Fly fishing is most thought of as something you do to catch trout while standing knee deep in a picturesque rocky river in some remote location wearing a pair of funky looking waders. At least that's the picture that pops up in our brains when someone mentions that they go fly fishing.
While that picture of a person in a river has never interested me too much, the flies themselves always have. Not so much the ones like bugs/flies but the ones mimicking tiny fish.
Flies are in my mind the ultimate lure. Once they hit the water, every tiny little movement just simply brings them to life. Even a very slow sink rate is enough to turn feathers, flash and hair into what looks like a slow descending bait fish.
The only problem with a fly is they have absolutely no weight making them impossible to cast on a good old spin reel. The best delivery system for placing a fly in front of a fish is a fly rod and it's heavy fly line. It's here that fly fishing turns into a bit of an art form.
It takes a lot of practise to get that ultimate lure right where you want it. When first trying to cast, I thought the whole thing was a bit of a joke! It was near impossible to get any distance or accuracy. It wasn't until Fly Guy demonstrated and explained the importance of the double haul and keeping the fly line in tight lopes while in the air, before I really got stuck into it.
Hours and hours were spent down at the local school rugby grounds practising before a single cast was ever made while on the water or directed at a fish.
Fly Guy had told stories of sight casting flies to big snapper, but it wasn't until I saw it for myself that I understood the excitement and enthusiasm that he had told those stories with.
Moving around very slowly and quietly trying to spot fish to cast to isn't fishing anymore, its some form of hunting and it’s only 1 half of the equation. Once a target is set in your sight, you now have to place a fly both within eye shot of the fish and not to spook it.
To be successful with this style of fishing, the conditions have to perfect! It's around the high tide that you will find snapper up on the flats as this is when all the food sources on the flats become accessible. Fishing is always better in the twilight hours, yes, but with this style of fishing the snapper are near impossible to see without the sun being directly overhead. Any ripples on the water caused by the slightest breeze is the best camouflage a fish could ask for, and for obvious reasons beautiful gin clear water is always a big help.
I was lucky enough to be on the water for my very first hunt for a snapper on the fly with an 11 o'clock high tide, beautiful clear blue skies, virtually no wind and water as clear as your bathtub after having no rain for weeks on end.
After watching a few spooked fish race off before getting a cast at them and stuffing up a couple more by slapping the fly on the water, it all came together and a snapper swam over and inhaled my fly right in front of my eyes!
This hunting around in the shallows looking for fish to cast to is by far the most challenging form of fishing that I've ever done! but at the same time has been the most rewarding and right now there is no bigger want on my fishing wishlist then to get the chance to place a fly in front of a trophy snapper and feel my heart pound as he makes his way over to bite it.