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.

Never Give Up a Hole

By Capt. Doug Sinclair

I agonized over this story. Here was Johnny Miller telling me not to utter a word about this spot. I wanted to fish High Bridge so bad that I would convince charter clients that this was the place to fish. Old place but not fished recently. We were coming back from St. Augustine when I made a wrong turn - or so I thought. There it was this beautiful stretch of water.

Bulow Creek

"They really should have guard rails on the side of the road."

"The State isn't going to put in guard rails just to keep you from going in the creek. Slow down for Pete's sake," yelled Annie.

Nobody fished there. Almost nobody. Johnny Miller fished there a lot. And I wanted to fish there a lot, too.

So it was easy when Dave called to find out if I wanted to fish on my day off.

"I'll pick you up on the way to River Breeze," he barked over the phone.

"No, no, no!" I came back. With authority and confidence I said, "we're fishing Bulow Creek tomorrow."

"Ok, meet me at my house and we'll drive over together."

"Can I bring Robbie?"

"Of course, and just bring an 8wt."

More of Bulow Creek Bulow Creek is an out-of-the-way area of many canals and connecting saltwater lakes for mosquito control and the production of sugar cane. A plantation was established in 1821 by Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow. He acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness bordering a tidal creek. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Major Bulow died in 1823, leaving the newly established plantation to his seventeen-year old son, John Joachim Bulow.

J.J. Bulow became a rich planter. His sugar mill, constructed of local "coquina" rock (broken oyster shells mixed with clay and concrete), was the largest mill in East Florida. At the boat slips, flatboats were loaded with barrels of raw sugar and molasses and floated down Bulow Creek to be shipped north. This frontier industry came to an abrupt end at the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. In January 1836, a band of raiding Seminole Indians, resisting removal to the West, looted and burned the plantation.

remains of the sugar plantation The coquina walls and chimneys of the sugar mill remain standing as a monument to the rise and fall of the sugar plantations of East Florida.

Bulow Creek and the upper Halifax River are a nature lovers delight. Bald eagles, red-shouldered Hawks, swallow-tailed kites, and Florida otters are occasionally seen. The water is teeming with redfish, spotted sea trout, snook, tarpon, jacks, and bluefish. The deep water from the Inter-coastal Waterway brings these formidable predators south from Matanzas Inlet and River to gorge themselves on the black and striped mullet, pinfish, pig fish and a variety of other baits including crabs. Bait fish and birds were everywhere. A pair of Osprey swooped down for some late breakfast.

We launched early and got a good start despite the early morning smoke and fog. The hardest decision was whether to go north or south. We went south. The river was all but disserted. We saw one boat in two hours, and we saw the same boat later in the morning when we headed north towards Flagler.

Friend Dave and my dog Robbie

Dave was using his Sage 8 wt and I my 8wt Wayfarer. I started off using an orange/black hair bug. Each cast was deliberately thrown to the grass line and then striped back. Dave used a Dr.M's Snookzit. We would throw to the grass line and keep the strip constant all the way back to the boat. On a little turn in the creek, he managed a nice 4-pound trout. About ten minutes later we managed another trout, and another, and another. About the closest you'll get to paradise fishing for spotted sea trout - this place had it all. Take my word for it. This was one productive place and it just got better as we poled down through a few canals. They all looked the same. We had to keep a target object in view so we wouldn't get lost. No. We aren't showing you the pictures of our catch. The exact location is not for distribution. But here is a clue.

Heck, I couldn't find it either! There is a push off to the left of the bushes. The biggest red I've ever seen in such skinny water. The old girl had to be 48 inches in length. I almost dropped the camera in the creek. And, Dave almost fell out of the boat when I backed into to him watching the Redfish. Needless to say we spooked the lady and she bolted. We had such a great day exploring, fishing and watching nature.

Oh, did I tell you we got stuck on a mud flat? Yeah, these things happen sometimes. Don't loose your cool - Dave got out and stepped into the mud. We got unstuck for about ten minutes, but Dave lost his shoe in the mud. Then we saw it floating with the tide towards another flat. It took another 30 minutes to retrieve his shoe. Then we got stuck a second time. We were laughing so hard that I thought Dave was crying. I finally decided to throw the anchor as far as I could towards the deeper cut of the channel. It looked like I was lassoing a cow. But that actually worked. Put that in your notebook. All said, we had a terrific day. Even Robbie enjoyed sleeping where the fly line would tangle in his paws. Dave was beside himself. Standing on a gunnel and stripping into the boat his line would tangle on our deck shoes under the deck. Finally out of frustration he decided to take the poling platform.

"What's your favorite spot to fish?"

I couldn't believe he was asking me this question. This is so hard to answer. I just said something stupid like, "this moment in time." But I was serious.

We Floridians, or Crackers as we are sometimes called, have such a pot of gold for fishing areas. Each one offers something new. Even though what you see is really the same thing. It is hard to dismiss the beauty of an eagle, hawk, ibis, red-winged black bird and any of a couple of thousand species of animals, birds, and fish. We are so blessed by this fortune, and to charter clients here everyday, life just can't get any better.

Next time you're in Florida or planning a trip here, call or write me. Let me share my knowledge of saltwater fly-fishing in Northeast Florida. You'll have a great time.

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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