You invest lots of time and money into your pursuit of saltwater game fish on fly rod and reel. With the size of your cash outlay on travel “how-to” books, fly-fishing DVDs, travel expenses and guide services, you feel each trip will guarantee success on the water. However, spending money as if you are Donald Trump is no guarantee you will be successful on every trip. There will be times when just finding a good seafood restaurant proves the only reward you’ll receive for your investment.
Over the years, I’ve been acquainted with numerous anglers who believe that having high-end rods, reels, fly selections and the latest waders, reading fly-fishing books written by famous fly fishermen, watching DVDs featuring nationally-known fly fishermen, and highly-respected fishing guides would ensure them a high degree of success. What they did not take into account was how much work, practice, and dedication it takes to be a successful saltwater fly angler. They assumed that a few weeks of practicing the double haul was enough to make them skilled enough to catch lots of fish. Then reality reared its ugly head.
Seriously, practice is fine, but the truth of the matter is that nothing and I mean nothing, can match time spent on the water for perfecting your saltwater fly fishing, whether you’re casting flies to surf perch on a local beach or fishing offshore for tuna. Time spent on the water will hone your fly fishing skills whether you catch fish or not.
So, maximize your time on the water with or without a guide. Learn something new each time you hit the water. If the fishing is tough on the flats looking for bonefish, then practice your casting into the wind. Practice tying the bimini twist while waiting for a mako shark to show up in your chum slick. Or, learn the best tides and areas to fish while walking the beach looking for stripers.
If you learn something each time you go fishing, then you’ll be a better angler the next time around.