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Saltwater Fishing Tips

Published: 20th July 2021 | Author: Marina Gibson

If you are preparing for your first saltwater trip it’s useful to know what you need to practice beforehand. This is because the more efficient your casting is, the more effective you will be at catching fish. You’ll be surprised at how many people pay a few thousand pounds to go on the saltwater trip of a lifetime and don’t know how to double haul. Hopefully these saltwater fishing tips will set you in the right direction.

Ready to chase sailfish.

Saltwater Destinations

Most of the time these saltwater destinations don’t allow for dithering. Your guide will see the fish from the poling station or wading the flats and tell you to (quickly) place your fly in the direction of the shadow that is cruising the drop off, island, structure or flat. 

You will need stealth; you will need casting force and precision. 

These saltwater tips are based on my previous experience and I hope they will help those fishing from a skiff or wading the flats for the first time. 

From a Skiff

If you are fishing from a skiff you’ll need to move quietly, first thing’s first: take off your wading boots. Fish are very sensitive and although they cannot hear your voice above the water, they can feel every single vibration in the water. So, any sudden movement in the boat like the drop of an object or stomping from the bow to the stern can and will alert them. Or, at least make them wary before you’ve even had a chance to make the first cast. 

It’s key to stay quiet while on a skiff.

Line Management

Line management should always be one of your top priorities. Knots and tangle’s can be a nightmare, especially on a boat. That said, they can be easily avoided if you are aware of what’s going on around you every step of the way. When you pull the line off the reel make sure you reverse it. This means that you should make a clearing cast and retrieve it back beside you the right way round. When you are ready the line should be neatly piled next to you in the boat, not outside, as when you cast you will have unneeded drag on the water. Hold the tippet with the fly hanging down by your side whilst you wait for each fish opportunity. 

Manage your line appropriately and it pays off!

The Clock System

Most guides will use the clock system; this is when they tell you that the fish is at 1 o’clock, 40 yards away. Imagine that you have a large clock in front of you but it is lying flat on the bow of the boat. 12 o’clock is straight ahead. Remember, the guide is at 6 o’clock, so don’t cast straight back – if you do, you’ll know about it! The guide will make sure he maneuvers the boat so that you can make the cast.

Marina pursuing a fish on the flats.

Wait for their instructions and always listen to your guide. They’ll tell you things like how fast or slow to strip and sometimes even when to strike and don’t cast at a fish if you can’t see it. It’s also important to keep low when you’re stripping line back because the fish can come all the way up to the boat and the less height you have on the skyline the better. 

It doesn’t get much better.


I use these casts to cope with the wind. You should always make sure you know which direction the wind is coming from!

Double Hauling Breakdown: 

Whatever you do, DO NOT trout set, learn how to and practice the strip set. 

Doubled up.

Want to learn more from Marina? Check out her other articles on the blog!

All photos shot by The Fly Fishing Nation. All photos were shot on a trip with Alphonse Fishing Company, many thanks to them for making it happen!

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