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.

Flats 101 - Safety First While Wading

By Randy Jones
Photos by John Halnon

Here on Cape Cod, fog can become your worst nightmare when 1/8-2 miles out on a flat. Some of us have had close calls on the flats, so I would like to share some of the things I do to remain safe.

Number one rule is do not wonder into an area you are not familiar with. When I say familiar, I mean having an intimate understanding of all of the following.

    2 - Before I even walk out onto a flat I have already checked several weather related wind Internet sites. I know direction and if its going to swing and at what time. As I walk out I pay attention to what direction I feel the wind on my face. This helps should I have to guess-ta-mate my return.

    3 - I know exactly in what stage in the tide I'm walking out and when it will change. I'm very familiar with tidal current direction at every phase of the tide for the flat I am on. Knowing current direction also helps with navigation when seeing land is not an option.

    4 - Over the years the sand becomes like a road map, every trough, sluice, creek, river, depression is memorized over and over each year. Even if you can not see 10 feet you will come across these things that will help you navigate your way back.

    5 -Knowing exactly at what stage in the tide I can cross and re-cross certain depressions allowing me access to certain flats and a safe return.

    6 -Taking in all audible clues as I walk out. (Cars, fog horns, bells, motor boat engine noise coming from the main channel.)

    7 - I take a compass reading when I reach my destination. I carry a compass on my watchband for easy access. Also a back-up in my chest pak.

    8 - Know the height of your tides. Worse case scenario is to seek higher ground and sit it out. Knowing were this area is at, is crucial.

    9 - A cell phone is invaluable should you happen to hurt yourself and walking back is not an option.

    10 - Go with a friend or someone who knows the area as good as the inside of their pocket.

    11 - Know your moon fazes. There are certain tides in certain areas that will not allow you to out run them. No high ground to sit it out and the current is so swift you can not walk against it. Put yourself on the edge of a flat with a drop off and this current can at times run like a ragging river, as water drains off it. Someone here lost their life last year under this same scenario.

    12 - An inflatable vest of some sort makes a lot of sense.

    13 - Look for the way water drains off the flat. If it drains to your right, then the high ground is to your left., you have just found you exit off the flat when faced with high water. Knowing this direct route will save you valuable time when faced with a fast incoming tide that you could not out run.

    14 - A good pair of polarized glasses are not only an invaluable tool for seeing fish but also for safety.

    15 - Remember, there is normally only one right way off the flat and 3 wrong ways.

Having to feel your way back in by following the edge of the flat with your feet is not an enjoyable feeling, especially when the tide has turned and the fog is overwhelming. This happened to me once and it well never happen again! So be safe, be smart; don't fool around with Mother Nature. She always has the winning hand.

How To Select Glasses for Sight Fishing

Being able to place the fly in the perfect relation to the fish, demands that the angler be able to see the fish while the presentation is being made. Polarized glasses help eliminate surface glare so the angler can see into the depths. The best all around lens color for fishing is amber especially on bright days. Yellow is good for dark days.

To understand polarization you first need to understand glare. Normally, light waves move more randomly. However, when light reflects off a surface, it is concentrated - polarized - at a specific plane or direction, which intensifies the light into reflective glare. Light reflected from a smooth shiny surface, such as water, a wet road, or snow causes glare. Wherever there are horizontal surfaces producing glare, the use of polarizing lenses is recommended. Non-Polarized sunglasses reduce visible light, however they have little or no effect on reflected glare. Only Polarized lenses eliminate glare.

Polarized lenses utilize energized iodine crystals that are positioned in vertical rows on a thin piece of film. This film is sandwiched between two layers of the lens material. The filter within the lens allows selected light rays to reach the eye, while absorbing reflected glare or polarized light. When a polarizing film or filter is properly positioned in front of such reflected light rays, the glare is blocked. This is how polarized sunglasses are able to eliminate glare.

The amount of polarization a lens achieves is proportional to the density of the film. The lighter the PVA film the less polarization a lens can offer. Lenses that utilize a dark film will, in turn, have more effective polarization than a lens that possesses a light film. Tinting a light polarized lens does not increase polarity. It simply darkens the lens and reduces brightness.

Polarized lenses are constructed of a sheet of polyvinyl alcohol film (PVA), sandwiched between, or cast into, two pieces of lens material, either glass, plastic (CR-39), poly-carbonate or triacetate. The PVA film molecule alignment is such that it allows only vertical light waves to pass through the lens (somewhat like a venetian blind), thus eliminating glare.

Being able to watch your quarry and see its reaction to your presentation is a great advantage. Being able watch your steelhead or striper is even more important if the angler is fishing subsurface with a slow moving fly. Both species can suck in a fly and eject it so softly that it can be virtually impossible to feel the strike. If you see them take the fly, then you will know when to set the hook.


I like an amber lens for sunny days and yellow lenses for overcast, dark days. Side shields are a necessity when sight fishing. These are not only needed to sight fish, but more importantly for your safety. ~ Randy Jones

About Randy:
Randy Jones
Randy Jones is a full-time professional fly/spin fishing guide with over 18 years of experience. He has represented the Orvis Corporation as a guide and chief instructor of their 2 1/2 day Saltwater Fly fishing schools. During the summer, Randy can be found guiding the Monomoy Island area where sight casting on the flats to trophy Striped Bass is his specialty. During the Fall, Winter, and Spring Randy runs drift boat and wade trips on the world class Salmon River for Steelhead, Coho, Browns, Atlantics, and Kings. E-mail randysjones@earthlink.net or visit his Web Site: http://www.yankeeangler.com/

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