Posts Tagged ‘fly casting’

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


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.


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.


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

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

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

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

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!




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