St. Petersburg Times

Saltwater Fly-Fishing 101

Times graphic: Michael Guillen and Terry Tomlin

Fly-fishing enthusiasts can trace their lineage to the time of Christ. The ancient Macedonians were catching trout on artificial flies while the apostles were throwing their nets on the Sea of Galilee. The first book on the subject, Treatyse of Fysshynge With an Angle, published in 1496, mentioned 12 flies, six of which are still in use. Yet despite its rich history, fly-rodding, especially in salt water, is still considered an oddity in some fishing circles. But it need not be. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

1. The speed of the rod is determined by the flex of the tip. This often determines how expensive the rod is. The quicker the rod can flex back to its original form, the more energy is exerted in the cast.

2. The most versatile rod is 8-weight and 9-feet long. This can be the most costly tool when considering fly-fishing.

3. The reel’s primary purposes are to retrieve and hold line when not in use. There are several types to consider when buying.

4. A log book benefits both the seasoned veteran and beginner. Keeping track of locations, time of day, responses from fish and lures used are a good way to improve your catch and prepare for your next trip.

5. Anglers must choose between floating and sinking line. Floating is better for beginners because it’s easier to pick up off the water and subsequently cast. Advanced fly casters often prefer sinking line.

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