Perhaps you’ve caught loads of trout and are able to land a 120-pound tarpon. Perhaps you’re new to fly-fishing, however tropical solar and white-sand flats communicate to you greater than woodsy streams. Heck, possibly you simply want one thing to do on that Christmas journey to the Bahamas. Regardless of the case, finest to know a factor or two about saltwater fly-fishing earlier than you end up staring down a bonefish or tarpon.
Fortunately, Pete Kutzer is right here to assist. He’s been a fly-fishing teacher at Orvis for 17 years, practically half his life, and leads a number of saltwater programs a yr at Orvis-endorsed lodges within the Caribbean. There, he’ll run anglers of various ability ranges by means of the fundamentals of this explicit subgenre after which ship them out for guided days on the water. (For an inventory of upcoming faculties, go right here.)
Throughout a current four-day course at El Pescador, in Belize, Kutzer recognized 5 issues to work on earlier than you hit the flats—and when you’re chasing fins. Learn his recommendation beneath.
Do some “goal observe” earlier than you go
Observe casting into one thing the scale of a hula hoop. Unfold them out within the yard, not good out in entrance of you, and stroll round making an attempt to hit them as shortly as you’ll be able to at completely different distances. Observe completely different casting angles, together with backhand and over-the-shoulder brief. Bear in mind, saltwater is extra about velocity and accuracy than distance. You’ll hear folks say you want to have the ability to solid 80 ft for saltwater, which isn’t true. A 30-foot vary will not be the top of the world, and with 40 ft you’re going to be superb in most locations. However accuracy and a fast draw are paramount.
Grasp your “fishing place”
As soon as your fly is on the market, put that rod tip down—into the water, even. If it’s up, your line hangs down; that’s slack, and it means you’ll be able to’t really feel a factor. I prefer to face the fish, even when, say, my physique’s twisted as a result of I needed to make a backhand shot. I’ll transfer my ft a little bit nearer collectively, so I don’t begin dancing on the deck and doubtlessly stepping on the road.
Resist that temptation to raise the rod while you set the hook
That’s a trout set, and it’s a mistake I at all times make on the primary day of a saltwater journey. For saltwater, you need to strip set. To do this, maintain your rod pointed on the fly in order that the hook penetrates the fish’s mouth. You possibly can’t get away with being to the aspect of it, like you’ll be able to in trout-fishing. The tippet right here is heavier, the hooks are bigger, and it’s a harder-mouthed fish.
Go barefoot on the boat
Or, in the event you don’t need to maintain reapplying sunblock, put on skinny socks. This lets you really feel that line and to know in the event you’re stepping on it. You need to maintain the deck as clear as doable of shoelaces and different line-tangling hazards.
Polarized glasses are an absolute should
For brighter days I put on copper lenses that wrap round a little bit bit, to maintain gentle from coming in from the aspect. In darker circumstances, I put on yellow. Smith makes nice lenses for each circumstances. Do not forget that even with nice polarized glasses, it takes time to get higher at seeing fish. Begin close to your ft and look outward from there. Search for motion, together with on the floor, the place the cadence or route of waves might be a little bit completely different from every thing else round it. I often scan 30 ft out and nearer. It’s superb how distant some guides can spot fish—however even the very best ones can’t see by means of you.