The prey is both freshwater and saltwater species. Although casting an artificial fly into the quiet waters of a lake takes tackle and techniques that are different from the equipment and skills needed to fish in the surf, many sportsmen enjoy both challenges. Since the experience is just as important as the catch, both the peace of a quiet shore and the exhilaration of the waves make for memorable times on the water.
Saltwater tackle is made of different materials, since saltwater is very corrosive to metal. Fish in the ocean are often heavier, larger, and stronger than freshwater fishes, so hooks also need to be stronger. Line needs to be heavier, which is OK since the movement of the waves helps to keep it from being noticed by the fish. Wet flies are used rather than dry, since the lure will be set on the bottom rather than perched on top of the water.
Technique, which is probably the main point of fly fishing anyway, needs to be adjusted. Casting over rising and falling waves against a stiff on-shore breeze takes much more aggression than is called for on a quiet riverbank. Keeping your balance in the surf is a challenge, as is resisting the cold seawater. Fighting a fifty-pound fish for twenty minutes may be another first that turns this sport into an obsession.
A chartered trip comes with boat, tackle, ice, license, and expertise. Guides know the best fishing spots, which change according to the season, the weather, and the presence of migratory species. They also have the knowledge to help visitors catch trophy fish. The tour guests bring their own food, drinks, lots of water, sun hats, sunscreen, and cameras. The most important thing to take along is a good pair of polarized sunglasses, since the glare of the sun off the water can actually be harmful after a few hours.
Florida provides excellent fishing all year long. Some species of game fish are seasonal, but many spend their whole lives in Biscayne Bay, Everglades National Park, or in the ocean off the beaches of the mainland and the Keys. The inland flats attract many fish that also live in the sea. Catching a shark in the surf will make a great story back home.
It's fun to explore the online sites that concern the fish, the waters, the scenery, the skills to be used or learned, and the memories that can be made in southern Florida. Magazine articles posted online can open up new avenues for even experienced fly fishers to explore. Apparently stalking the elusive and shy permit, an ocean fish that comes to the flats to feast on crustaceans, is a life experience to be coveted, while actually catching one is a great achievement.
Southern Florida offers so many opportunities to fish that a lifetime of vacations might not be long enough. Go online to read excerpts from magazines, descriptions of charter trips and the captains who conduct them, and lots of information on why many find saltwater fly-fishing addictive.
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