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Saltwater: The Wind Is Your Friend

Posted on April 02 2007

One of the hardest “levels,” if you will, of saltwater fly fishing is achieved when you stop thinking of the wind as your enemy and know that for every mile per hour it blows over 15 knots the fish will be that much more relaxed. Of course confidence in your casting skills is key, but it also helps to catch some fish at half the range that you would on a calm day.
This March has been particularly windy in the Keys. An average daily wind speed of 12.5 miles per hour doesn’t sound like much until you factor in the several calm days that are assumed to be in the mix. (An email we got from Diana Rudolph yesterday started with “It’s windy” and ended with “Did I mention it is windy?”) But the fish don’t mind wind. I recall a day in the late 1980s fishing the east side of the Marquesas in winds gusting to 30 miles per hour. Frank Bertaina — admittedly one of the better fly casters I’ve ever seen — jumped 12 tarpon in an afternoon of fishing.
A couple of things you can do to make your windy-day fishing more successful:
— Strip less line out — you won’t need it.
— Be methodical about your line management: pay more attention to where your line goes when you strip it in and be sure it is well-arranged in on the deck or in a stripping bucket.
— Learn how to water-haul.
— Help the person on the poling platform by staying near the front of the boat and staying balanced.
— Make the wind your friend.
(Thanks to reader Ted Lund for the article link.)

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