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.

Flashy Flies for New England

Capt. Bob Turley

I live on the North shore of Long Island Sound and fish the waters east of New York to Cape Cod. New England produces a wide variety of salt-water game fish throughout the year. The fly fishing can be unbelievable at different times of the year. The reason we have such a fine fishery is the immense schools of baitfish; Atlantic Sandeels, Bay Anchovy, Spearing and larger baits such as Smelt, Herring and Menhaden. These baitfish procreate in our rivers, bays and estuaries, supplying game fish with hardy meals throughout the year. I can't imagine a seventy-five foot cast with a three-pound menhaden at the end of your tippet; so we'll leave the larger baits for the meat fishermen and concentrate on the smaller fry which are the major food source anyway.

In early spring, Sand eels move into beaches, rivers and estuaries along the coast preferring areas with sandy bottoms. They provide food for hold over bass and early Bluefish. In late spring Silver sides or Spearing are in abundance, followed by large schools of migratory Striped Bass and Bluefish that invade our coastline. By early summer Bay Anchovies are everywhere; they are the major food source until they head for deeper water in late November. By late summer Bay Anchovies are approximately two to five inches in length. Large schools of these fish can be found in the mouths of rivers, estuaries, bays and harbors.

Bait balls

Late summer to mid November is an unbelievable time for flyrodders, fom the inlets of Martha's Vineyard to the rips and shoals off Block Island, along the beaches of Montauk Point to the reefs of Watch Hill Rhode Island. Large schools of Bonito, False Albacore, Striped Bass and Bluefish prey on large schools of Anchovy in open water. Large schools of Anchovy, packed tightly together in large balls, look like hot air balloons suspended in the water, driven up and down the beaches. Bluefish and Striped Bass attack these balls of bait, driving thousands of Anchovy into the air. Once airborne they fall prey to hundreds of seabirds hovering over these schools. Albacore and Bonito often strafe the outer edges of these schools adding to the mass confusion. These fish are truly horsepower with fins, blink your eyes they are here, gone and back again.

I don't know any other sound that will make a flyrodder's heart skip a beat than the sound of these Anchovy leaving the water like a shockwave down the beach. It is not uncommon to fish these schools and catch numerous Bass, Blues, Albacore and Bonito in one day.

When fishing extremely heavy schools of bait, you need a fly which matches the bait but stands out from the rest. One thing these baits all have in common is they flash. In large schools these fish dart, turn and leap out of the water when pursued by larger fish. Sunlight strikes their silvery sides and reflects back a flashy, shimmering effect in the water. For as long as I can remember, spin fishermen have used spoons which produce good catches. To me a spoon doesn't resemble a baitfish, but suggests the flash of a fleeing one.

Flashy Anchovy

I've spent a lot of time at the tying bench and have come up with a pattern which is easy to tie. It resembles a Bay Anchovy and has a flashy underside. Local fishermen and myself have fished this pattern for Striped Bass and Bluefish successfully throughout the year. This fly also produces Albacore and Bonito on days when these fish can be frustrating.

For the Flashy Anchovy click here. ~ Bob

About Bob:
Bob is a USCG Licensed Captain and fly-fishing guide from Stratford CT, and owner of North Coast Charters, just 45 minutes from New York City. He specializes in saltwater Fly and Light Tackle Charters. He fishes coastal Connecticut and Southern Rhode Island for Striped Bass, Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore. You can reach him at (203) 378-1160.

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