Salt, Part 1: The Intro

One distinct advantage we fly fishermen have among other anglers is our versatility. Virtually every sport fish can be targeted on the fly.

As we charter new waters and species, however, our learning curves tend to steepen. That said, persistence is of paramount importance when we expand our repertoires.

I have always been attracted to saltwater ever since I was a young kid. I used to use my grandfather’s old surf-casting setup every time we’d go to the Cape, spending hours at a time casting into the surf in the hopes of enticing a cruising striped bass or bluefish.

Moments like these became the highlights of my year.

That said, I was never very good and mostly just lucky when I pulled these incredible fish from the surf on occasion. It didn’t take long for the salt bug to take hold once I began fly fishing.

As soon as I “mastered” the five weight and could effectively cast without nicking my ears or neck, I began shopping for saltwater fly rods. Between consulting the Internet and friends like Tom Robbins, I was able to gather enough info to get started.

My first outing was a bit of a fiasco.

I had gone out the night before, and, it was bound to be a tough morning to say the least. Despite waking up late, I jumped in the car to drive to the saltwater nearest me. Skunked right off the bat.

Tried two other spots that were recommended to me and ended with still nothing on the board. I had even managed to nick my neck and ears with a Clouser hurled from my shiny new nine-weight.

Hat in hand, I went to the car and reflected on my tactics. I was going to give it one last effort and began driving to my last destination, this time, one that I had identified on my own.

Changing tactics and locations yielded results this time, putting me on my first striper on the fly.

I’m not claiming to be an expert and still am trying to figure out what works best. Persistence paid off for me on my first trip, but, it doesn’t always.

I’ve made a number of mistakes on both tactics and gear, which I hope to help spare any other potential newbies from as I write this mini-series on The Salt.

Stay tuned for “Salt, Part 2: The Gear”!

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9 thoughts on “Salt, Part 1: The Intro

    1. Same. I “fear the gear.” I own more-than-enough freshwater fly rods and fly tying equipment.

      As I’ve told Alex, I’m fearing going down a second Rabbit Hole.

      At least, for now.

      I’ll succumb, eventually.

  1. Exactly the same fear and thoughts. I just started tying saltwater flies so I’m sure I’ll succumb sooner than later!

  2. Different ballgame for sure. One of the biggest differences is that the fish aren’t always there. Good news is that it’s not rocket science and Striped bass can be very predictable. I used to keep a 9 weight on the roof of my truck when I drove the beaches on the cape as a fun option when conditions were right. I’ve thought about doing the same thing at the Canal – wouldn’t that be fun? Might be a great way to lose a fly line and make new friends!

  3. First steps are always tentative but up and running after some basic tactics. For flies always found times nearest slack the best. MarkR

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