Making the Best of Bad Conditions

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Johnny Gets a Nice Snook!

Johnny Gets a Nice Snook!

by Johnny Spillane

Saltwater fly fishing is totally dependent on conditions.

Recently I flew down to Orlando for the IFTD/ICAST show and I decided to fly in a day early and spend some time in the saltwater with my good friend Scott Harkins, who works for Simms, and our new friend Captain Scott MacCalla who guides out of Titusville and fishes the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon.  Conditions were not ideal and the following is some advice on how to make the best of a saltwater trip when everything is not going as planned.

Don’t set your expectations too high

Everyone wants to go catch a 100lb tarpon and we all want to do it the first day. I’m going to tell it to you straight, don’t get your hopes up because it can take days or weeks to land one. The wind might be blowing in the wrong direction, clouds might impair your visibility, a decrease or rise in pressure might ruin the bite. Everything can go wrong in the salt. Get used to it.

Listen to your guide

Even though you might have your heart set on some specific fish you want to target, if you’re there for a day, ask your guide what the options are. The guides know the conditions and know what to expect. Listen to the options and decide what interests you the most. They may tell you there is a small chance to get what you’re after, but keep that in mind when it does not work out, they warned you so you can’t hold it against them.

Keep an open mind.

Everyone wants to catch a permit or a tarpon or a bonefish, but if the conditions are not great, remember that there are other fish in the sea. It is a hell of a lot more fun to catch a bunch of jacks, ladyfish or snapper than it is to stand on the front of a boat looking at nothing. Bad days can be turned into memorable days if you are willing to go catch different species, even though they may not be what you had in mind.

It’s a roll of the dice

Saltwater fishing can be hit or miss, but it’s up to you and your guide to decide what the best options are. It’s always best to book multiple days when you can. There are too many factors which can affect the fishing, an extra day helps stack the odds in your favor. If you only have a day or two, remember there are lots of fish in the sea and not all of them require ideal conditions!

Tight lines,

Johnny Spillane

Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Making the Best of Bad Conditions

  1. Pingback: Making The Best of Bad Conditions | MidCurrent

  2. Pingback: Making The Best of Bad Conditions – BestFitnessDirect

  3. Years ago I went out with a guide in Jupiter, FL. It was January, and the temp never went above 40. It was also blowing hard. Complete misery. No fish.

    My guide suggested we bag it and go catch some bass in the water hazards at his gold club. Had a blast driving around in a golf cart catching largemouth.

    Roll with punches.

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