"What really is the difference between a 3, 4 or 5wt rod if you are throwing small flies. Not much! Sometimes I just grab a rod out of the back of my vehicle and make it work." - Anonymous
Very Low TideI break down saltwater fly fishing into four different venues: Boat fishing ( I don't own a boat so I am at the mercy of a few good folks who have let me tag along), Surf fishing, which can be overwhelming but very rewarding, Tidal river fishing and by this I mean BIG water and then my favorite which is striper hunting an estuary.
The Ogunquit River was my first exposure to this type of fishing which is almost totally controlled by the tides. At low tide this 1/4 mile wide river would become a 1/4 mile wide mud flat with a tiny trickle connecting some stillwater tidal pools on it's way to the sea. There were schoolies in these pools that appeared to be left there with the shrinking tide. There were many and they chased every fly that I threw at them. Then the tide began to roll in and the bass began to do the "bonefish" thing by routing through the mud with their tails in the air. Soon the tide really came in and wading became a little too funky (thank you jet skis). I repeated this routine for four more mornings from 4am to about 8 as the family slept in and then a few casts in the evening. The rest of the day was spent with them. We were all happy!!!
I've been plying my trade on some NH estuaries with so-so results. Some claim great success and some claim "no runs, no hits, no errors". I'm in the middle (so far)!!
My 8wt Friend
The rod that I've used for stripers is a two piece 9 foot 8wt that I bought back in 1994 on the cheap!!! I didn't want to spend big bucks if I then realized that I didn't really like saltwater fly fishing. But I really did like it and the $60 rod has caught 100's and 100's of stripers and bluefish. I did get an 8wt 4pc for Florida (fits in the overhead) but my old friend is what I bring to the salt in New England. Yes, I'm in the Jack Gartside camp when it comes to fly fishing or I'm just a frugal Yankee who thinks it is disingenuous to complain about the price of gas while casting a $1000 fly rod.