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josko 12-22-2008 08:30 PM

Reasons for offshore flyfishing

I need some help with a perspective on offshore fly fishing. I duly carry an offshore fly setup or two on most offshore trips, and perhaps 10% of the time get in on some, sometimes spectacular, fly action. The flyrod typically comes out when weíre surrounded by fish, and itís almost too easy to catch them other ways. Then it seems like a way of handicapping oneself for epically easy conditions.
Now thatís in marked contrast to trouting, where a fly is by ffar the most effective fishing method, and there's real beauty, elegance and skill required.
So the question really boils down to what offshore flyfishing means to folks. It seems kind of inane for it to be just a way for handicapping oneself when it's too easy any other way, but thatís what itís become to me, and Iím not sure I like it.
And itís hard to meet dedicated offshore flyfishers. I did meet a few trophy hunters, folks determined to catch, say, all 6 species of billfish on a fly, or all the tuna species, or whatnot. They are driven, true, but somehow the essence of the sport and their pursuit seems hollow.
If somebody can help me put offshore flyfishing into perspective, Iíd hugely appreciate it.
I seem to have kind of lost my way, motivationally.

JR SPEY 12-23-2008 09:12 AM

My suggestion would be to leave the gear home the next time you go. I do the offshore thing a couple of times each year and have never brought along any gear and won't fish with a captain who would hound me into switching to it. I don't feel I'm handicapping myself at all. I've caught seven sails in one day with three guys total in the boat also fishing. I guess I don't really need to catch more than that in one day. There are days out of Jupiter/Palm Beach when I realize that we might have caught more fish on gear, but caught plenty on fly for my interest. Here we're talking crevalle jack, false albacore, dusky and spinner sharks, occasional shots at amberjack, and even occasionally a dorado. Just leave the gear at home for a trip or two, and I don't think you'll have any further need for others to answer your question for you.

jimS 12-23-2008 11:59 AM

If I read your question correctly, I don't see offshore any different than other venues. Flyfishfing is rewarding if it is practiced to its fullest. While it is an art form, to me, it is all aspects interwined: flytying, rigging, executing the cast, presentation, hookup and proper fighting technique.It can become furstrating under adverse conditions, but sooo rewarding when it all comes together.

jfbasser 12-23-2008 01:15 PM

Josko, I think you are getting older and wiser and "run & gun" is the first thing to go:devil:

striblue 12-24-2008 07:52 PM

JB is right.... I carry my fly rod on board "while Trolling with the out riggers".... if I get one chance at a cast if there are rising I have the rod and line best as I can have it ready... this is off Chatham... now the guys from First Light do make fly rod trips only... but I have not done that..... It is all a matter of some chance... heading out... seeing some action and getting there. Guys with the casting rods or spinning with the big reels have a better chance... but it does happen.... running and gunning is not going to work with 5 squid rigs I never go out ONLY for fly rodding at least in my location.... it can be a long day...but there is always striper and bluefish action...usually heading back to the barn. IMHO

Adrian 12-26-2008 08:56 AM

My sense is that consistent success in blue water flyfishing comes from a committment to the approach. The way the boat is set up - outriggers, live chum etc., along with covering a lot of water looking for signs of breaking fish. That said, there's nothing wrong with going out with bluewater fly gear rigged and ready for the 'bonus' shot. But then it's a game of chance.

Locations are a big factor also. Cabo, Panama, Costa Rica all spring to mind when I think about blue water fly fishing. One of my goals is to get back to Christmas Island and dedicate a couple of days to working the deep waters right at the edge of the reef. I've watched tuna busting on schools of flying fish at sundown within 500ft of the reef edge down there.

Why do we bother? I'm not a big fan of the record seeking crowd. But the challenge of successfuly hooking and releasing blue water fish on fly gear can't be denied, at least for me.

If I felt the need to refuel my enthusiasm, I would go back and re-read Jack Samson and Trey Combe's classics.

juro 12-26-2008 09:08 AM

I've not caught the bug... yet.

At this point the classic line "it was this big" says it all for me. If the fish is about arms wide from tip to tail, it's probably the limit of the size I like to tackle on fly. Steelhead, salmon, tarpon, bones, stripers, mahi mahi, roosters, searun trout, you get the gist.

Now obviously it's a personal preference thing - I would rather not work really hard to land a fish where some people see the extra effort as the fun part.

But in this size range there's plenty of challenge too - I've had my clock cleaned many times by big steelhead on stout gear. Tarpon - just expect to break something. Bones 5lb+ are a nice challenge but those double digit bones are about at the limit of an 8wt's capabilities and a 7wt is really outgunned by such a fish. Stripers frequently bring me deep into the backing and a 9wt is barely enough for cow bass handling, bent to the cork.

But who knows what will happen in 2009 :)

Fin Addiction 01-01-2009 09:49 PM

Well I finally found my way back here. ....I read the site alot and I think Josko needs his head examined....Good god man, you have the best offshore tuna fishing for world class fish in your own backyard. In all the years I have known you I have never seen a whippy stick in your hand east of chatham....
Getting a 100lb bluefin to take feathers takes alot of skill from both angler and captain. I am immensely addicted to I know guys like Sean Mc are as well....
When I have a day off, I get the usual blank faces at the ramp..."Where is your tuna gear".....They dont see the 4 flyrods tucked away under the gunwale cuz that is all I carry on my off days....
If trolling east of chatham has become too easy or too predictable then my suggestion *if your looking for a challenge* is to take the whippy sticks only with a couple other addicts and go partake in one of fly anglings last great adventures...:cool:

juro 01-02-2009 07:10 PM

OK man you got me.... I'm going out with you for BFT in 2009. :D

CSJ60 01-02-2009 11:49 PM

josko... leave the fly rod home, u miss it then u know it's for u...u don't, no big deal. U r one lucky sob - just wish I could have more time on the water. What Jeff said!!!!!

striblue 01-03-2009 05:40 PM

I am not sure , But I think I am sure that is what I said in other words...:)

Fin Addiction 01-03-2009 07:13 PM

John are you on drugs or are you talking in a foreign language///.:smokin:

n1gdo 01-04-2009 08:02 AM


You surely do provoke some interestng discussion.

It must have been all that Tzigani you ate in Addis Ababa !!!
By the way I got holiday greetings from Asmara over the last few weeks from long lost friends

You have perked my interest in the tuna thing... some friends have gotten into it big time and tell me stories of their trips and I will have to join them one of these days.

Still want to meet you on Andros one day.

Stay well

striblue 01-04-2009 04:44 PM

Well, I must be misreading things or not following it....forget it.:smokin:

Casting at Shadows 06-09-2010 06:38 AM

I have been out of West Palm Beach with Scott Hamilton for 4 or 5 days in the last 18 months and we've had great success with the Spinner Sharks. I was with him in April and we had 3 or 4 to the boat in an afternoon. Fly fishing for them is exhilerating and the fight tests you as an angler like no other gear does.

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