Fly Fishing: Salt Life Isn’t Always Fair

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Bad fly fishing omens. Photo Louis Cahill


Wool socks and thermals on, fleece on top of that, buff raised high on the nose, I battened down the hatches on my final layer of protection, my rain jacket and pants. Wind howling and white caps crashing in the distance, I try to pretend my finger tips aren’t tingling with pain from the bitter cold morning temperatures. As we motor down the canal towards the redfish grounds, with the pier very much still in sight, I already find myself thinking, “Today’s fly fishing is going to suck”.

I’ve spent enough time on the water over the years to know when there’s little hope for fishing success, and I no longer feel obligated to torture myself, hoping for a miracle to happen or spend the day falsely proclaiming to my buddies, all is good. Today, not even the pelicans think it’s worth their time to head out fishing. Their huddled together on the bank with their beaks tucked tight against their chest. They’re noticeably shivering, clearly not happy, and they’ve all somehow found a way to agree it’s a good idea for them to check their egos, in the off chance they can gain some warmth in numbers.

Yesterday, of course, the weather was absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, that beautiful fishing day was spent driving the eight hours down to Delacroix, LA and our fly rods were stowed in their tubes. Why does it always seem to play out this way for me? I’ve been looking forward to heading down south to get my saltwater fix for months, and I’ve even managed to get two of my favorite buddies to accompany me on the trip. We finally get here, and our first day is a total bust, from the horrible weather. What can I say, life in the salt isn’t always fair. That’s at least what I’ve learned as a mountain man and trout fisherman who only finds a couple times a year to head down for some fly fishing in the salt. I always remember to say my pre-trip prayers to the Fish Gods, problem is, my prayers aren’t usually answered.

If your new to fishing in saltwater and you want to fully enjoy your fly fishing adventures in the future, you better get in the habit of going with the flow, and except that fishing days will be lost due to unfavorable weather. My advice, that is, if you’re willing to let me pass it on to you, would be to look at your initial planned trip schedule to the salt, and then always try to add a couple extra days of fishing into your itinerary. Due whatever it takes to make it happen. Work your ass off at work to get ahead, promise to pick up a coworkers shift when you get back so they’ll cover you while your gone if you can. More importantly, before you leave for your fishing trip, take your gal out for an entertaining evening and romantic dinner. Lastly, make damn sure you provide her with a world-class happy ending to the night. That’s how you’ll find a way to squeeze in another day or two for your trip, and it will do wonders in allowing you to keep your spirits up when you’re confronted with shit weather. Furthermore, the extra days will give you more time to get comfortable handling the often tough, saltwater fly fishing conditions, and if you’re fishing without a guide, you’ll have the time to figure out where the fish are located and how to catch them.

That said, I now give you permission to chastise me. Go ahead, kick me in my crown jewels, and tell me I’m a complete fraud, because I wasn’t smart enough to take my own advice during this past redfishing trip to Louisiana. We really could have used another day or two of fly fishing in our schedule, since two of our three days were crap weather. Once again, our time on the road driving back to GA, was spent looking out the window at perfect weather, and that did not feel good. Leaving one day earlier and staying one day longer, I’m pretty confident our time in Louisiana would have turned into a dream fly fishing trip. Remember this when you’re planning your next saltwater fishing adventure.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Fly Fishing: Salt Life Isn’t Always Fair

  1. Truer words were never spoken Kent (except that bit about the happy ending for the lady friends…that night before always seems to dissolve into some tasker that needs to be done before I leave instead of …special attention). I took your advice and booked several days working out of Woodland Plantation (they know how to do it right, the “down time” won’t be as painful I promise). The weather was absolutely gorgeous last September – 65-70 degrees, partly cloudy, southern breeze…total shit for the Bulls. Of course, being new to it I had no idea why. I quickly learned how these glorious conditions meant poo for our specialized attack. We got skunked for 2 days, and finally on the third were halfway rewarded for our efforts. The next 5 days saw deluge after deluge, driving winds, flooding…typical South LA weather, ruining another class that was coming in as we were leaving. Take away: doesn’t much matter the conditions, we love this sport because its NOT easy. It is challenging us at every turn regardless of skill level/experience. Sometimes, you just gotta say that old, dumb adage – “A bad day of fishing beats…” I can’t even bring myself to type it! We find ourselves in some of the most beautiful scapes in the world, sometimes that has to be enough. Thanks for the great stories, advice, and “hang-in-there’s” boyos!

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