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Saltwater fly fishing for Bass in the UK

Are you an avid fly angler and want to try your hand at some saltwater fly fishing? Maybe you’ve never picked up a fly rod in your life and are considering it for the first time with saltwater in mind? Whichever it is you are about to embark on one of the most thrilling types of angling that there is!

Fly fishing in saltwater here in the UK isn’t as big as it is in the United states or some other countries but it is an ever growing branch of the sport. For those lucky enough to realise the potential we have in our coastal waters there is some exciting sport to be had once the shoals are tracked down. Bass, Mackerel, Pollock, Garfish, Mullet and a few other species are all very catchable on the fly. The sport these fish provide on fly gear is in my opinion, unrivalled by any other type of fishing in the UK.

I have spent many spring, summer and autumn evenings in pursuit of a variety of saltwater specimens and enjoyed some great sessions, and to be honest of all the different types of fishing I’ve enjoyed over the years, these are definitely the most memorable, and the type I still yearn after the most.

So what is it about saltwater fly fishing that I hold in such high esteem?
For me it is the simplicity of it, the un cluttered nature, the uncertainty, the variety of scenery and ever changing conditions, the challenge and the sheer thrill once contact is made and the ensuing fight….

Let me elaborate.
The simplicity is you, a rod, a reel and a box of flies. No bags, holdalls,chairs, bivvys, seat boxes, buckets and similar encumberments. You can walk free of burden for miles if necessary in search of your quarry without breaking a sweat. You may need a pair of waders and a waistcoat but these items are worn not carried, and therefore are part of your clothing. You are uncluttered by peripheral items.
I rarely even carry a net as most of the time as I am wading and prefer to bring the fish to hand. A small camera and your box of flies and any spare bits such as forceps or spare leaders are carried in your waistcoat. I have tried various sling packs over the years but find it just encourages me to carry more unnecessary items.
One other thing I always carry is a small bottle of water to drink, again this fits in one of my waistcoat pockets.
Uncluttered refers to the terminal tackle, this is simply a fly line, a leader and a fly. There are no other fangled bits and bobs on the line, no weights, nothing. This has the added benefit of allowing a more direct contact with your quarry, there is nothing between you and the fish to detract from the fight and feeling that first pull as they hit your fly, a heart stopping moment if ever there was one!
Of course the challenge is locating the fish in the first place, a subject best left for another article at this time, however location goes hand in hand with enjoying the scenery along the way as well as the ever changing moods of the ocean and the weather. You can never expect to catch from the coast and this is where the uncertainty comes in, you can add up all the clues as to where the fish might be, but there is no guarantee they will turn up when and where you expect them to. In my experience no two tidal events are ever the same, some times the fish will be there one tide and the next gone, leaving you guessing as to where to plan your next assault. The sheer thrill when you do get it right is unrivalled in fishing. The moment that line pulls tight as a fish takes your fly, the missed heart beat, the initial contact of setting the hook and the fraughtness of the ensuing fight, stuff dreams are made of!!

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