Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing’

Choosing Warm or Cold Water Fly Lines

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Choosing Warm or Cold Water Fly Lines

By Captain Charlie Beadon

fly fishing for redfishThis is a good time of the year to compare warm and cold weather fly lines. For years I
did not change out my fly lines as the seasons changed and always wondered why certain lines cast better during the summer or winter. The answer is literally at the core of the line! Fly lines that are designed to be used in tropical climates have a monofilament core while those designed to be used in temperate climates are made up of a multifilament (braided) core. Basically, monofilament is stiffer than braid so in temperatures above roughly 75 degrees mono will hold its rigidity whereas below 75 degrees mono will become too stiff and holds an extreme amount of memory when you strip it off of the reel. Conversely, cold water lines (those with the braided core) work well in cooler temperatures but tend to cast like a limp piece of spaghetti in higher temperatures. For us here in the Lowcountry we have cold winters and hot summers so we need to swap out our winter and summer lines when the air temperature starts to regularly hover above or below 75 degrees. To make things easy most fly line manufacturers designate whether you are purchasing a cold water or tropical line and in many cases will also state at what temperatures their lines will work the best. By changing out your winter and summer lines you will see a dramatic increase in both distance and accuracy…plus a lot less tangles on the deck! Until next time, Keep on Casting!

Captain Charlie Beadon

Fishing Guide for Hilton Head & Beaufort, SC

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor

www.HiltonHeadFishingAdventures.com

www.BeaufortSportFishing.com

charlie@hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

843-592-0897

Fly Fishing Basics

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Saltwater Fly Fishing Basics

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

DSC_1057The fly fishing around the Lowcountry is virtually an all but untapped resource. There are so many opportunities to fly fish for both fresh and saltwater fish here. The ponds are loaded with bluegill, bass, and stripers…all waiting for the right presentation. In the rivers we have trout, redfish, and cobia, all of which can be taken on fly. We also have near shore fly rod opportunities in Spanish mackerel, King mackerel, and shark fishing. Catching a trophy fish on the fly rod can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, and this is a great time of the year to learn about the sport, tie some flies, and brush up on casting.

Fly Rods

Fly rods are classified by their action; a fast action rod will bend mostly at the tip and have a stiff butt section. A slow action rod will flex all the way to the handle, also known as a wet noodle. A medium action rod will be somewhere in between.

Fly rods are sized by weight. For bass you may choose a 5 to 7 weight rod, for most inshore saltwater fishing a 7-9 weight is good, and for larger species you may choose a 10 or even a 12 weight.

A few good brands of fly rods are G-Loomis, Sage, St. Croix, and Temple Fork. All of these rods have an unlimited lifetime warrantee, it doesn’t matter if you break the rod in the car door they will replace it. A good fly rod is worth its weight in gold and I don’t recommend taking the cheap road on this purchase.

The cost of these fly rods will vary from 100 to 600 dollars

Fly Reels

Captain Charlie Beadon - Fishing GuideA few good brands of fly reels are Penn, Orvis, Okuma, and Temple Fork. As with fly rods, a good reel is worth the price you pay.

When you purchase a fly reel you may want to buy a spare spool so that you can load one spool with a floating line and the other with a sinking line.

One of the primary features to look at in a good fly reel is a quality drag system, one that is smooth and adjusts in small increments. Line capacity is another factor to consider, especially in salt water fishing. Choose a reel that can hold at least 200 yards of backing.

In general fly reels can be broken down as being either large or small arbor. Large arbor reels have a larger outside diameter, and are generally desired over the small arbor reels because you can retrieve line faster.

Some fly reels have an anti-reverse feature that allows you to hold onto the handle as a fish takes line. In general, most fly reels are direct drive (aka knuckle busters) in which case you must let go of the handle when the fish takes off on a run.

When you purchase a fly reel you will have to decide weather to have it spooled for left or right hand retrieve. There is no right or wrong here, you have to decide what is most comfortable for you.

The cost of a good fly reel can vary form 130 to 600 dollars.

Backing

The purpose of loading your fly reel with backing is to have line in reserve so that when the fish takes off on a run you don’t run out of line.

When choosing backing you want to match the line test of the backing to the rod and reel that you are setting up. In general load 5-7 weight rods with 15 lb backing, 8-10 weight rods 20 lb backing, and 11-12 weight rods with 30 lb backing. The key is to load the reel with enough backing so not to get spooled.

In most all cases a braided line such as magi-braid or power pro should be used simply because the smaller diameter of these lines allows you to put more line on the reel.

Another good tip is to use a high visibility line so that you can tell where the fish is going. The fish never sees the backing anyhow so the bright color won’t affect the bite.

Changing your backing is also important. You want to change your backing when it gets chalky, frayed, nicked, or every few years.

The cost of backing will range from 10-30 dollars.

Fly Line

IMG_0462The fly line that you choose is very important, because a good quality line will allow you to make a better cast, especially under adverse conditions.

A few brands of quality fly line are Cortland, Orvis, and Scientific Angler. I prefer the Scientific Angler mastery series as a good general fly line.

When purchasing fly line you want to match the line weight to the rod weight (i.e. 10 weight rods need a 10 weight line) The reason for this is that if you put a smaller line on a larger rod the rod won’t load when casting and vice versa a larger line on a smaller rod will overload the rod.

Fly lines are classified as either floating or sinking lines. Floating lines float and sinking lines sink…I hope that everybody got that part. In most cases floating lines are used, but in more specialized cases different sinking lines can be used to place the fly in different depths.

Try to choose a line that is hard or stiff (this is why I like the Scientific Angler lines) because they tend not to sag in the rod guides and create less friction.

All fly lines have a taper; they start thin, gradually get thick in the middle and thin out again near the business end. This taper or extra weight is what loads the rod and ultimately makes the cast. There are a whole host of different tapers for different applications. In general a good weight forward fly line is acceptable.

The cost of most quality fly lines will range in price from 50 – 70 dollars.

I’ve mentioned cost for everything because fly fishing equipment is not cheap. If you add up the cost of the rod, reel, backing, and the line you could spend anywhere from 290 to 1300 dollars for a quality fly fishing system. This can get especially expensive if you plan to buy several rod combos for different fishing applications. On the other hand however, most fly fisherman view their fly rods as their most prized of fishing gear, passing these items down as family heir looms. I would suggest starting with a good combination 8 weight fly rod at the lower cost end and then if you really enjoy the sport step up the quality of your equipment.

Leader Construction

fly fishing for speckled trout out of beaufort and hilton headA clear monofilament leader section is always used to attach the fly to the fly line. This leader is usually between 7 and 11 feet long. I usually use a 9 foot leader because it is easy to measure using your 9 foot fly rod.

To attach the leader to the fly line use a stiff piece of heavy mono that is about 12 inches in length. Simply use a nail knot to make the leader to fly line union, and a loop knot at the other end. All subsequent leader to leader junctions can then be made with loop to loop connections.

Different leaders can be tied for different applications. Most leader systems consist of a line class tippet and a bite tippet; and for the true purest, IGFA leaders can be constructed. The nice thing about leader sections is that you can tie them at home on a rainy day, and interchange them quickly using the loop to loop connections while fishing.

Flies

There are many different fly patterns and it takes years to develop a tackle box that has all of the flies that you may use. Many fly fisherman won’t buy flies…as fun as fly fishing is fly tying can be equally rewarding.

Once you have a few good patterns to build on you can go virtually anywhere with this sport…I must warn you however fly fishing tends to be rather addictive and once you get the basics down you may never pick up a bait rod again.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

Saltwater Fly Tying Basics

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Fly Tying Basics

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

One of the most relaxing ways to spend the day (other than fishing) is preparing to go fishing, and there is no better way to do this than tying flies. We’re going to focus primarily on tying bass and saltwater flies. These flies are a lot of fun to tie because of their presence, colors and flash. Moreover, you can use them to fish with…who would have thought that fish would eat a bunch of chicken feather tied to the end of a hook.

First let’s look at the tools of the trade. The base tools that you will need are a vice, bobbin, scissors and a hair packer. The vice is used to hold the hook in place while you work. The bobbin holds your thread and allows you to let out only the amount needed at any given time. Good sharp scissors are a must, and finally the hair packer is used to even out animal hair before tying it on the hook.

fly tying for saltwaterNext we need to discuss the various materials that you may use to tie flies. There are hundreds of different materials and they all come in multiple colors, so I am only listing the basics: hackle, buck tail, marabou, flash, chenille, eyes, and synthetics. Hackle consists of various styles of feathers used to make up the tail and body of the fly. Buck tail or deer body hair also used to make up the tail and body of flies. Marabou is the fluffy bottom side of feathers or young feathers, this is used as a body material and works well because it breaths well in the water. In almost all saltwater flies we use some sort of flash (flashaboo, Krystal flash, wing flash). The flash simply mimics the scales of a bait fish. Chenille is used to build the underside of the body of the fly, this give the fly bulk and sometimes flash. We use fake eyes for many flies, some eyes are painted or stuck on and others are tied in giving the fly not only the appearance of eyes but also weight. There are many different types of synthetic materials on the market. Most of these materials simply take the place of natural materials such as hackle and buck tail. There are a few more miscellaneous items that you will need when tying flies. These items would include: various hooks, waxed thread, epoxy, head cement, razor blades, hook sharpener and a good pattern book.

The following flies are good choices to get started with: wooly bugger, Clouser minnow, Lefty’s deceiver and crazy Charlie’s.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

 

Saltwater Quick Cast

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Saltwater Quick Cast

By Captain Charlie Beadon

IMG_0462Saltwater Quick Cast: One of the greatest tools that you can utilize in saltwater sight fishing and flats fishing is the quick cast. As the name implies this is a cast that we use to deliver the fly to fish as quickly as possible before they either see the boat and spook off or simply swim out of casting range. If you know how to make a good overhead cast with tight loops, double haul and shoot line then you are well on your way to putting together a quick cast. Where most anglers get themselves into trouble on the flats is in making way too many false casts once they have spotted a fish and each additional false cast allows more time for something to wrong. In practice you should work to deliver a 40 foot cast within 3 forward casting strokes, a 60 foot cast with 4 forward casting strokes and so forth. The key to shooting out this amount of line is in utilizing good hauls on both the forward and back stroke to create high line speed. Next, lets look at what steps we need to take to make a quick cast. This cast really starts before you ever spot a fish; the moment you step onto the boat look around for any obstacles such as a trolling motor mount or push pole holders that might entangle the excess fly line that you have on the deck (or use a stripping basket). From there prepare your line by pulling out about how much you might need at any given time (you do not want to be pulling more line off of the reel once you spot a fish!) and dress the line properly on the deck or inside of the stripping basket. Next pull 10-15 feet of fly line through the rod tip; having this line excess line hanging from the rod tip is paramount to making a quick cast as it supplies the necessary weight to load the rod when you start casting to a fish. Moreover, 15 feet of fly line plus the leader plus the length of the rod gets you started at better than 30 feet before you even make a shoot. With the 10-15 feet of fly line plus leader hanging outside of the rod tip and the excess fly line on the deck, anchor the line below the first guide and against the fly rod handle with your rod hand and hold the fly (point out) in your line hand; there should be a D-loop of fly line in front of you. Now we are “Ready” to make the cast. Once you see a fish simply move the fly across your body and use a back cast to pull the fly out of your fingers and aerialize the fly. Once the fly is released you will need to quickly change hands at the anchor point so that your line hand is now able to haul and shoot the line. From here you simply need to shoot line on consecutive forward and back casts to gain distance before dropping to the target. Until next time, Keep on Casting!

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

Fly Casting on Windy Days

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Fly Fishing in the Wind

By Captain Charlie Beadon

fly casting lessonsThere are very few days in saltwater fly fishing that we don’t need to consider some sort of wind; in fact I would say that the wind is the biggest difficulty to overcome in the sport. You have to remember that we are trying to present an essentially weightless lure, accurately, at long distances thus any amount of wind needs to be accounted for. Overall there are four directions of wind that we need to consider: wind over the non casting shoulder, wind over the casting shoulder, a tail wind and a head wind. Wind blowing over the non casting should is the easiest to deal with as it only requires an adjustment in where you place the fly, basically you just need to deliver the fly slightly upwind to allow for the blow over.  A wind coming off of your casting shoulder is the most dangerous of all conditions because this wind tends to blow the fly line and fly back across your body (the number one cause for guys getting caught in the back of the head with the fly). Given this wind condition, in saltwater, I like to turn my back to the wind and deliver the fly on the back cast which keeps that fly down wind and away from my body! I really don’t mind a tail wind too much and to compensate I generally make a low-to-the-water back cast followed by a direct overhead forward cast (AKA – Belgian Cast). Finally, we need to take a look the head wind – this wind tends to be the most difficult to overcome. If you have a strong head wind I would suggest changing casting directions, but in a light to moderate head wind the best thing to do is to tilt the trajectory of your cast slightly so that you are making a high angled back cast followed by a low angled forward cast directly to the target. In all cases, a tight casting loop (the most aerodynamic of all loops) and high line speed will give you the greatest advantage…well how do we achieve the tightest loops with maximum line speed? The answer is by using an efficient double haul and at the end of the day the double haul is the one advanced casting technique that every saltwater fly caster should be able to perform! Hauling line gives you a huge advantage by adding a great deal of extra energy to the cast thus giving you the higher line speed, tighter loops and the ability to make effortless casts that will slice through menacing sea breezes. Until next time, Keep on Casting!

 

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

How to Choose a Fly Line

Friday, January 16th, 2015

imagesChoosing a Fly Line: There is so much equipment on the market these days that it really makes it difficult to know what is best for your needs. The first thing that I would recommend is that you stop by and talk to the guys at your local fly shop (or local to where you will be fishing) as they will have the best grasp as to what works for that area. That being said choosing the right fly line can become a little more difficult because how a fly line performs varies from rod to rod. To start with, consider the following factors to begin narrowing down your choices: fresh or saltwater, tropical or cold water, floating or sinking, fly rod weight, size of the targeted fish, size of the flies. This should get you in the ball park but we will still need to consider our fishing application so that we can choose the proper taper design. Lets look at a few examples; say that you plan to do a lot of wade fishing on the flats for tailing redfish, well here you need to make short accurate casts in a hurry so a weight forward redfish style line with a short head might be ideal as it will get out of the rod tip quickly. On the other hand, say that you plan to pole open flats for redfish and also need to consider the wind; a standard weight forward bonefish line with a longer head might be more appropriate for generating line speed and making longer casts. In the end the true factor that you must consider is how the line feels on your rod and considering that there is no standard for the action of different fly rods a line that casts smoothly on your buddies rod might not cast so well on your rod. Unfortunately, the only way to find out how a line feels on your rod is through trial and error. One thing that you can do to make things a little less complicated for yourself is to stick with one brand of fly line. For example; I use all Rio lines so I am familiar with the differences in how a Rio bonefish line casts compared to a Rio redfish or tarpon line. Moreover, I stock different weights of the same styles of line so that I can test them out on different weight rods. If you don’t mind spending the money I would recommend buying several different styles and weights of line from the same manufacture and test them out on your rod to find out which lines feel the best and then make notes on the boxes as to how they performed. If you don’t want to buy a number of different fly lines another option would be to get together with other fly fisherman at clinics and expos and try out their lines on your rod. When you find a line that matches up well with your rod you will be amazed. Until next time, Keep on Casting!

Fly Tying Part 2 with Captain Charlie Beadon

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Fly Tying Part 2: Using Tools and Materials

 

Fly Tying Part 1 with Captain Charlie Beadon

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Here is a new video about basic Fly Tying!

 

 

 

Beaufort Fishing Report | February Fishing Action

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Well, we are smack in the middle of the winter fishing season and you might be wondering what to fish for but not real sure if it’s too cold to get a bite but I can assure you that the fish still bite when it gets cold. In fact, we have been enjoying some really good fishing both inshore and on the nearshore wrecks over the past few months.

Inshore:

Right now our target inshore fishery is by far redfish and they have been biting very well. These fish are still schooled up on the shallow flats which have been providing us with excellent sight fishing opportunities over the past few months. Though we have been doing well with light spinning tackle the fly fishing has been exceptionally good so let’s take a deeper look at what it takes to have success with the fly. The three most important factors to consider while fly fishing for winter redfish are: Tackle, Presentation and Fly Selection. As for tackle; I generally use a 9 foot 8 weight fly rod which is pretty standard for most inshore saltwater fishing. For winter fishing you need to pay special attention to the line and choose one that is specifically designed for cold water fishing (I generally change out my summer and winter lines when the air temperatures start to hover above or below 75 degrees). Additionally, try using as longer leader to keep from spooking these fish in clear water. Presentation is equally important and being proficient with the saltwater quick cast will pay off big in getting the fly to fish quickly before they see you or the boat. In practice; work on dropping the fly at 50-60 feet with no more than three false casts. As for fly selection I generally like to use smaller flies (3-5 inches) with more natural colors such as olive, black and brown because of the ultra clear water clarity…remember the fish can see better in this clear water too!

Nearshore and Offshore Wreck:

Right now the best action around the nearshore wrecks is sheepshead fishing. On the other hand, many of the fish that we would generally like to target during this time of the year have been closed down. These species would include: grouper, red snapper, bee liners and black sea bass…what can I say, there are plenty of them out there but all restricted to harvest. I have always been a very conservative fisherman (as have most of us) but have been left scratching my head as to why many of these fisheries have been completely closed. One backlash that I can see because of these regulations are that they will ultimately put more pressure on the fish that we can still keep such as sheepshead and even inshore fish. In the end, I feel that it will be up to each of us as recreational anglers to stay with in the law considering closed fisheries while still showing restraint with the fisheries that are still open.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

Fly Fishing for Bull Redfish

 

Beaufort Fishing Forecast for February

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Fishing Forecast Beaufort, SC

Cooler temperatures and clear water generally push most of our inshore fish into deeper water and our offshore fish into a feeding frenzy. This time of the year we look for calm clear days to sight fish the flats or to bottom fish the near and offshore wrecks.

This month’s feature is Lowtide Redfishing

fly fishing for beaufort, sc redfish

As the water temperature drops, redfish will start to school up on crystal clear shallow water mud flats. Flats are areas that have very little bottom contour (flat bottom) over a particular area, and generally offer food and shelter for redfish. During this time it is not uncommon to see schools of 100 or more fish huddled together in a tight area. The main reasons that redfish school up on shallow mud flats in the winter are for protection, warmth, and safety in numbers. During the winter much of the food that dolphins feed on (such as menhaden and mullet) are gone, therefore redfish become a large part of their diet. To keep away from the dolphins redfish will stay in shallow water where the dolphins can’t enter. During midday, mud flats also offer warmth as the sun heats up the dark mud bottom. Finally, by grouping up in a school, redfish have many eyes to look for predators; if one fish sees something out of place it will alert the rest of the school. This is a great time of the year for us to take shots at redfish using both spin and fly fishing gear.

Inshore Fishing

Short days and cooler air drive the water temperature into the low 50s this time of year. Not only does the water become cooler but also crystal clear. As the water cools most fish move into deeper water with the exception of schooling redfish which will huddle together on low tide flats in large numbers. This creates a good opportunity for shallow water sight fishing.

Near and Offshore Wreck Fishing

Some of the best winter time fishing can be done on the wrecks which are located six to twenty miles offshore. On an average day look to catch a variety of fish to include: sheepshead, weakfish, bull redfish, flounder and sea bass. Not only are these fish a lot of fun to catch but also great to eat. Due to the fact that these wrecks are located in open water we generally look for light winds and calm seas to go offshore.

http://www.beaufortsportfishing.com/