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.

The Reel Deal

By Capt. Doug Sinclair

Large Arbor reels are now common among serious fly anglers. Be the first on your block to own one. They boast a couple of important features typical of most saltwater reels. Made of bar-stock aluminum (aircraft grade) for strength and corrosion resistance, they are more reliable and the arbors are less likely to twist or bend from the pressure of a strong game fish. They are also quiet (versus a click/pawl reel).

Silence and stealth are factors that will make the difference in successful hook ups on the flats. There is nothing I hate worse than hearing, "click, click, click, click," in rapid succession when we are sight fishing reds or tarpon. Stand on the deck, of a flats boat, and strip out 30 feet of line onto the deck. The click/pawl reel will sound like a machine-gun. That sound just transfers right through the hull and into the water. The sound is amplified at least 30 feet from the boat.

Talk about spooking fish that are already paranoid from fishing pressure. Most of the large arbor reels or big standard arbor reels have large disk (cork) drags. This type of drag will allow you to put pressure on a running fish without damaging or overheating the reel. The large disk drags are also quiet, and allow the angler to easily adjust the drag by using a knob or star on the backside of the reel.

There remains a lot of confusion over large arbor reels. I see the biggest advantage being the ability to retrieve more line with fewer turns. Also having the ability to advance line without those nasty little loops going out, typical of a standard arbor reel. However, I do like standard arbor reels when you need 600 yards of 50# gel spun backing for large game fish. Most large arbor reels won't hold more than 250 yards of backing. So there is a trade off. My favorite standards are Billy Pate Marlin and Orvis Odyessy+. But, then again, how often do you think you'll need a half-a-mile of backing. Just imagine reeling all that line in.

The hardest decision for you to make is how much to spend ($250 to $1200) and your expectations for the reel. I teach fly-fishing at our school here in New Smyrna Beach. All our teaching reels are large arbor (Redington and Orvis). They are light, easy to operate, and easy on the budget. The best advice is to go to a sportsman show and look at, (I didn't say buy), the reels from different manufacturers. They vary widely in price and line capacity. For instance, Redington's AL 9/10 is especially good for anglers with arthritis because the star drag is easy to operate with one finger.

My personal favorite is the Battenkill 9/10 Large Arbor (since replaced by the BA-V). This is just the nicest reel I've ever used and it picks up more line per revolution than any reel on the market. It easily adjusts to right or left hand and is very light giving it a nice balance. I've had clients land redfish and jacks to 35 pounds. It can take the pressure of a big fish. ~ 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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