The Best Salt Water Flies for Fly Fishing

The Best Salt Water Flies for Fly Fishing
Saltwater fly fishing is a world unto itself. Flies are often large and cumbersome, but if you want to land a big saltwater fish on the fly, you better have some big flies to throw at them. Don't worry if you're not Lefty Kreh, shooting out 150-foot casts. In many situations only a short cast is required to get to the fish.


Poppers are attention-grabbers. Their splashing and gurgling attract fish best in quiet water. Have a partner tease fish into casting range with a live bait or an artificial plug. When the fish is in casting range, pull the teaser away from the fish and you can cast your popper into the kill zone. A few pops and it's fish on.

Large Patterns

When fish are eating large baits, you need a large fly. Some big flies are over a foot long, with two hooks tied in tandem. These flies are best used with a heavy, sinking line, from a drifting boat. Make a cast and then feed line out to let the fly sink to the bottom. When it's down deep, start bringing it up with quick pulls separated by distinct pauses. If your boat is drifting between one and two knots, don't retrieve the fly. Instead, give it quick pulls and on the pause, let the fly settle back to the bottom. Known as dredging, this is a great way to keep your fly where the fish are.

Clousers and Deceivers

Clousers and deceivers have long profiles that resemble a number of baitfish. The difference between the two flies is that clousers are tied with dumbbell eyes. The added weight of the eyes makes the clouser ideal for prospecting along the bottom. Deceivers are deadly flies, and do their best work in the upper reaches of the water column.

Fly Sources

Orvis and Cabelas offer a good selection of saltwater flies online. Fly tying is popular throughout the United States, and a cottage industry has emerged to satisfy the demand of saltwater fly anglers. These small companies offer their flies at the many off-season saltwater fishing expos that travel the country.

Article Written By Stephen Byrne

Stephen Byrne is a freelance writer with published articles in "Nor'East Saltwater," "Sportfishing" magazine, "Pacific Coast Sportfishing" and "Salt Water Sportsman." As a fishing charter captain, he was also interviewed for a feature in "Field and Stream." Byrne studied environmental science at the State University of New York at Delhi.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.