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Making the switch from freshwater to saltwater


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#1 bass master

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 06:50 PM

That's basically my question. I have always fished freshwater all my life. Now I am able to fish saltwater more than freshwater. How big of a deal is it to switch a bench over to saltwater. I'm thinking that my material and thread is all still usable. Looking for some advice or opinions on some must haves and commonly used stuff.  Saltwater fly tying and fly fishing will be new to me. In the past I used a spinning rod and some cut up fish as bait. 



#2 TIER

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 06:57 PM

PM Mark Knapp. He'll give you some tips. All I know is you need a lot of weight. I would be able to help more if you tell me where you're at and what you're tageting.


1. The captain is always right

2. It's the deckhand's fault

 

 


#3 utyer

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 08:28 PM

I did the same thing about 8 years ago.  Thread can be heavier, and you will have to use Saltwater hooks that won't rust.  Many of your materials can carry over.  There are primarily 3 or 4 types of patterns you will want  to get started: Baitfish patterns, Shrimp patterns, and Crab Patterns.  I stick with just a few of each.  The Clouser Minnow with different weight bead, brass or lead eyes is a good bet all year.  Shrimp patterns don't need to be fancy,  a few trailing rubber legs and a fuzzy well picked out body will do the trick.  Crab patterns should also be kept simple.  Use ultra chenille for legs and claws, and Egg yarn for forming the bodies.  Look up the Crusha Crab on YouTube.  I also make bodies with just yarn brushed out like a Shenks minnow, but to the sides then trimmed into an oval shape.  

 

For thread, I use Gutermann Bulky Nylon. much less expensive than any fly tying thread, and 1" monofilament.  


"We have met the ememy, and he is us." Pogo by Walt Kelly

#4 Poopdeck

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 08:46 PM

Nothing special needed at all. I have been fishing salt and freshwater for a long time although with every passing year I'm doing less and less salt water. Same materials, same threads, same everything except larger hooks, larger fly boxes and sometimes larger material. As for thread I generally stick to 6/0, 140 and 210 ultra. Tried 3/0 uni and didn't like the bulk of it. I do like to tie my larger salt stuff on a model A style vise that I've owned for 30 some years and use my other vises for the dainty freshwater stuff. Clousers, deceivers, sand eels and any other of the myriad of baitfish patterns out there will do. I also like to tie with brushes so you may want to learn how to make brushes. I find saltwater tying to be exponentially easier because I have no issues with seeing anything or handing the material.

#5 bass master

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 10:02 PM

Thanks for the patterns ideas and thread info utyer and poopdeck I was thinking about that. This is something I am going to change in a few weeks. 

    I also make brushes to. I find it more versatile and can be better choice than chenille at times. 



#6 flytire

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 06:41 AM

figure out the patterns you want to tie and buy only the materials you dont already have to tie them

 

no need to buy a new vise, tools, threads etc

 

you may need to buy craft fur and other fancy synthetic hairs for some flies but for the most part use up what you already have


We do it all the time! Get over it!


#7 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 07:09 AM

One specific caution for folks taking up salty tying... Most vises for freshwater tying are not meant for the larger hook sizes salty tyers typically use (and if youre not careful its not hard to break the smaller jaws..

The first thing Id do is contact whoever made your vise to see if they do an optional set of saltwater jaws... If not - you might want to look into a second vise and reserve your existing vice for freshwater tying...

Hope this helps
Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#8 mikemac1

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 07:38 AM

IT DEPENDS on so many variables, target species, type of water, tides, access, etc. IMHO and I get to spend about 20 days each year targeting inshore species in the Tampa Bay region, saltwater flies are much easier to tie than most freshwater trout flies. Saltwater predators feed on baitfish, shrimp, crabs, worms, squid and probably a few other innocuous items, most of which are much larger than a #10 Adams. A well known guide in the Sarasota region has a great recipe for a successful saltwater fly, it must be easy to tie, must be durable and must catch fish. By and large, most saltwater patterns have fewer materials than most trout patterns, are larger and thus easier to tie. Synthetics are paramount here. In my experience, durability is an important factor. Saltwater environments then to be much harsher that freshwater; oyster bars, barnacles, rocks, sharp shell fragments, etc. Additionally, unlike most freshwater environments, you never know what might be on the end of the line. It is not uncommon on the flats of Sarasota and Tampa bay to hook into seatrout, snook, ladyfish, redfish, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, flounder, bluefish or jacks on successive casts. All those come with a different set of choppers that can obliterate a poorly tied flies.

On the issue of weight, I will strongly disagree with @Tier above about lots of weight. Might be required if extreme depth is needed, but unweighted flies cast with sink-tips are far more effective and much more forgiving on fly rods. Additionally, most inshore environments dont have much deep water by comparison to freshwater environments. The average depth of Tampa Bay is only 12 feet at mean tide. Thats a lot of very shallow water over a very large area.

Without knowing WHERE you might be tying for and WHAT you might be targeting, I would recommend three titles you might find useful as you transition to saltwater tying.

Essential Saltwater Flies - Jawororski
Feather Brain - Chicone
101 Favorite Saltwater Flies - Klausmeyer

Although there are certainly many more worthy titles.

Good luck in the SALT

#9 bass master

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 08:37 AM

mickmac1, It seems the bench might not change much. But its very different fishing freshwater than saltwater. I did pick up Frank Wentink Saltwater Fly Tying. Trail and error might be what I'm headed for. And some very interesting comments. 



#10 Swamp Fly

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 10:45 AM

Bass Master,

 

As Tier mentioned, you might want to indicate what kind of saltwater fly fishing you plan to do (inshore, offshore, bigger or smaller game etc). Where you will be fishing can make a huge difference, fishing stripers in in the NE vs sea trout in the SE/Gulf vs surf perch on the West Coast call for different flys and sizes.  Given your forum name, I'd bet you won't have to change much of anything at all except to upgrade to stronger hooks.  I'm not going to weigh in on whether to use corrigible hooks of not, that can be as touchy a subject as barbed vs barbless. You might not even have to add more than a couple of materials if you really do tie for bass.  As far as making the transition to the brine you might want to pick up a copy of Lefty's Fly Fishing in Salt Waters.  IMO it is still as relevant today as the day the 1st edition rolled off the presses.  I cut my teeth with that book so I'm rather biased towards it, but there are many other excellent treatises on the subject out there.  Take a hard look at your rods and reels, particularly the reels.  While it is true you are much more likely to need a good drag than you need with bass, the real issue is corrosion resistance.  Rinse, rinse, rinse, and then rinse some more!  Most folks like a faster rod for trying to punch most of a flyline into a gale force "breeze".  Rod components these days are pretty bulletproof if you rinse them off and also work the reel seat every once in a while to keep it from seizing (my personal worst form of neglect).  If you were hit the salt once a year on vacation no need to buy stuff, but if like you said you will be doing this regularly it may require some upgrades.

 

Swamp



#11 bass master

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 01:04 PM

Swamp Fly, I will be in Tampa Bay. All inshore. Hoping to land some snook.  My rod and reel should be fine, An 8#  graphite willow and cane. Had some big fighting bass on that thing. Also just got a paperback copy of Lefty's Fly Fishing in Salt Waters on Amazon. Thanks for that, Read some of the preview  and should help me out.  



#12 Noahguide

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 06:55 PM

Check out Tampa Bay on the Fly
3625 S Manhattan Ave, Tampa, FL 33629
They run tying sessions and can help with location, time of year, and fly selections.

No affiliation, but stopped in there when I was visiting my son at McDill and they were super.

#13 mikemac1

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 07:11 PM

If you are going to be in the Tampa Bay Area with some favorable low tides and you are shore bound, checkout DeSoto County Park (Pinellas County at the mouth of Tampa Bay). Lots of wadable flats and mangrove shorelines. It is a tremendous fall fishery with good tidal flow and deeper channels. If you have a boat or kayak, there’s even more flats and shorelines than you could fish in a lifetime

#14 agn54

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 09:07 PM

Its not complicated. Ever bass fish? Anything you use for bass can be used for inshore salt very effectively. In fact, most classic inshore lures, jigs, and flies were originally for bass (ex. Rattle traps, Mirrolures, bombers, plastic tail jigs, etc. Same for flies. One of the most popular flies in the salt is a schminnow, which is just a wooly bugger with estaz in place of chenille. If a bass will eat it, so will a snook

#15 tidewaterfly

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 12:27 PM

I tie for both freshwater & salt & as has been said use many of the same styles of flies for both. Primarily the difference is in the hooks used, although sizes, length and profiles can be much larger for some of the saltwater patterns depending on the target species. That means longer, wider hackles, might need to be obtained but otherwise I use many of the same materials & threads for either.