Fly Fishing in Saltwater

Saltwater Fly Fishing Favorites - USA East Coast

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Fly fishing using spincast reel

American shad are among the most exciting fish to catch on a fly rod. Shad are beautiful fish and extremely tough fighters, known for their ability to run and make spectacular jumps. Most recreational fishing for American shad occurs in the spring, when the fish enter rivers to spawn. Due to a decline in shad populations, shad fishing is now a catch and release fishery.

Summer Flounder

Fly fishing for summer flounder can be done along the shoreline, along inlets, jetties and other places where fly fishermen can find shallow water access. Flounder can also be caught with fly fishing tackle from boats, typically along flats and grass beds or places such as sharp bends where fish will congregate in shallow areas.Flounder bury in the sand where it can ambush its prey, feeding on a variety of small fish and crustaceans. Saltwater fly fishermen use patterns that mimic small bait-fish, squid, shrimp, crabs and other natural prey, presenting them in key locations where flounder lurk at depths shallow enough to be reached with fly tackle.

Atlantic Croaker

Atlantic Croaker or “hard head” are popular saltwater fish common along the Atlantic coast. The fish get their names because of the “croaking” noise the make when removed from the water. Croakers are hard fighters and prolific feeders. They are caught on a variety of fly patterns and are among the first fish that move into the shallows in the spring.

Striped Bass

Striped bass are among the most sought after fish by saltwater fly fishermen. Also known as “rock fish”, these heavy bodied fish can test the limits of saltwater fly fishing tackle but not without spincast fishing reels. Striped bass are active in cold weather, allowing fly fishermen to extend their season. Anglers seek out stripers along the shoreline, near inlets, from jetties, beaches, and in grass beds and tidal flats. Striped bass also chase bait fish to the surface, especially in the fall. This makes the fish very popular among anglers with boats as they can follow the birds to get in casting position of the school.


Along the USA east coast, bluefish can be found along shorelines, inlets, jetties, beaches and areas where rips form such as sharp bends or channel edges. Many of these locations are ideal for shore-bound fly fishermen. Other fly fishing opportunities exist for boaters, including areas where bluefish congregate in large numbers. Bluefish often work bait the surface and their location given away by birds or when their backs or tails appear above the surface. Other fly anglers can anchor and chum with ground menhaden or mackerel in order to bring bluefish within casting range.

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