So you want to get into saltwater fly fishing do you? You’ve finished re-watching all of the Spanish Fly episodes with Jose Wejebe and Walkers Cay Chronicles with Flip Pallot have you? You’re looking to stalk some flats for a shot at sight casting to a permit, redfish, or bonefish are ya?
Or maybe you are in the Mid-Atlantic hoping to catch a cobia of the fly, or up in the Northeast with a dream of feeding Striper a fly on the surface. Well, we support you, and we highly recommend finding a guide to get you there.
Stepping into the saltwater arena may seem like an easy transition, after all, fish are just fish, right? With the invention of Google Earth and other satellite imaging apps, locating potential spots on the apps is fairly easy, but there are many variables that can make or break a good-looking spot that only someone who fishes the area regularly will know.
Find A Guide
Trust us because we’ve tried on our own and failed, you cannot put a number on how valuable it is fishing with a saltwater fishing guide. Nowadays you can find saltwater fishing guides that specialize in fly fishing almost anywhere there is a saltwater fishery. Trusting and building a relationship with those guides will help your transition to saltwater fly fishing.
Not to mention, they will be able to instruct you how to fish the spot properly with a presentation that is ideal for the species of fish you are targeting. Learning how a guide selects spots based on the tide, bait presence, and structure will ultimately help you in your journey to becoming a successful saltwater angler on your own.
Building a relationship with a saltwater fishing guide can be an awesome and exciting process. Their ability to find fish combined with your ability to listen to instruction and execute can turn into successful trips on the water.
A guide will often instruct you to look in a certain direction using time references as if the boat were a clock, with the bow (front) of the boat always being the 12 o’clock. Getting familiar with those directional commands as they relate to the boat will help identify fish faster.
Saltwater Fly Fishing Vs. Freshwater
One key difference between freshwater fish and saltwater fish is that saltwater fish are constantly moving with the change of the tide, seasons, bait locations. Sometimes the fish may only be in a certain spot for a couple hours and a good guide will be on top of that and be able to help you learn how to track these fish movements.
Much of saltwater fly fishing is visual. Looking for signs of moving fish, tailing fishing, or bait fish jumping out of the water in attempts of fleeing a predator fish are all things to key in on.
Another helpful hint is understanding how to determine distance. Out on the flats or in the open water, there will not be a ruler or scale that tells you exactly how far away a piece of structure or school of fish is from you. These fish are constantly moving and will not wait for you to be ready to take a shot at them, so knowing exactly how your guide determines distance will help you be more successful.
You can start by pointing out objects or visible structures and document how far it actually is. Follow that up with making some casts at different distances and determine how far each cast would be. That way when you or the guide spots “redfish at 10 o’ clock, 15 feet,” you are ready to execute.
Saltwater fishing is exciting and challenging. Overall, utilizing a network of saltwater guides will help you speed up your learning curve and develop your saltwater fly fishing skills. Who knows, maybe the relationship you build will turn into a tournament partnership one day.
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