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.

Pass the B-Sauce, Please

By Captain Doug Sinclair

Ralph called, "Doing anything Captain?" he asked.

"Of course not - I'm ready to hit the sack is all," was my reply.

"Want a change of pace?"

"Sure, what did you have in mind?" I was hoping for an invitation to his favorite bass pond.

"Crabbing over on Spruce Creek. We can get in near where my sister-in-law lives."

"Crabbing? Yeah, I suppose so."

"We'll have a great time. And, we can see if any baby tarpon are lounging around."

It wasn't a bad idea. After all I hadn't been crabbing in a long time and the relaxation would be good. Ralph would be primed with some new jokes and we could sit on our paint buckets and talk away the evening. It would be a good break from the fly-fishing. When I arrived at Ralph's house, he was just putting the last two string crab traps in his trunk. There where four 5 gallon paint buckets, gloves, string, pliers, rubber-bands, some newspapers, old garden gloves and a fresh bag of chicken wings for bait.

Crab traps are simple contraptions made from loose netting. A piece of tin, that holds the bait, is secured in the center of the trap. When the line is attached, the side netting pulls up and closes the occupants. It is very efficient and can hold about two or three large blue crabs. Cheap chicken wings work best since the smell really attracts crabs.

All ready, we set off for Ralph's sister's house. We drove east on Taylor Road and into the Spruce Creek development of Port Orange. Spruce Creek is a long stream that starts deep in Samsula and flows easterly to the Inter-coastal Waterway near the airport in New Smyrna Beach. This creek meanders and winds its way into a brackish water estuary. The creek is tidal throughout most of its reach, except for the extreme westerly locations it is less salty. The construction of the Turnbull Bay Bridge pretty much closed all boat traffic back into the creek where there are schools of redfish, sea trout, snook, jacks, tarpon, mudfish, black bass, largemouth bass, and gar. There are also alligators, snakes, turtles and other reptiles.

Ralph and I arrived at his sister's house around 5 pm. We would have daylight for another 3 hours. The dry air would keep the mosquitoes down while we crabbed along a mud flat. We looked like a couple of beggars as we carried our buckets and equipment to the edge of the primitive boat ramp. We set up the traps and gave each a heave into the creek bed, allowing them to sink to the bottom.

Every once in awhile you could see a string move and that was a sign there was a crab in the trap. Snatching the line, I pulled one trap up through the mud to find two nice sized crabs. The crabs were dropped into a bucket and the routine repeated. After an hour we had collected about two buckets of crabs. So I volunteered to take those buckets back to the house while Ralph worked the other two nets.

When I returned, I was surprised to see Ralph on the flat knee deep in mud struggling to pull one of the traps in.

"What's happening? Looks like you've got a huge crab in your net."

"You think this is funny?"

"What's the problem? Is the trap stuck on something?" I asked.

"No. It isn't stuck. Get over here and help me."

"I'll get all dirty," I replied.

"Come on and help me pull this redfish in."


"Yes, redfish. After you left a big redfish grabbed the chicken wing that was sticking out of the side of the net and wouldn't let it go."

"There is a redfish on the end of the net?"

"Yes. Let's both get him in."

Who would have ever guessed that a redfish would like chicken wings. It sure was a beauty, over the slot limit at 32 inches. We tugged and tugged on the line. For twenty minutes we played tug-of-war with a redfish, neither side giving in. Until the redfish finally realized he wasn't going to get the chicken. Wow. What an interesting night crabbing.

Catch & Release: Protect the Species. ~ "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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