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.


It Ain't Rocket Science

By Capt. Doug Sinclair


Be honest. "How many flies you really got in that box?" "Hey look at all the ones with eyes." "Do you need eyes, really…?" (That's a rhetorical question folks).

It really kills me to see an angler carrying his life savings in a fly box. I often wonder what he does with his other luggage. Maybe they arrive on a different plane. Man am I being sarcastic, or what? Granted my preparations for the Redbone Celebrity Tournament in New Smyrna Beach showed my box with 25 flies. But there were only three patterns. One day I came to the realization that there were maybe four flies that you would ever really need on the flats. And, guess what? It isn't rocket science.

Some flies work better than others, because they look like the bait. Isn't that what we are trying to do? Imitate the bait? Most of our redfish, trout, snook and other game fish, including baby tarpon will eat SHRIMP. I've tied a lot of shrimp flies.

Borski Fur Shrimp is my all time favorite (any season of the year but especially good in the winter and spring), consistently catching game fish. Tim probably has credit for the fly most often selected by fly fishing guides in Florida (east or west coasts). Put this fly in the water. Let her sink. She goes inverted - hook up. Give a little tug. Ain't that the prettiest little shrimp imitation you ever saw. Imagine if you had thousands of them some night when the Shrimper guys were out. Man would they be surprised to pull them up in their nets. There have been more than 25 World Record Redfish caught on this fly alone in Mosquito Lagoon. Remember what a guide friend said to me, "if you believe in the after life, don't come back as a shrimp."

Redfish Diver

My all time summer favorite is the Redfish Diver (my fly - I'm tooting my horn now). I kind of stole the design from Liz Steele's Purple Passion. The passion works really well at night and I thought, "what if I tied this baby with orange and tan marabou and a little red Bucktail." WOW! Another dynamite fly for the archives. Next I opt for a foxy Clouser or Pete's Spawning Shrimp. Crab flies work best when redfish or black drum are tailing. So there you have it - fly selection made simple. If you can't fit your flies into one shirt pocket, you have too many flies.

Ok, a chartreuse Clouser will work. Rick caught his first red, nope it was a Jack buried beneath a school of 100 redfish, on a chartreuse Clouser. Rick didn't catch any reds that day - cause he wanted to use that damn Clouser. If you fish with me, don't offer up a Clouser! Keep it in your box - you ain't gonna catch anything worthwhile on it.

Dave likes popcorn shrimp flies. Man they are pretty. I've seen reds look at this fly and look back at us, "You've got to be kidding - you guys obviously have never seen a shrimp." Ken Bay has some nice shrimp patterns too. You won't find me tying them. I can tie 100 Pompano Trailers in 90 minutes and it takes me 90 minutes just to figure out where to start tying Ken's shrimp. People buy them though, so they are good at catching anglers.

Guess what, there are a lot of flies that work. But you want flies that will work great 90% of the time. Put yourself in my shoes (don't usually wear them). I'm taking charters out 4 days a week on average - I want you to hook up a big fish so I need to lower the odds. Borski and Diver sing to me. The best advice is experiment but find that consistent combination that will work most of the time and go with that.

Half the battle is the retrieve. Remember the story of the two guys in the boat. One guy kept catching all the fish and the other didn't catch any. Let the fly sink (if you are imitating bait on the bottom) or let the fly settle in the water. Then start your strip. Vary the strip action with lots of pauses. If you are on a school of Jacks that are crashing bait then you have to get the fly moving. If you are fishing top water flies for Jacks, Snook or Tarpon do a tug and release, tug and release. I believe it is the motion of the fly that entices a strike - not the color, not the eyes, and not the smell.

Oh, almost forgot. Except for the Borski none of the other flies have eyes. All my hair bugs (snook and tarpon flies) are top water action. They have eyes but they don't really need them. Be the fish. You're swimming below the fly. What do you see? Gonna see those eyes? I don't think so. I know this is a heavily debated issue, so I'll keep putting the eyes on if you keep buying them.

Wishing I was barefoot and fishing. ~ "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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