Archive for the ‘How To’s’ Category

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

Fish Fighting Techniques

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Fish Fighting Techniques and Drag Control

Presented by Captain Charlie Beadon

If you do enough fishing you are bound to tie into a really nice fish and I’m sure that we have all heard the stories about “the one that got away”. Believe it or not in most cases the one that got away really got the best of us due to either poorly maintained tackle or poor fish fighting techniques. Today were going to discuss how to maximize the use of spinning and conventional rods, drag control, fish fighting techniques and the use of belts and harnesses.

fish fighting techniquesLet us start by looking at the spinning rod. Spinning rods are generally used for 2-30 pound class tackle. The rod stamp near the handle gives you information such as the rod length and line test rating. Always match your tackle for the fish that you plan to catch. For example, if you were targeting redfish on the flats you may choose a 7 foot 8-17lb class spinning outfit. The main user parts of a spinning reel are the handle, rotor, spool, and bail. Spinning reels collect line by means of the rotor spinning around a stationary spool when you turn the handle. To let line out you simply open the bail. All spinning outfits should be held with the reel on the bottom of the rod and the rod guides facing down. Conventional rods are generally used for 15- 130 pound class tackle. Once again you need to match your tackle for the fish that you plan to catch. For example, you probably would not choose an 80lb blue marlin outfit to catch ten pound snapper. The main user parts of a conventional reel are the handle spool and lever drag. Conventional reels collect line by means of the spool turning as you turn the handle and let line out when you pull the lever drag into free spool. Conventional outfits are held with the reel and guides facing up. Also note that both spinning and conventional reels are geared so that for each turn of the handle your rotor or spool turns multiple times. (demo how to hold spinning and conventional rods)

Next, let’s look at the drag systems and how to use them. A fishing drag is nothing more than a set of slick washers sandwiched between metal washers that allow the spool of the reel to turn in reverse which allows the fish to take line in a smooth controlled manner. The drag can be set to put more or less continuous pressure on the fish with out breaking the line. (drag demo) In my opinion most people set their drags way too tight, remember you can always tighten up your drag but in most cases a nice fish will break your line before you can loosen it. You need set your drag in accordance with the class of tackle that you are using and the type of fish that you are targeting. For example if you were fishing for sailfish (a fish that runs off very fast) you may use 20lb line with an initial drag setting of 3-4 pounds to allow the fish to take off on a blistering run with out breaking the line.  On the other hand if you were using the same rod for snapper (a fish that makes short hard runs into the bottom) you would start with a drag setting of 10-12 pounds to keep the fish from hanging you in bottom structure. In all cases good line and good knots are essential if you plan to maximize your tackle. (knot and line demo) To get a feel for setting your drag you may want to start by using a hand scale to measure the force needed to pull the line off of the reel, but as time goes on you will be able set your drags by pulling out line by hand. (drag setting demo using scale) (demo how to adjust spinning reel drag settings) (demo how to adjust conventional reel drag settings)  When using spinning reels note that you can always apply extra drag pressure to a fish by pressing your palm against the spool. (demo palming the spool) The other important thing to note about the use of spinning reels is that you need to be careful not to reel against the drag, this happens when you continue to turn the handle of the reel while a fish is taking out line. When you reel against the drag the line becomes twisted and near impossible to fish with. If you do end up with twisted line you can fix it by letting the twisted section drag behind a moving boat for a minuet. (demo reeling against the drag) Conventional reels actually have three pre-set drag settings. The first is free spool and is used to cast the bait, the second is the strike position and is used for the initial setting and run off of the fish and the third is full which will allow you to apply maximum pressure to the fish. Moreover, you can apply extra drag pressure to conventional reel by placing your thumb over the spool, but be careful not to do this while a fish is peeling off line or you are likely to get burned. (demo conventional reel drag setting positions) (demo thumbing the spool) Finally, drags need to operate smoothly. If you pull on the line and you feel rough spots in the drag (sticky drag) you need to clean and lubricate or replace the drag system. (demo how to remove, clean and lubricate the drag of spinning and conventional reels)

amberjackNow that we understand the equipment lets discuss the general techniques that we would use to fight a fish. Remember that you should apply these techniques to all fish regardless of size or fight, being a good angler requires split second movements and good control that can only be mastered by practice and experience. One of the biggest mistakes that I see anglers make when fighting a fish is to attempt to winch the fish in with the reel. The reel has two main functions: to let line out (with a smooth drag) and to collect the line onto the reel. True fish fighting power comes from the rod. When fighting a fish you should always keep a firm grip on the rods forward handle and keep the rod butt securely positioned in either your gut or under the armpit. Try to keep your feet positioned squarely under your body and if possible brace knees against the side of the boat. To bring a fish towards you pull up on the rod to lift the fish then drop the rod smoothly to collect the line (AKA the pump and reel). When using the pump and reel technique you want to use your legs and not your back, especially during a long fight.  Another common mistake that I see is for an angler to fight a fish off to the side, always face your fish. Keep your body squared up with the fish and if it runs from side to side simply follow it. Another big no-no in fish fighting is to allow slack in the line. Slack can be caused by many different things but the end result is quite often an empty hook. Finally, do not panic when a fish takes off on a run, this is why we set the drag. A big fish will run, you just need to be patient and wait for the fish to stop to collect line. (demo general fish fighting technique)

Let’s look at some advanced fish fighting techniques. First, what do you do with a fish that is close to the boat? There are many things that can go wrong here. For example, rods are easily broken, or the fish can tangle itself in the running gear. High sticking is a situation where the angler applies direct upward pressure on a fish that is under the boat resulting in the breaking of the rod. Any time that you are straight up and down on a fish you want to keep your rod at an angle close to level with the water. (demo high sticking) There are many techniques to keep a hot fish out of the running gear but in most cases you simply need to put the rod deep into the water and walk the fish away from any obstructions. (demo walking a fish) Another technique that we commonly use to subdue fish near the boat (other than a straight gaff) is to use the down and dirty. The down and dirty is simply keeping your rod tip down near the water and pulling the line directly away from the fish’s mouth and across its tail, almost as if you are trying to pull the fish backwards. If you can put the down and dirty on a fish you will surely break its spirit. (demo down and dirty) A few techniques that you may want to try with a large fish or during a long battle would be use an anchor ball, change direction, use current, short pump, pluck the line, or put the reel in free spool. Anytime that you are fishing for large fish from an anchored boat you need to attach a buoy to the end of the anchor line so that when you hook up you can simply throw the buoy over and chase the fish with the boat. During long battles you may want to try changing directions or the angle in which you are pulling on the fish to ware it down. Moving current can really help you fight a big fish. Try to make the fish swim and fight into the current this will ware it out quickly. Short pumping the rod is a great way to keep a fish coming towards you when the fish is near the boat or straight up and down. When you make long strokes with the rod and then reel down t collect the line the fish is able to turn its head away from you, but by using short pumps you can keep the fish coming in your direction. Finally, for fish that hug the bottom or get stuck in the bottom you may try plucking the line, the vibration will irritate the fish into moving. Other times when you have a fish stuck in the bottom you may try putting he reel in free spool (taking all pressure off of the fish) to see if it will swim out of the structure. (demo use of anchor ball, changing direction, use of current, short pumping, plucking the line and putting the reel in free spool).

In closing lets look at the use of belts and harnesses. Fighting belts and harnesses are used to give you a place to secure the butt of the rod and to take the pressure of fighting the fish off of your arms and back. The most important thing to keep in mind when using these items is that they need to be adjusted properly and in many cases they should be adjusted before the fish is on.

Captain Charlie Beadon

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

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!

Accuracy Fly Casting

Monday, December 15th, 2014

beaufort fly fishingOne of the most overlooked aspects of fly fishing is accuracy. For most of us we start out with the goal of just making a decent cast and then go head long into the quest for more distance; but in reality control and accuracy will put just as many fish on the end of the line as making a 90 foot cast. In fly casting there are a number of variances in style to include how we stand and how we hold the rod that can greatly effect accuracy. I would recommend that you work with the styles that you are most comfortable with but at the same time realize that different styles will give you advantages under different circumstances. Lets start with stance; if I were looking to make a long distance cast I would generally open up my feet allowing my left foot (I am a right handed caster) to be positioned forward of my shoulders and my right foot back, this would allow me to make the longest stroke of the rod on the forward and back cast. In contrast, if I were trying to make very accurate casts I would square my feet up directly under my shoulders or even allow my right foot to lead slightly to the target. This would allow me to sweep the fly rod directly overhead and down my line of sight towards the target thus giving me increased accuracy. Moreover, how you hold the rod can also be varied to increase accuracy. The best two grips for accuracy casts would be to hold the rod with either the thumb on top of the rod or the forefinger on top of the rod. The forefinger grip is slightly more accurate but in many cases more fatiguing. From a fishing stand point the advantages of being an accurate caster are obvious, but while practicing you not only want to work on casting to targets but also casting in front of and beyond your targets to mimic leading a fish. Look at your target as a moving fish…figure out what direction the fish is moving and try to place the fly two feet in front of and two feet beyond the target. If you get good accurately leading targets while practicing it will be like second nature while out fishing! This will be especially important as we approach the tailing redfish season…when these fish are up on the flats nosing down on fiddler crabs they are nearly oblivious to there surroundings which allows us to sneak in close for the perfect cast. In most cases, especially when wade fishing, we can get to within 20-30 feet of the fish before they spook off of the flat so under these circumstances a well controlled short cast will serve you very well. Until next time, Keep on Casting!

Captain Charlie Beadon

Fishing Guide for Hilton Head & Beaufort, SC

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor

New Technical Poling Skiff for Beaufort

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

I recently purchased a new technical poling skiff for fishing the backwaters around Beaufort, SC. This is a very shallow drafting boat made by Fly Boatworks. Thus far I am very pleased with her performance and ability to get into areas that I have wanted to venture into for years…and am sure that very few other boats can go! Not only does this boat float super shallow but is also a dream to pole, sits very stable at rest and has virtually no hull slap! Moreover, with both rear poling and front casting platforms the elevated views ensure that we will be able to see fish from a long way off!

Technical Poling Skiff

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, SC Tailing Redfish

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Tailing Redfish

beaufort tailing redfishWithout a doubt we are lucky to have such a great inshore fishery here in the Beaufort area. We have the opportunity to catch redfish on a year round basis on light tackle spinning and fly rods using artificial lures, live bait and flies. Moreover, we use a number of different fishing tactics that would include poling the shallow water mud fats, baiting the oyster bars, grass edges and creek mouths and sight fishing for tailing redfish. Though catching redfish by any method is always fun, sight fishing adds a whole new element! As we approach spring this becomes ever so true as the redfish will begin to flood the shallow short grass flats in search of fiddler crabs and thus marking the beginning of the tailing season. What is a tailing redfish you may ask? As redfish feed along the bottom in shallow waters they dip their noses down to the bottom thus exposing their tails above the surface as they feed. It really is quite a sight to see and gets anglers across South Carolina fired up to go fishing.

Imagine this: Your wading along a shallow short grass flat in mere inches of water as the tide slowly starts to flood in through the spartina grass. In the distance you hear fish crashing through the grass as they push in to feed on fiddler crabs. It doesn’t take long for the tide to flood up above your ankles and as you look down the flat you can see a red tail tipped in blue waving above the surface. Within a few minutes you see another and then another, before you realize it you are in the middle of a red hot tailing bite. The only question now is whether or not you can keep hands from shaking long enough make an accurate cast to place a fly in front of a feeding redfish!

I consider fishing for tailing redfish to be the ultimate hunt with a fishing rod. It really combines the sports of hunting and fishing in the way that we pick out one fish, stalk it until we have the right shot and then fire away with the fishing rod in hopes of getting a bite. Though you can fish for tailing reds out of the boat I prefer to wade fish because you do have an advantage in mobility and a lower profile… plus it really adds to the hunt! As far as tackle I recommend 8-17 pound spinning rods spooled with braided line or an 8 weight fly rod. Most soft plastic lures will work along with small crab fly pattens and even live bait. For wading the flats you simply need an old pair of lace up tennis shoes (lace them tight to keep periwinkles out) and a fanny pack to carry your extra tackle. Good luck and until next time Catch em Up! Captain Charlie

Captain Charlie Beadon


Accuracy Casting in Fly Fishing

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

One of the most important skills in all of fly fishing is being able to make accurate casts. This video will show you a few tips to help improve your fly casting skills for both fresh and saltwater fly fishing. Thanks for watching, Captain Charlie