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.

Carolina Moon

By Doug Sinclair

My momma sang this song a lot. She passed away weeks ago after a long illness, but I still hear her singing that verse. Why is this important to fishing in Eastern Carolina? It is the height of the full moon that has fish eating all night and the bite is most always later in the day. So I try not to schedule charters for the morning. But you can't always count on that.

Mark Kahil, from Bristol (TN) and his three sons decided on a trip to Oriental and a full day of fly fishing. His two oldest sons fished with me in the morning. Ryan and Dale were obviously seasoned fly anglers and casters. The day started out with a beautiful sunrise and calm water. I figured we could head to down to Lower Broad Creek near the mouth of the Neuse River and southern edge of Pamlico Sound. The creeks off Lower Broad are some of my favorites for puppy drum and speckled trout. Flounder will also hit a fly when presented right.

Out in the River we headed out past Oriental, Whitaker Point, Pearce Creek, Orchard Creek and a wide swing out around Gum Thicket Shoal. Thirty 30-minutes later we made our way in to Lower Broad Creek. A commercial fishing boat was heading out to Ocracoke, its nets hanging high on the stern beams. Water splayed off its bow. The water sparkled from the spray as it pushed out of the channel into the Neuse River. The sun was beginning its rise above the horizon and only a few puffy clouds lingered above. The sun was to our backs and it felt good.

This is a beautiful area of North Carolina, unspoiled by subdivisions and shopping malls. This is a wild and peaceful place with bear, wolf, sea otters, and occasional family of racoons. I headed in the creek making a turn around Skate Point and up Tar Creek. I let the boat settle down in the water before I started the approach to the second bay. The boys were anxious to hang some trout or redfish. I handed Dale a 6 weight T-3 Rod and tied a green spoon fly on the leader. He finessed a nice cast and came up with an 18 inch puppy drum (redfish to you folks in Florida). Three more casts and three more puppy drum. I thought that maybe someone was looking down on me that we could be catching anything after a full moon. I could hear the humming of Carolina Moon in my mind.

Now it was Ryan's turn. He cast and cast and cast. Retrieve was almost identical to Dale's but after about 45 minutes he hadn't caught anything. I figured maybe the bite was off so decided to try Browns Creek farther up and off of Lower Broad. Again Ryan keep up the pace fishing his heart out, and nothing. Since they were both such good casters I figured they both could fish at the same time, and maybe increase our odds of a hook up.

Near the bay across from Whortonsville and next to Fork Point, Dale landed another puppy drum. Ryan came up empty. We crossed the creek by Graveyard Point and Ryan caught his first Croaker on a bonefish bitters fly. For the next hour we hung 5 croakers and two more puppy drum. By eleven o'clock we had boated more than 15 fish, and released them. Both Dale and Ryan were having a great time. We motored back towards the mouth of Lower Broad and a place called Cedar Point to sight fish for red drum. But none were to be found.

It was time to head back to Oriental to pick up Mark and Tyler. Besides the river was starting to kick up and the ride back was a little weter than the one down to Lower Broad Creek. I called Mark on my cell phone and asked him to meet us at the dock across from the Bean. This is a neat little coffee place on Hodges Street in downtown Oriental. Also, it would be good for Dale and Ryan for a respite of ice cream and time to check out Paddle Pamlico Outfitters, an upscale kayak shop next to the Bean.

Mark, his wife, Tyler and their Lab met us at the dock. Tyler and Mark boarded old Katie (my Action Craft) and we headed out of Oriental Harbor. Fourteen year old Tyler needed a crash course in fly casting and presentation. It was his first fly fishing trip in saltwater. I could tell that a weather front was moving in, so I kept us to the back of the high bridge. I started down Green Creek and then pulled into Kershaw Creek and stopped just short of the marina. There, I gave Tyler his first casting lesson. I don't recommend casting lessons from a boat if you have never fly-fished. This can be very frustrating to say the least. But it was obvious that Mark had given his sons some good basics, because Tyler seemed to pick it up rather quickly. After about 30-minutes, I felt we would be ok.

Pamlico Bitters

Out back on Green Creek, I headed up the creek to a point near a wide turn. The bottom is grass and the point holds nice speckled trout and puppy drum. We fished for about an hour with no real strong hits. I changed the flies to a version of bonefish bitters that I use and tie with rainbow braid. I call it Pamlico Bitters. I also positioned the boat just off the point and used two anchors to keep us in this position.

I borrowed Tyler's rod and made a 60 foot cast into the wind landing the fly just off the grass next to the point. I told Tyler to count to 10 then do one long strip, count to 10 and repeat the cadence. After the second cast his line went tight and he landed his first puppy drum on fly. A while later Mark caught a croaker and a puppy drum. For a day that would have otherwise been questionable, the Kahil family proved that with a little luck, some great casting and presentation, you can have a fabulous time fly-fishing in Eastern North Carolina.

Tylers 1st on a fly

It was pouring trucks by the time I got them back to the dock in Oriental. We had a terrific day. I sang the words to Carolina Moon "keep shining," all the way home. ~ 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.

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