There’s nothing better than sitting back on a fine, sunny afternoon, with a cold beverage in one hand and a fishing rod in the other. Being at one with nature is one of the most natural pleasures we have in this world and what better way to do it than by fishing. There are various forms of fishing and various different baits that people use. One of the most popular styles of fishing that more and more anglers are turning to, however, is saltwater fly-fishing. So you have your saltwater fly rods, fly reels, fly lines, but there is one specific thing you need to ensure you have the perfect set up: the saltwater fly.
For many years, anglers have been led to believe that the more closely a fly looks like the real thing, the more chances there is of the fish taking a bite. Whether this is true or not is still up for debate. Either way, it’s not going to do any harm getting saltwater flies that look like the fish’s natural food source.
Offshore game fish tend to hunt small baitfish such as mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. So any lure with a silver belly and laterals contrasting against a deep-green or blue should do the job nicely. If you’re fishing in shallow water, crabs are usually the favored flavor of most game fish, so be sure to have some crab flies on hand here. When targeting fish that live on the bottom of the sea, such as bonefish, look for saltwater flies that are the same color as the seafloor you’re fishing (i.e. light-colored lures when fishing over sand, and dark-colored lures when fishing over mud).
Shopping for saltwater flies can be an absolute pain in the backside if you don’t know what you’re looking for as there are just so many of them. To help you in your saltwater fly shopping expedition, we’ve put together a list of some of the best on the market that will help you improve your sea fishing:
Hook size: 1/0. You’ll find these saltwater flies in every seasoned fisherman’s tackle box. Developed by legendary fly fisherman, Lefty Kreh, this streamer casts well and is very effective at catching a range of different saltwater fish including Redfish and Striped bass. They are a little more expensive than, say, that of a Clouser Minnow fly but are very effective.
Hook size: Available in 2, 4, 6, and 8. If you’re going to be fishing for carp or bonefish it’s always a good idea to have some Mantis Shrimp flies to hand. These are favored by almost any fish species and are one of the most popular shrimp fly used in and around the USA. All in all, these flies are averagely priced and provide you with a nice selection to add to your tackle box.
Hook size: Available in #1, 1/0, #2, 2/0, 3/0, #4, and #6. Clouser Minnow flies are suitable for catching just about anything. The reason why it's so effective is largely down to its unique design. This fly features an upside-down hook that can scrape along the bottom of the water without the worry of getting snagged on rocks or entangled in seaweed. These are some of the least expensive flies available and can be found just about anywhere.
Hook size: 2. No fishing tackle box would be complete without some of Cathy’s Fleeing Crab in there. These are great for luring all kinds of game fish in as their lifelike look trigger the fish’s predatory nature. These flies have particularly flexible legs that look so real the fish just cannot resist. You will pay a little more for these flies than many others on the market but they’re of really good quality and highly effective.
Hook size: Available in #2, #4, #6, and #8. Another of the most popular saltwater fly is the bonefish gotcha. These are really cheap to buy and can be bought pretty much anywhere that sells tackle. They are the number one choice for anyone fishing for some quality bonefish. It’s simple yet realistic design works wonders.
Hook size: 1/0. Not for the faint-hearted, this is one of the more expensive flies on the market, but it’s also one of the best. It has an all-hackle pattern that works very well in shallow waters as its palmered head keeps it buoyant. These saltwater flies come in a variety of colors, usually imitating a crustacean or whitefish.
Hook size: #4, #6, or #10. Another of the cheaper saltwater flies on the market, the popper is a very versatile lure. Its vibrant colors are great for attracting the attention of pike, bass, trout, and more. They’re great for enticing the fish put of water as they make such a noise when they hit the surface.
Hook size: Available in #4, #6, #10, #12, and #14. If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet effective fly that can be used to catch just about anything, why not give these little muddlers a try. These flies are often referred to as pusher flies as they’re ideal for fishing just below the surface of the water or even when dredging through deeper seas.
As you can see there are plenty of saltwater flies to choose from out there. While some are more suited to catching certain kinds of fish, others are pretty versatile and work well with most species. Saltwater flies aren’t particularly expensive and should be seen more as in investment rather than a pointless purchase as can be used time and time again. And, because they don’t cost that much to buy it’s easy to build up a big collection in a short space of time. This will mean that wherever you decide to go fishing, you’ll always be prepared—at least in terms of saltwater flies.