slowly through the branches. It was clear that our redfish had no intention of relinquishing his snack. He had us wrapped up in roots and grass. But we weren't giving up either. I poled us over to the mangroves were he was somewhat trapped by winding us around the roots. Carefully I held his jaw while I removed the fly. He really didn't move far. The redfish just lingered for a while and then swam off. I removed the fly from the tippet and then pulled the leader free of the roots and replaced it on the fly-line.

Around the next bend and into a small pond area about a hundred yards long by thirty yards wide, we saw a huge push. I could tell it wasn't a redfish, had to be a trout. The area was more open and so I had my angler pick up the 10-weight rod. I wasn't sure that the Foxy Clouser (tied with brown and tan marabou) would work. Normally I'd recommend a chartreuse half/half or a KB Pink/Tan Bucktail. The stripping action had to be timed right. My angler cast and let the fly settle. As the trout made its way to the fly, she did a short, brisk strip, and then let the fly settle down again. The hook up was unmistakable and that trout hauled off to the end of the pond, where he was played and released. We hooked and release thirteen more trout from this pond. All were really gorgeous fish in the six to seven pound range. I couldn't help thinking to myself, "found them." It is always nice to locate a school of fish. The odds of finding a school here - well we could have won the lottery.

Later we moved on south into Smyrna Creek and managed some more redfish and jacks. All in all, it was a great day to be repeated a couple of more times while she was here on vacation. The cold weather didn't seem to affect our fishing. It pays to understand the weather conditions and think about where the fish will be hiding. Just don't underestimate Lady Luck.

Catch/Release: it's the right thing to do. ~ 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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