This month we talk with Troy Bachman, owner of FLY H2O, one of the leading manufacturers of innovative fresh- and saltwater fly patterns in the world.
Q: How did you get into fly-fishing in salt water?
A: After tying countless saltwater flies for my father’s fly shop (The Fly Fishing Shop) I finally had the opportunity to try some. In the mid-90s, I chartered a guide on the Pacific coast of Mexico near our factory. I landed 24 dorado that day and, needless to say, I was hooked.
Q: Where do you see the most interest in our sport?
A: Saltwater fly-fishing has increased ten-fold in half as many years. It makes up 50 percent of our business. In fresh water, there is nothing like the rush of a surging tarpon, sailfish or marlin. Not to mention the thrill and adventure of getting to your saltwater destination. It is also perfect for those North Americans who get tired of the cold and gray and need a little warm weather and blue water.
Q: For the beginner, what’s the most important tip you can give them?
A: Start out targeting smaller species such as bonefish, redfish or some offshore species like dorado. Learn about their habits and habitat and what fly works.
Q: What was the first fly pattern you developed?
A: I can’t recall the first saltwater fly I developed, but I know which one is the most successful: the BoneWiggler series. This fly is pay dirt when hunting bonefish. Some customers have named their favorite flat after them.
Q: Favorite all-around saltwater fly and why?
A: You can’t narrow saltwater flies to only one pattern; it is impossible. However, there is one fly pattern I never go fishing without, and this is an ALF. Designed by Bill and Kate Howe, this fly will out-fish any other baitfish imitation, hands down. I have taken the widest variety of fish species on this style. They are not only extremely functional, durable and effective, but they’re easy to cast, don’t foul like many other materials and work with all types of fly lines.
Q: Favorite species and why?
A: All saltwater fish are strong fighters, pound for pound, but I would have to say dorado. They are beautiful fish that eat flies extremely well, jump and run hard.
Q: Biggest fish taken on fly?
A: It was a black Marlin estimated 140 pounds on 20-pound test at Loreto Baja, California, in 2003. It was also the toughest-fighting fish.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world to fish for anything, where (and what) would it be?
A: Vanuatu in January. There are lots of big fish like marlin, wahoo and tuna with lots of hooking opportunities. And then I could take in a few tennis matches at the Australian Open.
Q: Last rod/reel combo fished?
A: I was very impressed with the Winston Boron IIx (B2X). In fact, it almost ruined me using any other rod. It is smooth, light and nearly indestructible. Set it up with a Nautilus reel, and you have a nearly unbeatable combination.