Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fly in the Surf

For a number of years I have fished the surf at the nearby beaches with my spinning rigs, and have been successful more often than not.  The one thing about surf fishing is the variety of critters that may be brought up to sand.  I would say “to hand”, but the teeth on most of these fish are quite large and quite sharp.  Recently I’ve been trying my luck with the fly rod.

My first outing was with a 6-weight.  It was the biggest rod I had in my arsenal of two fly rods, but I thought it would work well enough for surfperch.  Well a halibut is not a surfperch.  It was a short 14-inch juvenile, but it pulled me into my backing before I got control of it.  WOW!  What a blast!  Within the hour I nailed its 11-inch sibling, and again it reached the backing.  I decided then and there that I would be a regular with the fly rod, but I wanted something a little bigger for these fighters.

I went on a popular auction website where I found an 8-weight in a decent brand at a price I felt was acceptable for saltwater use.  (I’ve always thoroughly cleaned my equipment after using, but the salt water inevitably wins in the long run, and replacements are the norm.)  When it arrived, along with the reel and line I also purchased, I learned that an 8-weight requires more muscle that I was carrying around, so the practice began.

After a few weeks of work at the casting pond with this big rod, I headed back to the surf where I promptly hooked something big.  I was glad for the heavy rod.  We fought for about 20 minutes before the 15-pound tippet finally broke off.  If I had been using the 6-weight, I believe the rod would have broken first, even with the 10 pound tipped I was using on it.  I don’t know what it was that got away, but like a catfish from days gone by, I want to go back after it.

Since the day of the big one that got away, I’ve been heavily studying about fly-fishing in the surf.  I’ve been to seminars at the local fly-fishing shop.  I’ve read books about how to cast into the trough.  I’ve read books and watched films on reading the water.  I’ve talked to people who fly fish the surf regularly.  When I get back out there, I’ll be ready when the big one strikes again. 

In the years I surf fished with a spinning rig, I had no clue what I was doing.  I can fish fresh water rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, ponds, canals, or mud holes, but I knew zero about the surf, and some days I caught fish and some days I caught sunshine.  Now I’m ready.  Now it’s time to throw some fly line into the salt water.

It has now been over two years since I wrote the words above, and I’ve been back to the surf many times with my fly rod.  There is nothing quite like catching a big salt-water fish on a fly line.  What a ride!

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