Saltwater flyfishing is done with heavier tackle and typically uses wet flies resembling baitfish.
However, saltwater fish can also be caught with "poppers," a surface lure similar to those used for freshwater bass fishing, though much larger. Saltwater species sought and caught with fly tackle include: bonefish, tuna, dorado (mahi-mahi), sailfish, tarpon, striped bass, salmon and marlin. Offshore saltwater species are usually attracted to the fly by "chumming" with small baitfish, or "teasing"
the fish to the boat by trolling a large hookless lure (Billfish are most often caught using this latter method).
Many saltwater species, particularly large, fast and powerful fish,
are not easily slowed down by "palming" the hand on the reel. Instead, a purpose-made saltwater reel for these species
must have a powerful drag system. Furthermore, saltwater reels purpose-made for larger fish must be larger, heavier, and corrosion-resistant
- a typical high-quality saltwater reel costs 500.00 USD or more. Corrosion-resistant equipment is key to durability in all
types of saltwater fishing, regardless of the size and power of the target species.
Saltwater fishing may be done from
shore, such as wading for bonefish or striped bass, or offshore for larger species from boats of varying size. Typically,
most trout fly fisherman need to practice new skills to catch saltwater fish on a fly rod. Ocean fish are usually harder to
catch. They can be extremely spooky, and much larger. Trout fisherman need to practice with at least an 8 weight fly rod and
accurately cast the line 30-90 feet if they are going to have success -- particularly in the flat areas fishing for bonefish,
redfish, permit, tarpon, jacks and more.
Hooks for saltwater flies must also be extremely durable and corrosion resistant.
Most saltwater hooks are made of stainless steel, but the strongest (though less corrosion resistant) hooks are of high-carbon steel. Typically, these hooks vary from size
#8 to #10 for bonefish and smaller nearshore species, to size #3/0 to #5/0 for the larger offshore species.
Fly fishing tackle
Fly fishing tackle comprises the fishing tackle or equipment typically
used by fly anglers. Fly fishing tackle includes:
- A wide variety of Fly rods of different weights, lengths and
material are used to present artificial flies to target species of fish as well as fight and land fish being caught.
wide variety of Fly reels are used to store fly line and provide a braking mechanism (drag) for fighting heavy or fast moving
- A wide variety of general use and specialized fly lines are used to cast artificial flies under a wide variety
of fresh and saltwater conditions.
- Terminal tackle is used to connect the artificial fly to the fly line and allow
the appropriate presentation of the fly to the fish.
- There are a wide variety of accessories--tools, gadgets, clothing
and apparel used by the fly angler for maintenance and preparation of tackle, dealing the fish being caught as well as personal
comfort and safety while fly fishing. Includes fly boxes used to store and carry artificial flies.
Fly rods are typically between 2 m (6.5 ft) long in freshwater fishing and up to 4.5 m (15 ft) long for two-handed
fishing for salmon or steelhead, or in tenkara fishing in small streams. The average rod for fresh and salt water is around 9 feet (2.7 m) in length and weighs from 3
–5 ounces, though a recent trend has been to lighter, shorter rods for fishing smaller streams. Another trend is to longer rods for
small streams. The choice of rod lengths and line weights used varies according to local conditions, types of flies being
cast, and/or personal preference.
When actively fishing, the angler may want to keep the fly line lightly pressed against
the rod handle with the index finger of the casting arm. The free arm is used to pull line from the reel or to retrieve line
from the water. If a fish strikes, the angler can pinch the line with the index finger against the rod handle and lift the
rod tip, setting the hook
In broadest terms, flies are categorized as either imitative or attractive. Imitative flies
resemble natural food items. Attractive flies trigger instinctive strikes by employing a range of characteristics that do
not necessarily mimic prey items. Flies can be fished floating on the surface (dry flies), partially submerged (emergers),
or below the surface (nymphs, streamers, and wet flies). A dry fly is typically thought to represent an insect landing on,
falling on (terrestrials), or emerging from, the water's surface as might a grasshopper, dragonfly, mayfly, ant, beetle, stonefly or caddisfly. Other surface flies include poppers and hair bugs that might resemble mice, frogs, etc. Sub-surface flies are designed to
resemble a wide variety of prey including aquatic insect larvae, nymphs and pupae, baitfish, crayfish, leeches, worms, etc. Wet flies, known as streamers, are generally thought to imitate minnows, leeches or scuds.
Artificial flies, constructed of furs, feathers, and threads bound on a hook were created by anglers to imitate fish prey. The first known
mention of an artificial fly was in 200AD in Macedonia. Most early examples of artificial flies imitated common aquatic insects
and baitfish. Today, artificial flies are tied with a wide variety of natural and synthetic materials (like mylar and rubber) to represent all manner of potential freshwater and saltwater fish prey to include aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, worms, baitfish, vegetation, flesh, spawn, small reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds, etc.
Fly fishing knots
A few knots have become more or less standard for attaching the various parts of the fly lines and backing, etc,
together. A detailed discussion of most of these knots is available in any good book on fly fishing. Some of the knots that
are in most every fly angler's arsenal are: the improved clinch knot which is commonly used to attach the fly to the leader, the overhand slip knot or arbor knot which is used to attach the backing to the spool, the albright knot which can be used to attach the fly line to the backing. A loop can also be put in fly line backing using a bimini twist. Often, a loop is added to the business end of the fly line to facilitate the connection to the leader. This loop may
take one of several forms. It may be formed by creating a loop in the end of the fly line itself or by adding a braided loop
or a loop of monofilament nylon (as in Gray's Loop). Alternatively, a single length of monofilament nylon, or fluorocarbon,
may be tied to the end of the fly line using a nail or tube knot or a needle knot. A loop can then be tied at the end of this monofilament butt length using
a double surgeon's knot or a perfection loop, to which the tapered or untapered leader, also looped using a double surgeon's knot or a perfection loop, may in turn be connected via a loop to loop connection. The use of loop to loop connections between the fly line and the leader provides a quick and convenient way to change
or replace a tapered leader. Many commercially-produced tapered leaders come with a pre-tied loop connection.
create their own tapered leaders using progressively smaller-diameter lengths of monofilament line tied together with the
blood or barrel knot.