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Planning A Saltwater Fly Fishing Trip

November 29, 2013
Author: Will Rice

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I am a MUCH better person to be around when I have a saltwater trip on the books.  For me, half of the fun about a trip to new and exotic fly fishing locations is the preparation, research and planning that goes into a trip.  Like a brown trout who can feel the winter approaching with the changing of the Aspens, the fall for me means that it is time to get a trip on the calendar. 

Last year around this time I was planning for Honduras and a return trip to Ascension Bay, Mexico. This year, I have my sights set on South Andros Island, Bahamas

Belize tarpon blasting

Whether it is bonefish in Belize, fresh water dorado in Bolivia, a permit mission in Mexico or monster migratory tarpon in Southern Florida, the prospect of having a saltwater adventure lined up for 2014 is something every fly angler should try to explore. Most international destination fishing adventures fall into two camps: all-inclusive guided trips or do-it-yourself excursions. Both approaches to piscatorial exploration have their advantages – pros and cons that can be weighed based on your situation. 

Bonefish close up

Visiting a lodge or taking a guided trip will almost always lead to a more productive experience for the angler who is new to the location.  On the other hand, a do-it-yourself trip can prove more satisfying, even if the size and numbers are not as great.

A surface blitz in Mexico can be elusive... but when it is on... it is on 

Either way, research is key when taking on a new fishery.

One great resource to use if you are just getting started is Yellow Dog Fly Fishing.  First off, these guys are professionals and are great to work with if you are looking to explore a new destination fishery.  They have a neat tool on their site that let’s you explore fisheries by species as well as by country.  The best thing about Yellow Dog is that they will not work with a lodge or outfitter unless they have fished with them.  This type of personal experience is super important when you are checking out a new destination especially if your time is limited. 

If you are committed to doing all the research, planning and fishing on your own, the internet is another good resource – but go in knowing that you have to take things with a grain of salt.  Here are some questions to ask before you get going:

·       How is the access in and around your international fishery?

·       Can you really fish by yourself, or are you better off in a boat?

·       What about gear? If you break your favorite rod on a big roosterfish, are there any options for getting another rod for the rest of your stay?

·       What about a backup for your backup?

·       Do you know how to tie a shock leader?

·       Is there a spool of wire bite tippet in your box?

·       Can you buy flies from the locals, can you tie your own, or should you just plan to bring down extra boxes of bugs?

Having all the right gear... important

There are a ton of great online resources to help out with research including tide charts, moon phases, recent fishing reports, basic flies and other great information.  A lot of this critical information is just a simple Google search away. The questions are the easy part. Finding those right answers from a credible source is the challenge.

Fishing in the salt can be rough on the hands... and rough on your hooks

You can often find recent postings or fishing reports from travelers who have recently been down or around your target destination. If you can hook up with a fishing geek who is so pumped on his trip that he actually took the time to post information on the web, you've just hit the Encyclopedia Britannica of pre-trip research.  Just make sure you are talking to a reliable source. 

Mahi on the fly

If it is time to plan your winter or spring fly fishing adventure and you are looking for some ideas, let us know. 

Southern FLA permit

The guys at the shop have fished from British Columbia to Southern Chile and most fisheries in between.  We’re happy to get you pointed in the right direction.  Just give us a call at 303.733.1434 or stop by the shop. 

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