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Fly Fishing the Reefs

Tips to reach fish in deep waters up to 20 feet.

January 18, 2013
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Q: “I fly-fish our flats but now I want to fish our reefs where the waters are 15 to 30 feet in depth. Do you have any suggestions?” A: You need fast-sinking shooting heads with a 30- or 40-pound-test monofilament shooting line. I suggest the head be T-14 line. A tapered leader is not needed with weighted lines. Use fly materials that aid sinking. For example, bucktail wings are not recommended. Keep the leader short, no longer than four feet. Fly-fishermen usually relate tides to flats and the shallows, but reefs experience the same effect. During full- and no-moon periods the water rushes over deep reefs, making it tough for flies to reach the bottom, where fish often hide from the swift current. To reach the bottom faster, try fishing during quarter-moon stages or during slack tidal periods. Cast upcurrent to help your line/fly sink faster and deeper. Overcast days often produce better than bright sunny ones.

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