When helping others fish the magical saltwater flats, my two biggest concerns are the weather during the trip, and can the angler cast well enough to get it done. If you’re a beginner, here are a few tips for saltwater fishing.
Tips for Saltwater Fishing from a Guide
The number one thing you can do is practice you casting.
Casting is something you can control and should be seriously focused on. When I help a client plan their first trip to the salt, I spend time talking about what they can expect. Many trout anglers venture to the salt without a knowledge of how the change in venue can be so difficult to adjust to. The more time one spends casting bugs to any fish, the better off you will be on the salt.
Take a lesson from a good casting instructor with saltwater casting experience.
- If you don’t have a fly shop close, look online for casting lessons, or buy a DVD from expert casters like Joan Wulff or Lefty Kreh.
- Learn how to tighten your loops, and learn how to change your rod angle in the wind.
- Learn how to double haul and shoot line.
Be prepared to fight the wind.
You’ll probably be casting from a boat, which may be moving. On top of that, the fish will most likely be moving, and there is a 99% chance that the wind will be blowing. All these variables accompanied by an excited angler and a guide barking out commands in Spanglish add to the challenge of putting the fly in the right spot at the right time.
I have been on trips with first timers and it is common to hear them say, “man things happen fast out here”, or “this wind is killing my cast.” I felt the same way with my first trip to the tropics, and I had been a guide and certified casting instructor. Now with over 20 saltwater trips under my belt, I can change gears and adjust more quickly to the faster paced game.
I live in Idaho and before my trips, I get out the 10 weight and stand in the winter cold and throw line into a stiff wind. This helps me work out the kinks in my casting motion, stretch out and strengthen my shoulder and arm muscles that have been dormant, and it gets me used to the heavier weight rod.
As far as the weather, don’t sweat it, you can’t change it.
Take advice from your Fishing Consultant when booking your fishing trips and go with optimism that you’ll have great fishing conditions. You have no control over the weather, so I don’t waste time worrying about what might be. Prepare for the worst and you’ll have a great time.
One of the best tips for saltwater fishing I’ve ever heard is: “You earn it in the off season.”
Think about it, we spend thousands of dollars to get to amazing fishing destinations. We buy the best fishing gear, tons of great flies, really cool cameras and even drones We do so much preparation with our gear and researching the best locations to fish. And I get it, this is the fun stuff. Practicing in the wind at the park with people watching and wondering if you have lost your mind, isn’t fun.
Many of us neglect the most important piece of equipment we have, our bodies and their ability to make the cast. But when you are on the front of the boat and make the perfect presentation to that elusive permit and feel the line come tight, you will know you earned that fish in the off season.
Tight Lines and best of luck on your next adventure!