Fishing the salt –

the wind is always blowing harder than you hoped for, and there is no shelter. The wind is constant and rare is the day we have flat seas. When we are fishing from a boat it is always moving a bit and that will affect the cast. You will have a hard time producing your longest casts in the salt. For this type of fly fishing, you must practice. The flies used in the salt are bigger than trout anglers and salmon anglers use. Some of the poppers we like demand #10 line to cast them. The fish move constantly on their way somewhere, and you need to place the fly ahead of them and intersect their traveling line. You need to cast fast and often far. You get one, tops two, chances to place your fly. You must master the double haul and be able to shoot the line. Keep false casting to an absolute minimum. Line flash can scare and keeping casts horizontal is good. You need to be able to get the line out at least 50′ for the salt, if not practice until you can, and every 10′ after that will double your chances.

Most freshwater fly anglers lack speed and length because they do not need it. When they go fishing in the salt it becomes obvious. Now we luck into hooking saltwater fish. They are not confined in a river with terra firma all around. They have plenty of water to escape into, and I tell you they bolt. These fish are on average bigger and stronger than freshwater species, and harder to subdue. In short saltwater fly fishing is harder than freshwater fly fishing but very exciting and enjoyable.

Fast rods are needed for this type of fishing. You need to have practiced casting one before your saltwater trip, otherwise you will have trouble loading it.

The scenarios

  1.  Crosswind

    • From non-dominant to dominant shoulder – that is the position we want to be in.
    • From dominant to non-dominant shoulder – now the fly can impale us (always wear glasses).
      • Try a sidearm cast (horizontal) that places the fly further from us.
      • Cast from the non-dominant shoulder with arm/rod across the body.
      • Cast with the non-dominant hand.
      • Turn around and deliver the fly on the backcast.
  2. Headwind

    • Aim the backcast higher and the forward cast lower i.e. tilt the trajectory (180 degrees rule) down on the forward cast (high – low)
    • Hauling during the backcast can become superfluous but absolutely vital on the forward cast.
    • Very hard headwind – haul but do not shoot the line into the wind
    • High line speed is imperative and the loops need to be razor-sharp.
  3. Tailwind

    • Aim the backcast straight back into the wind with a sharp loop. That way the line has the most aerodynamic shape. The forward cast can be aimed a bit higher.
    • Open up the loop and let the wind help you on the forward cast
    • Hauling a must on the backcast but is not always needed on the forward cast.
    • An oval cast can be a good solution i.e. sideways back and over the shoulder on the forward cast (Belgian cast).
    • A dynamic roll cast (jump roll)