Saltwater Fly Fishing


For a newbie fly fisho, it can be pretty daunting, with the line weights, rod classes and flies for different species. But it doesn’t have to be with a little know-how and some research. Here are some basics for saltwater fly fishing.


Like bait casting outfits, the line class is classified from 1 to 15. However, in the fly fishing application, the weight class of the rod depends more on the size and weight of the fly you will be using than the weight of the line tippet.

The weight classes for saltwater fly fishing are usually between 6 and 10. A good starter class would be a 7-8kg fly fishing rod weight, perfect for common species like Bass, Flathead and Bream with medium weight flies.

Because you will be casting and retrieving a lot, choose a rod with a comfortable grip. I always recommend buying a good brand with an extended warranty. Once you’ve been hooked on saltwater fly fishing, pick up a 10kg rod for chasing Tuna, and a 5 weight for Trout.


The best fly fishing line for you will depend on your target species and where you will be casting. If you are hitting estuarine waters in search of Flathead, you need a floating line with a sink tip. The shallow waters make this line perfect because you want to drop your fly to the bottom of the water, without dragging an intermediate line in its wake.

If you are using poppers on the surface then a floating line will be the way to go, but if you are in search of Bass, Snapper or Threadfin Salmon in slightly deeper waters, a full sinking line will be the only way to the get the depth you need.


As with the rod, going with a fly fishing reel an established brand on an extended warranty is advisable. For saltwater fly fishing, I use a cassette reel with spare spools so I can quickly change the line without changing the whole spool and without losing out on fishing time.


A great starter flies are those for bottom fishing. These are great with a 7-8kg rod, and a floating line with a sink tip, the ideal setup for taking Flathead. Bass-specific flies are another popular choice. Use this for hunting Bass with a sinking line. This also works well on Bream. Both flies come in a variety of colours and sizes.


One of the hardest parts of saltwater fly fishing is locating fish. Use soaring and diving seabirds as a marker, because the birds are hunting the baitfish on the surface, which suggests the presence of large fish underneath that pushed them to the surface.

The timing is also important. Fish at dawn or dusk to get the larger fish, as low-density light helps the larger fish spot the silhouettes of their prey overhead.

Once the fish are active and are feeding, troll your fly through the school to get some action. If the fish are following the fly but not biting, increase the speed of your retrieve to instigate a strike. Some saltwater species prefer a more frenzied retrieve.


What do you think? Do you have any saltwater fly fishing techniques? Join the debate through the comments section below.

Peter Hollingsworth
Peter Hollingsworth

Peter has been fishing all around Australia since he was a boy. He loves camping, fishing and kayak fishing.