5 Things You Must Have to Saltwater Fly Fish

5 Things You Must Have to Saltwater Fly Fish

If you’re a freshwater fly fisherman who is looking to expand their horizons into saltwater fly fishing figuring out where to start can be daunting. Don’t worry, we’re here to break down some of the bare bones essentials you need to get out and succeed in a saltwater fishery. 

1. The Right Rod and Reel

While you could bring your 5 weight out to the shore and fish, you’re going to have a really bad time for a few reasons.

First, a 5 weight trout rod is going to be harder to cast at distance. Even relatively calm days fishing saltwater can bring steady winds and weather. An 8 or 9 weight will help you cut through the wind and elements and get your fly where it needs to be.

Second, many freshwater reels aren’t built for the added wear and corrosion that comes with saltwater. If you don’t have a fully sealed drag on your reel, you may want to look into buying a reel just for the salt, otherwise you might end up with some rust or other premature wear on your trout setup. 

Third, if you get into a big fish, you want the extra backbone a heavier rod will provide. The extra umph, combined with a heavier leader, will allow you to play fish quickly and get them to hand before they can spit the hook. 

2. A Stripping Basket

Stripping baskets come in all shapes and sizes. From foam, to hard plastic, to a mesh bag, you can find something that will fit your budget, but you need something or you’re going to have a bad time. 

You might be able to get away without using a stripping basket if you’re fishing floating line, but you’re going to be disappointed if you try using an intermediate or sinking line without one. The tangles and problems caused when casting will have you wondering why people find saltwater fly fishing any fun at all. 

3. Intermediate Line

Picking which type of line to use is very dependent on where you’re fishing and how the fish are reacting. That being said, if you’re only going to plunk down the money on one line for that new 9 weight rod and reel you just bought, you’re going to want to go with an intermediate line. 

I love my Orvis Intermediate line for the price and performance, but there are tons of different options out there. Experiment with a few lines and find out which is best for your rod. 

4. A Mix of Flies

The good news about saltwater fly fishing is you can get in the game and catch big fish with a just a few flies. Stock your box with some clouser minnows, Lefty’s Deceivers, and gurgles or poppers and you’ll be able to target just about any species you can imagine. A local fly shop will be able to dial in specific colors and sizes for your location and time of year. 

5. Knowledge of Tides

Finally, you need a basic understanding of how tides work and plan accordingly. In most places, saltwater fishing is best when water is moving either in or out of an area. Striped bass, for instance, love choke points, much like trout, where they can sit and feed under a conveyor belt of food. If you find an area like this, once you understand where the fish are on what tide, you’ll be bringing saltwater fish to hand in no time. 

So what are you waiting for? Get out there, get your first striped bass and then come back and grab a t-shirt or sticker to show just how much addicted to saltwater fly fishing you’ve become. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.