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Saltwater Fly Fishing – Offshore & Near Shore


nothing is more exhilarating than
offshore and near shore fly-fishing I love it being out of sight al and big
fish in open water sometimes it’s intimidating but no form of fly-fishing
is more physical and more exciting than offshore and near shore fly-fishing
join us because this is the way this show has been brought to you by
Orvis rod and tackle ontario yours to discover Ontario’s Algoma region where
Huron and superior meet if you think it’s daunting fishing close
to shore in shallow water imagine what it’s like when you’re miles from land in
shallow water you’ve got structure you’ve got fires you’ve got points you
got rocks you got weed beds offshore you have none of these things so it’s a
whole different ballgame luckily there are things that tip you after the
presence of game fish offshore to help narrow it down of course a knowledgeable
captain is critical as they always know where fish are expected to make an
appearance but if you’re in your own boat you can still narrow the odds I
asked my friend captain Mike worki to explain rips and why they hold fish Mike
we’ve got a rip out here so what what why are the fish here how’s a rip form
and why are the fish here and where do you look around a rip
right now we’re fishing in about 53 feet of water and behind us here we have a
rip and the rocks come up three four feet and the water is coming in so the
waters rushing up over the over the rocks
creating a rip and we get rough water right right through here and these fish
were just setting up on downside of that and all the sand eels come up over that
bar these fish are setting up in this and it’s a little bit deeper water
hitting the sand eels as they’re on the surface rips tell you a food-rich bit of
shallow water is present which creates a place where squid shrimp and especially
bait fish get trapped where game fish can corral them and pick them off so
look for fish feeding anywhere along a rip or just try casting there because
it’s a high percentage spot and otherwise open water birds are also a
tip-off to feeding fish when game fish push baitfish up against the surface in
open water Birds quickly spot them and pick off wounded bait fish and those
swimming just under the surface watch for birds that suddenly wheel and change
direction and when they begin diving to the water
you know game fish are not far away in general the bigger the bird the bigger
the bait fish so if only turns are working the bait fish the prey are
probably small and if gulls join the party
you can suspect that bigger bait fish are squid you got this in it’s time for
a beer even when you know Fisher in the area
sometimes you need to narrow the odds even more because the fish might be
roving wide areas and you can only effectively cover a circle of about 70
feet around a boat with a fly rod one way to get close to fish is to run and
gun chasing schools of fish breaking the surface but you got to be careful to
stay outside of the school of feeding fish because if you run a boat right
over a school of feeding fish they’ll go deep and then feed somewhere else or you
have to bring the fish closer to the boat
you can Chum with live or dead bait fish crabs or shrimp either whole fish or
cut-up fish are thrown off the stern of the boat to attract fish that might not
normally get into casting range so what we’re doing here is we’re chumming for
these fish we’ve got some tuna over here some skipjacks maybe some yellow fins
and we’re coming off the stern of the boat and I’ve got a big white fly and
I’m just kind of letting it dead drift in the Chum and hopefully a tuna will
come by and grab it I’m just gradually letting line out
Jason Franklin and Greg Vincent have done a lot of this tuna fishing here off
Grand Bahama Island and they found that this is the best way to do with a
floating line and just a dead drifted fly in the jump not stripped unless the
fish actually come up and start busting yeah typically the flies allowed to sink
naturally without any added motion but sometimes fishing a Chum slick can be
caught on poppers which is a lot more fun some people don’t like to fish in
Chum slicks but it’s hard to argue with the results another method which is as
exciting for the helper as the angler is to tease the fish closer to the boat by
casting a hookless plug when the plug gets close to the boat the helper Yanks
the plug from the water and the fly caster casts in the same spot it looks
easy but it requires precise timing and pinpoint casting in offshore fly fishing
as with any other kind of salt fly-fishing you want to experiment with
retrieves and it’s probably best to start with a rapid retrieve because the
big fish are chasing bait fish they’re chasing squid and those things are
really booking they’re trying to get out of there and they got nowhere to hide
except using their speed so start with a fast retrieve try a slow one if that
doesn’t work try an erratic one but you got experiment with all different kinds
of retrieves before you crack the code sorry Zack try both a conventional strip
in the hand over hand retrieve into a stripping basket each gives different
actions to the fly from a boat it’s even more important to keep that rod tip low
or in the water because you’re further above the water than if you were waiting
and the strip strike is essential being so far above the water the hooking angle
is really compromised if you raise the rod tip to strike when you’re offshore
in a boat you want to use a heavier fly rod a 9 10 11 or 12 you need the muscle
you need the butt section of that rod to fight a fish when it gets close to boat
if it sounds you need to be able to lift the fish and you also need a heavier
line you want that 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 weight line because you’re throwing
bigger flies generally offshore and you almost always have wind so 9 10 11 12
and 8 weight is a little risky once you get offshore really want a bigger reel
when you’re off shore fly fishing you need a strong drag because these fish
can go a long way and you need a reel that’s big enough to hold at least 200
yards of backing you need a large arbor reel also because the fish may run at
you and you want to be able to gather that line quickly large arbor reels with
their bigger diameter will bring inline quicker you should also get the best
reel you can afford with the strongest drag system a fast running fish can
literally heat up an inferior drag system so much that the drag surface is
melt and the reel begins to smoke choose your fly rod based on the size of the
fish and the size of the flies you’ll be using 9 weight is fine for fish up to
about 25 pounds but if you plan on casting a giant popper all day you might
want to choose a heavier 10 or 11 weight line to push that big fly out there 12
weight rods are reserved for fighting very big fish like tarpon and tuna and
fly rods are even made up to a massive 14 weight pool cue which is used for
marlin and other giant fish you can do some fishing one offshore
with a floating line especially when the fish are right at the surface but
sinking lines are actually more versatile for most fishing other than
with poppers so often when you’re fishing a rip you use a sinking line
even though the fish look like they’re on top you want to get down a little bit
below the waves and sometimes the bigger fish are deep so when you’re fishing a
sinking line you want to cast it as far as you can and then strip it back to you
carefully usually fairly rapidly and then you’ve got to come in you’ve got to
come in to about twenty or thirty feet cuz you can’t lift that sinking line off
the water very easily so you can’t try to lift can’t try to lift 40 or 50 feet
and then you make two quick false casts and shoot the line sinking lines go very
well into the wind because they’re dense they shoot into the wind really well
when you’re fishing a sinking line they’re very versatile because if you
start stripping right away the fly only rides about this far below the surface
if you if you wait the line will get deeper and then you can fish down below
sinking lines don’t area lies quite as well as floating lines you want to throw
a little bit more open loop open up your arc and you want a minimum of false
casts so if you can get away with it make one cast and shoot as much line as
you can there are many types of sinking lines
probably the best are full sinking lines which come in various sync rates from an
inch per second to almost 8 inches per second sync rates vary a lot so you
should take the state and sync rates as guidelines only the exact sync rate of
your fly depends on current salinity the line size you’re using and the water
resistance of the fly one of my favorite sinking lines really my go-to line in
saltwater offshore is a depth charge line this line has a very fast sinking
tip with an intermediate weight running line the running line is very thin and
stays close to the surface so you can pick up for another cast and it shoots
really well especially into the wind because the line is very thin and dense
for a given weight if fish are really close to the surface a clear tip line is
often a good choice this kind of line has a clear slow sinking or intermediate
weight tip with floating running line the slow sinking tip gets the line in
flight just below the waves and keeps tension on the line but the floating
line lets you pick up and make a quick cast when you need to if you begin
retrieving immediately you can even fish surface poppers with this line when
you’re fishing a sinking line like this you want to keep your leader short the
reason is that you’re fishing a sinking line to get your fly down and a leader a
long leader like a nine-footer would tend to boy the fly up above the bottom
so to keep the fly riding at the same level as your sinking line keep the
leader short 6 feet or under you can use it you can use a knotless leader a
nodded leader or you can even use a straight piece of say 20 pound
monofilament because you’re not talking about delicacy here you’re talking about
just keeping the fly riding behind the fly line fish are not typically as picky
about flies in open water as they seem to be more opportunistic when ranging in
the open ocean of course if you see bait fish or squid jumping from the water as
fish feet or if a fish you catch spits out some prey you can tell what length
and color they are and that’s the best place to start
remember it’s not the hook size that matters in saltwater flies it’s the
length and that’s why all saltwater flies you see listed in the Orvis
website have both hook size and length stated most saltwater flies incorporate
a lot of white but sometimes it pays to go to a color that’s different than what
the fish are feeding on for instance few things in nature are fluorescent
chartreuse but that’s one of the most productive colors for saltwater flies in
low light black is actually the most visible against the surface so an early
morning late evening and at night black flies are very popular almost as
important as size and saltwater flies is the shape or profile of the fly some
bait fish like sand eels or needle fish are long and skinny some like silver
sides and anchovies are medium bodied and fish like mullet and herring are
very deep bodied it helps to match the profile of the prevalent bait fish when
choosing your fly’s surface flies are a blast in saltwater because you can see
everything that happens and strikes are dramatic Jim I noticed using a loop not on these
flies right right is that what what’s the purpose of using a loop instead of a
clinch now well the clinch na do you have a
straight line and if you’re using 15 to 20 pound mono as your tip it that’s a
fairly stiff tip it so if you’re tying a clinch line you’ve got a straight line
to the loop of the hook and it doesn’t allow the flight to have that much
action if you use the loop nut as you’ve gotten here you know when you pause that
fly on your retrieve the current the wind or whatever will move that one day
yes right so it gives it more swing if you will and I think it’s the most
effective not to use okay and you use the non-slip mono loop right as your
loop knot that’s right Rich’s overhand knot through the eye
back through the overhand five times around exactly right and frankly I only
turn it around twice on the standing line and then I test it and it works
really okay yeah years of years is more like a home road more like Oh probably
yeah right run oh and that works yeah two times around it’s it’s strong good
yeah it’s heavier yeah heavier line it would
have your line you probably get away with yeah fighting a big fish from a boat fire
offshore takes all your skill and a little luck you never know what might
happen so be prepared for anything the aggressiveness of your strip strike
should depend on the size of the fish and the strength of your tippet for
softer mouthed species like striped bass bluefish or Dorado it doesn’t take much
to set the hook for fish with hard boney mouths like tarpon or tuna it helps to
make a more aggressive strike by combining a long strip with a down in
sideways movement of the butt of the rod for the hard mouth species as long as
they don’t immediately begin a screaming run
many fly fishers give the fish multiple jabs to make sure the hook is set firmly
when your saltwater fly fishing it’s important to keep that rod tip low when
you’re stripping a fly in when you’re striking the fish you have more control
over the line when the rod tip is low when you want to strike a fish it’s just
one long strike one long strip that’s called a strip strike and then once you
feel the fish then you can raise the rod tip and play the fish if you do have
problems with raising the rod tip as you wouldn’t route fishing because it’s a
tough reflex to get out of it it’s perfectly okay to put your rod tip right
down in the water that way you keep that rod too low and you can’t really strip
strike you can’t really raise that rod tip because you’ve got you’ve got
resistance on the rod tip so it really helps you to strip strike drag should be
set and tested before you start fishing because trying to adjust a drag setting
when a fish is running can often result in a loss fish when you suddenly put too
much pressure on the fish once a fish reaches the end of its run begin to
apply as much pressure as you dare to turn it
the bigger the fish the more pressure you should apply and the pressure should
be constant as long as the fish is not running if a fish gets a chance to rest
it’ll only prolong the fight and risk not being able to revive the fish but a
fish is right below the boat like this you want to try to keep that rod from
gumming above your waist so you want to give a quick lift and then reel and then
a quick lift and then reel and never bring that rod up too high so fly rod
just isn’t meant when a fish is right under the boat to be brought right up
here over your head another thing you shouldn’t do when
fighting a decent-sized fish like this that we all do we should is to put your
hand on the rod here to get extra leverage because a fly rod isn’t meant
to be flexed from here it’s meant to be flexed all the way down into the handle
and we all do it but you should because you can break her out that way once a
fish gets close to the boat use side pressure to turn it the fish will go
wherever you point its head keep the fish off balance and you’ll tire it
quicker when you switch the rod from side to side do it slowly and smoothly
otherwise you might introduce slack in the line and lose the fish for fish that
frequently jumped like tarpon barracuda or mako sharks always bow to the fish
when it jumps lower the rod tip quickly and point it at the fish to introduce
slack into the line if a big fish lands on a tight line or leader there’s a good
chance the leader will break oh you put on that you put on that little dog yeah
I put on a little surf candy caught this fish on a very small very small baitfish
I mean talk about you know big fish big fly but sometimes just a little that’s
the kind of bait fish he’s eating it’s no different releasing a fish offshore
as it is in any other place except you don’t want to hang too far over the side
gently revived a fish you intend to release until it can take off under its
own power you know it’s rare to have a day off shore without some wind
so let’s visit Pete quit sir for some timely tips on casting big flies in the
wind hi I’m Pete cutter from the Orbitz fly fishing schools today we’re going to
talk about casting and windy conditions but there are some things we can do to
help deal with that wind a wind coming at you a wind coming at your nan casting
shoulder went coming at your casting shoulder or behind you there are
different casts we can do for each one of these situations
let’s start off with a wind coming directly at you a wind coming straight
at you is not the worst wind to deal with there’s a couple things we can do
the first is make a low angle cast and get below the wind if we can send that
fly out underneath the wind we can deliver that fly to our target watch
shorebirds when they’re flying around at the beach they almost fly between the
waves there’s a lot less wind down low another option is to make a high angle
back cast and drive that fly down through the wind down to the water you
don’t get the best presentation when you’re making that cast but it can help
deal with those windy conditions when you’re dealing with a wind coming at
your non casting shoulder I’m right-handed so if that wind was blowing
out my left shoulder what I might have to do is compensate for that wind a
little bit I can send that fly a little bit more to
the left of that target and hopefully that wind will blow it on track or just
like with that wind coming at me I can cast below the wind making that low
angle cast and getting that fly out to target if I have a win blowing at my
back that wind can be a little more difficult than you think you want to
make a low angle back cast and get that line underneath the wind make sure that
line gets out nice and straight then we can make that higher angle forward cast
the cast almost looks a little bit like an oval we’re gonna make a low back cast
bring the rod tip up than a high forward cast to deliver that fly out to our
target the worst one you can deal with is a wind blowing at your casting
shoulder when you’re dealing with that wind that can in some cases blow that
fly right into you hooking yourself I fucked myself in the neck in the ear in
the back even in the rear end it’s not very comfortable so there’s a couple
techniques one technique is actually taking that rod tip and angling it over
your left hand shoulder make a high angle cast
and get that line off your shoulder above you one friend used to describe it
as combing your hair comb your hair and that’s going to keep that fly off of
that left shoulder another technique is to switch hands practice casting with
your non-dominant hand I practice all the time and it really does help in
those windy conditions but perhaps the easiest technique to deal with those
windy conditions at your casting shoulder is to simply turn your back to
the wind and make a back cast delivering that fly to the fish that’s going to
keep that fly well away from you keep you nice and safe and help you
catch more fish I really love the visceral aspect of
fishing offshore for the big fish it’s always intense like stuff happens so
fast and often much of the fishing is visual which really adds a lot to it if
you crave really big fish on your fly rod and want to test your wits and your
muscles with the biggest and fastest fish you can catch on a fly run then hop
on a boat and get offshore this show has been brought to you by Orvis rotten
tackle Ontario yours to discover Ontario’s al coma region where Huron and
severe me you

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