Getting into saltwater fly is a whole new world for most fly fisherman, the idea is the same and the gear is familiar but it all has its own vibe to get your head around. And much like learning freshwater it can be very daunting rocking up to the fly section instore and trying to figure out the basics to get you underway. So here's a quick starting point of three styles of flies that will have you covered for most situations on the water, they're the saltwater equivlants of the Pheasant Tail, the Woolly Bugger and the Royal Wulff.
When asked most saltwater fly guys would say that the clouser would be their “one-fly-for-the-rest-of-your-life” pattern. It’s a basic universal baitfish pattern that has weight built into the head and can come in a whole world of sizes, weights and colour. It’s a solid prospecting pattern that will cover most species and its action can be made to do all sorts of different things depending on how you decide to present and strip it. Static, fast, jerked…whatever gets that particular species fired up is all doable with a humble clouser fly, the pheasant tail of the ocean.
King Tide Piper
We love the piper fly because fish love to eat them, it's really that simple! In the conventional tackle world a piper livie or strayline deadbait is snapper and kingfish candy. Lucas Allen of Kingtide Salt Fly has trialled and tested his pattern over many hours on the water so now that he's done all the hard work getting it nice and deadly we've commercialised it and made it available to you guys. Kingfish will smash them on the retrieve as well as on the hang when mimicking a wounded fish and toss one at a snapper and leave it to sink in its face and see what happens (hint, don't move it in front of the snapper...as much as you want to give it a twitch).
No matter what style you're fishing any surface take is the take we're after so the popper fly is a good option when prospecting likely water or structure. Just throw it up there and rip it back. If there's a fish in the neighbourhood then this is a great way to get its attention. Or, if you see a cruising fish out of casting range then a popper is going to get it to come and have a look and all going well the fish will be charged up and ready to smash it. Vary the way you retrieve depending on what you're observing about the fishes behaviour, a popper can get hit when presented and left like a dry fly or at the other end of the spectrum it might only get interest when stripped in fast using the roly-poly method. Also bear in mind that sometimes all a popper is doing is getting the fish to follow and look but not eat, that might require a change to something else.
Like all fly boxes no doubt over time you’re going to end up with all sorts of weird and wonderful things parked up in there and also much like your freshwater box you’ll have your key favourites in different sizes, weight and colours and we have a feeling it will be these three.