Getting into the art of salt water fly fishing can be a little intimidating at first. The long rods, weird looking reels, floating line, and casting technique can really confuse most people who want to get started. As a professional fly fishing guide and casting instructor, I’m here to tell you its not even close to as hard as it looks!
The first thing to do when getting into saltwater fly fishing is to get a 1 hour casting instruction. This will give you the opportunity to experience the technique of the “Double Haul Cast”, and what it takes to catch salt water fish on the fly. Casting is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to salt water fly fishing, because if your fly can’t get to the fish, then it can be a frustrating day.
After an introduction lesson you will know that it will take some practice to get your cast down, now its time to pick up a beginner setup. The best all around salt water setup is an 8wt, 9 foot fly rod, large arbor reel, 8wt floating line, and 20lb dacron backing. For beginners this may sound foreign, but is the best rod weight for snook, redfish, trout, baby tarpon, and bonefish.
Fly fishing setups are biased on “weights”, the bigger the weight, the bigger the fish, the bigger the flies. For example Tarpon and Cobia you would use a 12wt, reds fish and bonefish would be a 7-9wt, permit would be 9-10wt, large mouth bass would be a 6wt, and small fresh water trout would be a 4-6wt.
At Bay Street Outfitters we offer a selection of beginner setups that you can order from the link below, which includes the rod, line, reel, backing, and fly line. You can find these kind of rods already set up for a decent price between $100-200 Dollars. You can also go to your local fly shop and ask them to set you up with a beginner setup. As you can see when looking at equipment it can be pricey for better rods and reels, so getting a beginner setup is important if your not sure that fly fishing is something you want to do.
Once you have your setup then its time to practice. I recommend spending a few minutes a day in the back yard throwing a piece of yarn at the end of your liter. You tube has quite a few double haul videos that can really help you out on your cast as well. Once you feel comfortable with a 40-60ft cast then its time to hit the water!
You will want to have a 10-20lb liter that is 8-9 feet long for redfish, snook, and bonefish. This liter will connect to the end of your fly line, and be used to tie your fly to. We sell an assortment of redfish and bonefish patterns as well as liters that work in all areas. To save on liters you can learn to tie on tippet or build your own tapered liters.
This is just an intro to fly fishing and should give you some help when making decisions on beginning the sport! There are a lot of terms and information to learn so buying a book on saltwater fly fishing always helps. As a guide and instructor I always enjoy newcomers to the industry and will be glad to help with instruction and guides trips to learn more about fly fishing.
Its a very challenging way to fish which makes it more exciting when watching a fish eat your fly! Get a starter rod, practice your cast, then go out and stick some fish! Once your more into the sport then its time to step up in equipment. The best part about fly rods and reels is that most have a life time warranty, so spending the money is almost like an investment. I hope this will help all you guys and gals wanting to get into the sport and I look forward to seeing you fall in love with salt water fly fishing!
Capt. Owen Plair
Orvis Endorsed Guide