Fly Fishing Saltwater Basics

October 3, 2001

By C. Boyd Pfeiffer
_Stackpole Books,
5067 Ritter Road Mechanicsburg, PA 17055;
softcover, $12.95A
Books just don’t get any more basic than this one; it’s the print equivalent of a collection of sound bites about saltwater fly fishing.

Like many writers, C. Boyd Pfeiffer assumes the reader is making a transition from freshwater to saltwater fly fishing – an assumption that may or may not be valid. He offers brief chapters dealing with tackle (including an illustrated section on knots), flies, casting, “Basic Fishing Techniques and Retrieves,” “Where and How to Find Fish” (shouldn’t that come before basic fishing techniques?), saltwater fly-rod species, and “Tying Basic Saltwater Patterns.”

Some of his advice is dubious. “Saltwater fly fishing requires the same tackle used in fresh water, with some important considerations,” Pfeiffer writes. Later he says: “Because there is no single, heavy weight at the end of the line, as with bait casting or spinning, it is necessary to repeatedly cast the line back and forth to obtain distance and accuracy.” He also includes dropper connections in the segment on knots; does anyone use dropper flies in salt water? And he suggests chumming for bonefish; has anyone ever stooped to that?


He does offer one novel idea: After fishing, shower with your fly rod to minimize saltwater corrosion. He has nothing to say about class tippets, IGFA records, fly-fishing tournaments or similar activities that might lead newcomers astray, and that’s all to the good. But he also has nothing to say about the need – indeed, the obligation – for anglers to participate in fisheries conservation efforts. That’s bad.

Pfeiffer’s prose is accompanied by Dave Hall’s black-and-white illustrations. As an introductory text, this is the bare minimum.


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