Saltwater Fly Fishing. How Crucial is Weight and Sink Rate?

March 8, 2010


Saltwater Fly Fishing

When it comes to selecting the correct size for a bonefish or permit fly, a good general rule is the shallower the water, the smaller the fly.  Regardless of the SIZE of the fly, however, the weight and sink rate is crucial.  When fly fishing any saltwater flats destination, your permit and bonefish fly boxes should contain flies with at least 3 different sink rates: unweighted, slightly weighted, and heavy.

Unweighted, or Skinny Water Flies:

  • Tied as light as possible, usually without eyes or with plastic bead chain eyes.  Fish these patterns in extremely shallow water or over flats where the turtle grass is thick.  (Usually in water that is less than one foot deep).

Slightly Weighted Flies:

  • Use standard bead chain eyes or micro-barbell eyes.  These flies are designed for water that is one to two feet deep, where turtle grass and coral may or may not be an issue.

Heavy Flies:

  • Effective in water that is greater than 2 feet deep.  Be sure that the heavy category includes smaller hook sizes as well as larger patterns.

The concept of matching your fly’s weight to the water depth and conditions is a simple one.  In skinny water, very little weight is required to sink the fly a few inches, and a delicate presentation is essential.

When fishing deeper water situations, the splash of a fly is much less perceptible, and a weighted fly is the only thing that can get tot he bottom fast enough.

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One Response to “Saltwater Fly Fishing. How Crucial is Weight and Sink Rate?”

  1. chubbsypeterson Says:

    I published the post before i added some bibliography to this blog entry.
    I got most the info off of this from a promo publication from Yellow Dog Flyfishing and from the Group on Facebook called Fly Fishing Saltwater. Thanks guys for the great info.


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