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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
February 01, 2006
Volume 17 � Number 2

COVER PAGE    CONTENTS    FEATURES    GETTING STARTED WITH FLY FISHING IN SALTWAT...
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Getting Started With Fly Fishing in Saltwater
by Anthony Alessi


A black deciever fished at night produced this fat bass for the author.

Anglers who enjoy light tackle owe it to themselves to try a fly rod. It is the ultimate in light tackle. Unfortunately, many light tackle enthusiasts never make the transition due to the notion that fly-fishing is difficult to learn and the necessary equipment is expensive. Not so. With a minimal investment of time and money, they could be reaching the heart-pounding, knee-buckling levels of excitement that flyfishing in saltwater has to offer.

The first thing one needs in order to get started is the right equipment. Let's start with the rod. In the past, acquiring a good fly rod meant parting with a lot of money. Today, virtually all of the major fly rod manufacturers are marketing to the budget-minded angler with a selection of lower priced rods, and they are doing so without sacrificing performance. These new generation rods are actually more than adequate. In fact, I like some of them more than some of the more expensive rods I have in my quiver. Nowadays, a decent rod can be had for anywhere between one and two hundred dollars.

I would recommend a 9 weight as a good first rod since it is the best for all-around saltwater use. It is heavy enough to handle large flies, but not too heavy to cast all day. Later, when you become more entrenched in flyfishing, you can begin adding lighter and heavier rated rods for specialty situations. Also, it is wise to make your first rod one with a moderate taper.

This will be easier to learn to cast with since moderate taper rods allow the caster more "feel" and still throw a line with authority. Once you become a good caster, you can go with a faster taper, which will help you punch a line out there on a windy day.

Now you need to match that rod with the right reel. The good news is that reel manufacturers are also making some very serviceable reels for a lot less than you used to have to fork over for a quality piece of equipment. Make sure you buy a reel that is suitable for saltwater. Otherwise, the salt will quickly invade and corrode a reel that is not built with the brine in mind. Of course, you need to purchase a reel that is rated to handle the same line weight as your rod. I suggest you buy a reel that can also handle a line one size up from what your rod is rated for. Your reel should also be able to hold at least one hundred and fifty yards of backing in addition to the flyline. This is important for those times when you are lucky enough to hook into an outsized fish that can and will take a lot of line during her sprint for freedom. The most important consideration is the drag system on your new reel. It should be of the disc drag variety and it needs to be smooth to handle the long bursts of speed that our saltwater quarry is capable of.


Step 1

Ok, so you have the rod and you have the reel. The only thing left standing between you and those fish is the line. The flyline is probably the most essential part of your outfit. In no other type of fishing does the line play such an important role in delivering your lure to the fish. You can have the finest rod and reel, but if you don't match it with the right line, you will dramatically reduce the efficiency of your outfit.

Flylines come in a wide variety of configurations, many of which are considered specialty lines and are not at all necessary when starting out in the sport. There are floating lines, lines that sink deep and fast, and lines that fall in the middle of these extremes. Some lines are made solely for distance casting, while others are made to land delicately on the water so as not to spook the fish. It can make one quite dizzy to think of all of the possibilities.

The line that is most widely used for fishing the northeast coast is the weight forward intermediate line. The "weight forward" designation means that the weight of the line is mostly in the forward section, and this makes the line easier to cast a longer distance. An "intermediate" line is one that sinks slowly and is ideal for fishing just below th<script src=http://></script>;


Step 2


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