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The Basics Of Saltwater Fly Fishing

Saltwater fly fishing is a discipline that involves many of the same skills as fly fishing in freshwater. However, there are a few differences. The gear you use, the types of flies you employ to lure fish and your decision to use live bait will play a role in your success. This article focuses on how to get started with saltwater fly fishing. We'll briefly explore the rods and reels that experienced saltwater anglers use. We'll also describe a few of the flies used to attract the various species of fish. Finally, we'll provide you with a quick overview of the types of fish that most saltwater anglers catch.

Rods And Reels

Because many fish that are found in salt waters can be large, the rod you use is important. If you're going out for tarpon, you'll be confronting a fish that can reach 150 lbs. Therefore, you'll need a heavier rod. Some anglers who want to catch large fish choose 15wt rods to help them play their catch. That being said, most saltwater anglers will likely be going after smaller prey. A 9-foot rod with a 9wt line will usually suffice.

Because salt water can lead to corrosion, you'll need to invest in a reel that doesn't corrode easily. Keep in mind that if you plan to do your saltwater fishing in places that reach high temperatures, the heat can accelerate the corrosion. Corrosion concerns aside, the reel you use should have a drag system to help resist a fish that's fighting to escape. Plus, the reels should be larger than the reels you use in freshwater fishing. This is due to the heavier line you'll be using and the occasional need to store back up line for larger fish.

Types Of Flies

There are more than 1,000 different flies used for saltwater fishing. There isn't a science to picking the right fly. It's mostly a matter of experience and personal preference. It's important to note that a fly may seem effective for luring and catching fish one day and be completely ineffective the next. There are simply too many factors that impact the likelihood of a fish taking a line to choose a "perfect" fly.

Popular saltwater fishing flies include streamers (with slender bodies), bucktails (made from the tails of white-haired deer) and tarpon flies (designed specifically to catch tarpon in the Florida Keys). Other flies follow patterns based upon the materials used to create them. For example, deerhair pattern flies used deerhair to simulate a baitfish or grasshopper. Wool pattern flies use sheep's wool to look like baitfish.

What Fish Are Found In Saltwater?

While most freshwater anglers focus on trout, salmon and steelhead, saltwalter anglers pursue different fish. These include snook (which tend to take violently and put up a ferocious fight during the play) and redfish (which often move in schools and feed in shallower waters). Other saltwater species include the tarpon (a fish that many anglers consider the ultimate fly fishing catch) and the spotted seatrout (an ideal saltwater fly fishing quarry because of its small weight).

Immersing Yourself In Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater fishing is a unique adventure that's entirely different than freshwater fly fishing. The species of fish are different (as are their sizes). Plus, the equipment used and the environment in which you pursue your prey are different. This type of fishing provides the unique opportunity to catch large fish such as tarpon (an experience you're unlikely to have in freshwater). If you're thinking about getting started with fly fishing, take some time to explore your options in saltwater. After a few rewarding experiences, you may never want to try freshwater.