ARE YOU READY FOR SALTWATER FLY SEASON?
By Abbie Schuster
Birds are chirping, days are longer, water temps are getting warmer… The awaited saltwater fly season is right around the corner! We have already seen bait fish in the water here on Martha’s Vineyard, so now is the time to get ready and gear up so you are ready to go when the fish arrive!
Here are 5 tips, gear reviews &
tricks to get you all set & stoked!
1. Check that reel
I mean, really check it. There is nothing worse than landing your first big fish of the season and realizing your backing is a mess from the last albie you caught in the fall. If you have not changed your backing in the last 3 years, I recommend replacing it. Each reel is different on how much backing is needed, so please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Our favorite backing is Hatch Dacron because you can use it for years without worry. It can fight the biggest fish with no stress!
2. Examining your line
Personally, I’m partial to intermediate line because I think it is the most versatile. Eventually, you will want to get another spool so you can have sinking and/or floating at the ready. If you are focusing on the flats, I prefer a floating line, but you can get away with intermediate. If you are fishing the rips, intermediate line is a good place to start. However, if the current is really cranking you will want to put on that sinking line . When the current is moving too quickly your line will not have time to get below the surface into that top water column, sinking line will help greatly with that. I use Scientific Anglers Sonar lines.
3. Clean your line
If your line is in good condition, you should still clean it. For something that is always in the water, it is actually incredible how dirty line can get. Cleaning your line will allow you to cast more accurately and longer. We use Cortland Fly Line Cleaner, which will give your line a longer life. I replace my line a few times a season because I am guiding everyday, but normally every year or 2 is a good time to replace. Good and clean line makes all the difference in your cast and chances at nice fish! If you don’t know how to clean your line or it’s your first time, come by the shop and I will happily help show you.
4. Organize your fly box and stock up
In the beginning of the season we’re using clousars, sandeel patterns and Squid! Squid are my absolute favorite fly to fish with because the bass go crazy for them and it is so visual. You will see bass surfing the waves in pursuit for a squid. Red and purple squid work very well, as well as pink. My general rule of thumb is if it is a cloudy day or early/late, use a darker or deeper color. If it is bright and sunny, go for that white or light pink squid. One hand jerky strip work well, making your fly appear alive. Bass are aggressive. Make them want that fly! For the flats we are using clousars, specifically tan, white and crabs patterns. I have seen even the pickiest of bass turn around to chase a crab. We have some awesome squid and crab patterns for you in the shop right now, tied by MV local talent! For schoolies, 8 weight rods are perfect. As the bigger bass and blues start to push through you may want to pull out that 9 weight. The Thomas and Thomas Exocett is our go to rod for the season. It still has enough backbone to cast in the wind, but enough finesse to land a fly quietly at a spooky striper on the flats. It loads quickly and makes casting long seem effortless. If you’re interested in trying before you buy, come by the shop to check out one of our rods.
5. Practice Casting
Lastly, get out and get casting! Take your set up outside and brush off those cobwebs. If you are on island, stop by the shop for a casting lesson! We are now also offering weekly group casting lessons every Thursday from 6-7pm. Everyone benefits from casting lessons and practice from beginners to experts. The beauty and bummer about fly fishing is it can never truly be mastered! The most important thing is to have fun doing it, and I find that the more confident you feel in your casting the better time you’ll have out on the water.