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Saltwater Fly Fishing Tips & Tricks

By Cathy Beck


In over 25 years of hosting trips for Frontiers, Barry and I have seen it all. For our clients, having us along gives them assurance that in most instances we can help. We’ll tie on their shock tippet, suggest flies, and loan them a rod or reel or line should they have a malfunction. Starting out properly prepared will give you a much better chance of having a successful day on the water. Below are ten of the most common mistakes anglers make in saltwater fly fishing.

1. Lifting the rod to set the hook instead of using a strip set. This is by far the hardest transition for a trout fisherman to make when he comes to salt water. It is critical to set the hook by pulling back with the line hand instead of lifting the rod tip. These fish are going to come down on the fly and lifting to set the hook pulls the fly away. Also, when you lift the rod tip you pull the fly out of the water. Often the fish will still look for the fly and if you strip set and miss, he will come after the fly again because it stays in front of the fish.

2. Become efficient with your double haul. No, you won’t need it on every cast, but when you do you’ll be glad you can double haul. There is almost always wind on the flats and you’re often making a long cast and turning over a heavy fly in seconds. The angler that can quickly, effectively, and accurately make the cast will have better chances at landing fish. The fish are always moving in saltwater, they don’t stand still and the sooner you can get the fly to them without them seeing you or the boat, the better your chances are of catching them. Most people aren’t hauling correctly and they don’t gain line speed in the cast. Sadly, most of them don’t know it.