salt water fly fishing

There are many types of salt water fish to Fly Fish for. You can take a trip to Florida or the Bahamas for Bonefish, Permit, Snook and Tarpon. You can travel to Florida’s east coast near the St. John’s River and fish for 30 pound Red fish. The one thing these species have in common, are they can all be caught on the Flats.

The flats are a very sandy area that shows itself when the tides go out. You can have water from as low as an inch to 26 inches, depending on the contour of the area. Some of these same fish, including Cobia, can be fished for on some of the flats of the Chesapeake. Red fish and even Tarpon have been spotted as far North as this fishery.

In New England, we have been blessed with our own flats off of Cape Cod!  Here, we can fish on the beaches, the back bays, the inlets and the Flats with fantastic success any day of the week between June and October. 

Our target, Striped Bass and Blue Fish!  There is much walking involved to be able to sight fish for these predators, but it is definitely worth it! 

When I was with the Orvis Company, I kept hearing from customers that they could never stay on the bite too long because of the change in the tides. I found another way to fix this.  I have found that this technique works in Cape Cod also.

When I was at the Philadelphia Orvis Location, I ventured out with an idea. How to keep catching Stripers for hours. I started way down at Cape Henlopen. I was there just as the tide was changing and going down.  I started with my casts, first long and then short coming across the waves of the break water.  Within 15 minutes I caught a 15 pound Striper. After being there about 45 minutes, I picked up, got in the car and headed to the next beach going North.  I started with the same repeated casting pattern with the tide there, just starting to get to that same level of dropping as it was at the Cape Henlopen site. I wound up catching 8 Stripers in 25 minutes. I continued with this same routine until I got into New Jersey and made my way to Island State Park. This is a real Hot Spot for Stripers, especially through the migration. I spent the rest of the afternoon fishing here and I caught and landed another 22 Stripers. The average fish was 10 pounds with 5 that were over 20 pounds.  When you think fishing is done, try doing this for your day and you may be pleasantly surprised.  I know I was when I caught a 12 pound Blue Fish!

When you fish for Stripers, there are certain things you will need to have. First, if you are fishing in shallow and clear water conditions, you should have a totally invisible line. Orvis makes a Fly line that is exactly that. You can’t spook these fish or you will be done for the day.  You will also need a 300 to 600 grain weight line to get down in the deep holes in some areas. You will need a good assortment of flies. Your best options are Deceiver’s, Clouser minnows, (best one is chartreuse in most cases), and Sand Eel Flies.

Bite guards are also a good idea in case you run into Blue Fish. A pair of Neoprene waders, at least 3mm for early spring and summer. A breathable wader for summer into fall. I prefer to wear a Flats Booty with either of these waders. It will make it much easier for walking the beaches and the Flat.  Dress warm for early spring. The water will still be in the 40’s.  Whatever you do, spring and summer, use a double sock. The New England waters are cold for quite a few months before the warm up happens.

An Inflatable Life Preserver is recommended. You can’t swim with waders on if you fall into a hole. That is another reason I wear a Flats Booty. No weight on the feet. You don’t want to sink! You want to be able to pull the cord to inflate your life vest quickly. If you go down quick, you may not recover in time.

I watched this happen to someone else’s client when the sand bar gave way from under him.  It also happened to me on a fishing trip to British Columbia. An entire sand bar gave out from 20 feet in front of me up to the area I was standing on. I was fortunate! I was able to jam my Korkers in the side of the drop off and pull myself up and out of the danger zone. Let’s not have this happen to you!

Bring plenty of Fly Line Cleaner. You need to keep your line clean and smooth so you will have no problems to make the long cast.  You need a Polarized Amber Lens and a Yellow polarized Lens. You won’t know what the water conditions will be till you get there.

Some people can strip line off their reel on to the water, pick it up and cast.

I CAN’T!  I don’t think you will be able to either! Please invest in a stripping basket. They are not costly! It will make it so much easier for you to be able to pick up and cast quickly.

The Next and MOST IMPORTANT thing for you to do is, HAVE FUN and CATCH FISH!

When fishing is done for the day, you want to rest and relax for the evening. Here are some links for lodging and restaurants and things to do while you are on the Cape.

  • Complete list of lodging in the area of Chatham, Massachusetts.
  • Cape Cod news, entertainment and things to do.
  • Oncape Lodging around the area of the Cape including Chatham.
  • Searchcapecod Things to do, the tides and there times and more. A complete Cape Cod search engine to locate any thing you want to do.
  • Maas This is the link to get your Salt water Permit to fish in Massachusetts. Please note, if you have a Salt water License from other states, there is reciprocity between Rhode Island and Connecticut with Massachusetts. All the information is on the Web Page for this Link.
  • Monomoyislandferry The Rip Ryder shuttle Ferry is the boat we will use to get to the North or South Monomoy Island area Flats. If the family is with you, you might want to book the Seal Trip for the kids to get up close and personal with the local residents.  The charge for the boat is $25.00 or $30.00 depending on which island we go to.  This charge is not included in my guide rates. 

    Please note that we do not have to go the island if you do not wish to. There are plenty of places in back of the harbors and along the beach to fish.

    Contact person for booking a Rip Ryder shuttle, is Captain Keith Lincoln. Make your reservations as soon as possible for your fishing date. This shuttle is filled quickly during the season.  6 weeks or more is not unusual to book this Shuttle.

    Directions for the shuttle are right on this page! Be sure to copy them for your information. I prefer to meet at the shuttle boat at least a half hour to 45 minutes before launch time. Bring any dietary foods or water that you believe you will need. Small coolers work best with our hiking through the sand. If we all pitch in, we can put everything in a big cooler and take turns walking to our destination.
  • Capecoddiningguide This is a link for every different type food you may want while you are staying on the Cape.
  • Tripadvisor This is the link to my wife and mine favorite breakfast place any where. Fran and Ann’s has been a staple in the community for years. The food is great; the pancakes are fantastic there eggs are super fresh, getting delivered every day.  The people are super friendly and they make you feel like you are home. The only difference is you aren’t cooking! It is a few miles out of town, but it is definitely worth the trip
  • Tidalfish This is a link to one of the best sites I have seen that can update you on anything in the Salt Water for fishing!  Especially STRIPERS! Check it out before you come here on your trip. You might pick up a couple of tips.