Alpine glow nestled on the peaks of the mountains across
the water. Lights begin to flicker across on the
island. A pod of Dahl porpoise breach the water in the
fading light, their white markings reflecting the glow.
Fly fishing at sunset on the salt on the west coast.
Other fly fishers claim you have to
be there at daybreak. I've been there and the effect
is also spectacular. Frankly, we have caught fish - good
fish - at sunrise and sunset. Personally I find my casting
begins to deteriorate the darker it gets. I'm sure it's a
mental thing, but it does happen to me. Or maybe I'm just
tired by then. I do know we hook more sand sharks at
dusk than other times. Do they know something? And
yes, that is an interesting experience. If you happen to
catch one, take a really good look at it before you cut it off -
and try not to think about 'Jaws' when you do.
My personal choice for the perfect
rod for fishing salmon on the salt is an 8-weight.
I have fished a 7-weight, but you work a little harder to
get the line out farther with a seven. Less casts - more time
really fishing with an 8-weight. A soft, willowy rod will
work, but again more false casts to get the line out. A stiffer,
faster rod works better. For some regions a 10-or 12-weight
really is necessary.
If you have been fishing lakes,or maybe
rivers for large fish you may be familair with sink-tip
lines. For some ocean fishing it is a necessity. A couple
of reasons for using a sink-tip, some fish are not surface
feeders so you need to get down some. Second, quite
often the wind is blowing and the added weight of the sink-tip
helps carry the fly out further.
The leader is as important to your
success as is the tippet. Tie your fly onto the tippet instead
of tying directly onto the leader. Changing flies and cutting
off the tippet doesn't shorten up the leader, which is more
expensive than tippet material. We use a 10-pound leader,
one piece tapered from a heavy butt to a reasonably
fine tip. Add 8-pound tipet material of the new "invisible"
fluorocarbon material and you are in business. Most salt
water fish are spooky, so use a long leader, 12 feet or so.
Now, here is the big one. Fishing on
a river, you know the fish are facing into the current. So you
make your cast upstream and let the fly drift toward the fish.
What about on the salt? Surprise!!! The fish face into the
current! If they didn't they would all be ground up smashing
in and out on the tides.
Make a test cast and see where the
current takes your fly. Then cast as far as you can in the
direction the tide is coming from. Keep a tight line, mending
the line up-current. Fish will usually 'take' on the swing.
You need to strip the line the whole time. Use a slow, moderate,
or fast retrieve, or an uneven retrieve to simulate
a wounded bait fish. Interested? Ask at your local fly shop
for the best salt-water flies for your area. If you haven't
tried fishing the salt, you have no idea what you may be
missing. Careful, you might get hooked!