This scene of death is taking place on the surface of an ocean where a group of big hungry hard fighting scaly predators known as Jack Crevalles roam the warm waters in search of food.
It's the result of an ambush on a shoal of bait size fish. The water erupts again with swirling, diving gorging fish. Dead and dying bait fish litter the surface. Everywhere I look I can see and smell death, Jack Crevalles I reckon are the toughest of the tough, they are the street fighters of the aquatic world. In Mexico they are known as "Toro" - the bull. They're half a dozen Tyson's rolled into one. They will fight to the death never giving an inch. But unlike Tyson they won't bite ears but will savagely grab a Lefty Kreh Deceiver or other fish-like pattern of fly spinner or surface fished plug.
There is the scent of blood in the air. It seems as if every sea bird on the planet is homing in on the area. Cormorants, Terns, Skua's and gulls of every description are in there fighting, squealing, screaming and diving for food, creating even more havoc. There is no escape for these bait size fish as they are attacked from above and below. They are trapped in this killing zone. All they can do is hope it will soon end. I cast a big Lefty Kreh Deceiver pattern into the swirling mass, two quick strips then the line is savagely pulled from my hand. Frantically I grab hold of the fast disappearing line, then feeling it burn as it runs across my fingers. Somehow I strike in some mad demented way and on feeling the fish, I lift the rod skywards. Though not for long, as the rod tip is savagely pulled down under the water. The Tibor reel grudgingly gives line as a powerful adversary dives and powers away into the depths of the warm water that changes colour from aquamarine to a deep blue then a light greenish blue colour that allows you to see down several fathoms. The sun burns down from a clear blue sky, the thermometer edges up to the 90°F mark.
Some three hundred yards of 20lb backing have gone from the reel before I'm able to make any impression on this, my sixth, jack crevalle in the past few hours. I was feeling shattered not even knowing if I wanted another slugging session. Hussain shouted "Keep at it Marteen" as he poured ice cold water over my head and my sore and battered hands. I shook my head to clear the water from my eyes then cramped on more pressure, lowering the rod tip I wound in a few more feet of line I was determined that this Jack wouldn't beat me if I could help it. The ten weight rod bent alarmingly I could feel the corks bend under the pressure. I was fighting this powerful leviathan for what seemed hours but was probably about thirty minutes. The fight from a jack crevalle will test man and tackle to the limit, these are wild fish with no names.
I lowered the rod tip to gain a few feet of line then repeated the process and so it went on. "Toro" as the Mexicans called him, would shake its head then dive again taking most of the hard won line which would have to be retrieved once more. I started gaining line for about the fifth time when I felt everything go slack. "Toro" the jack crevalle had won this fight and its freedom.
Why should I have lost this fish I thought as I wound in the limp line, then the truth was revealed. The Albright knot which I had practised tying all through the long winter months had busted where backing and fly line were joined. Even on heavy tackle a 30 pound jack crevalle is not going to come in easily. Jack's will take you all over the ocean given the chance. Sometimes you will need to follow in the boat. or lose your tackle to big jacks. They will break lines and hooks. Reels will seize up, rods will get broken and your body will sometimes cave in with fatigue and pain and your shoulder muscles will often pop, one of the reasons why a lot of big game anglers spend time in the gym keeping fit. This is not the sport for the wimps.
For the shore bound angler jacks are just as exciting, but be prepared for a mile hike along the beach when you hook "Toro". They will cruise close to the shoreline in shoals or schools of similar size hunting down the bait fish then working the bait into a ball before driving them into the beach, then they go on a feeding frenzy attacking and killing anything that moves and you're back to the aquatic battlefield with all the blood and carnage. It beats pike fishing.
Jacks will hit surface fished plugs and flies. Spinner, plugs and flies fished a few feet down will also take this bullish fighter. The Mexicans don't call him "Toro" for nothing and we all know how powerful raging "Bulls" can be. "Lets go and have lunch Hussain, we've been on the water since dawn" Hussain switched on the ignition. The 28 foot Crayfish's 200 hp Volvo motor roared into life, the bows lifted and away we went, skimming across the glass smooth like surface.
In thirty minutes we were docked. After a quick shower it was lunch, three or four Pimm's number one's and a bunch of pretty girls to chat with. Its great fun this saltwater fishing, Why not give it a try. You can always join me on a trip. Interested? then E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org .co.uk Fly or lure fishing in saltwater has to be the most exciting fishing of all. There is nothing to compare with it. No fish fight harder. It usually takes place in the sunshine with bikini clad beauties and good looking guys laying on or strutting across the sands. This view would depend on what sex you are. For me it's the bikini clad beauties! Ask the loved one in your life, if they would like to go on holiday to Canada or Scotland, the answer would probably be what's there for me, bugs, bugs and more bugs and it rains. What would I do when your off fishing? No thanks. Ask your partner if they would like to holiday in the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Dubai, Mexico, California Belize or half a dozen other exotic location and the answer would be an immediate 'Yes' No longer would fishing be a boring old subject. While the husband or boyfriend, or perhaps it's wife or girlfriend who do the fishing, the other partner can go swimming, water skiing, snorkelling or do half a dozen other sports. Perhaps just laze around in the sunshine with a good book. Everyone is happy. Today I see many couples fishing together and its a wonderful to see. More and more couples are being attracted to saltwater fly and lure fishing even if it's for just two weeks holiday in the sun each year. I mention you lady anglers, because this is one of the growth areas in angling today.
More and more of you are having ago at lure and fly fishing. No creepy crawlies, just silks, furs, flosses, feathers, wood, metal and plastic on a hook. The great thing about you teaching you ladies is; you will listen, learn, practise and you don't know it all after a day like a lot of the guys do. You're also better looking, you smell great with your perfume and today lots of companies are designing clothing especially for you. Sweaters and fleeces in nice colours waders especially designed for the woman's shape, jackets hats and much more. Today's lady angler can look as good at the waterside as in the town and long may it continue.
What You Need
Catching ocean fish can be done with both fly or lure fishing gear. Perhaps you already fish the seas around the British isles with fly or spinning tackle for bass, coal fish, pollock and mackerel - then you're set up for the warmer climes. For fly fishing in the warmer climes all you will need to change is your cold water fly line for one designed for use in the tropics. If you go in search of salmon, sea trout, pike, perch and chub with plugs and spinners then you can use that same tackle to catch some of the fish species from the ocean. What you must do on returning from a days angling, is to thoroughly clean down all the tackle and lures. Don't just rinse it under the tap or hose it down. You must wash all tackle in hot soapy water, making sure to scrub the reel foot, winch fittings and rod guides. Then rinse in fresh cold water. Don't do what one angler did, dip the rod and reel in the ocean then wipe it down. Saltwater is very corrosive and can ruin a set of tackle in a very short time. Fly fishing in saltwater demands top quality rods and reels, the lines must be those designed for fishing in the warmer climes. The lines you used for trout and salmon fishing are useless in the warmer climates. Go for Scientific Angler lines designed for the tropics and you want regret it.
Apart from fish under two or three pounds I wouldn't attempt to use trout tackle for the ocean fish. The rods don't have the backbone. Saltwater fish are far more powerful than the freshwater species. I have rods and reels to cover all aspects of saltwater fly fishing, from bonefish, using an eight weight, to sailfish and marlin on a 12 weight. Go out and purchase the right equipment. You know it makes sense and if looked after it will last you a life time. The most important item of tackle is without a doubt the reel. I have a dozen or so fly reels designed for saltwater use. One is a British built System 2 which I can thoroughly recommend and they are certainly value for money costing less than a £100-00. My other reels are all American built, but they don't come cheap. Recently I purchased a set of Tibor reels which cost over $2,000-00. I sold a couple of paintings to buy them and I still think I have done right thing.
When buying a saltwater fly fishing rod make sure it has over size guides and a corrosive resistant reel fitting. Don't buy a two piece rod. Get one of the new travel rods in 4 pieces. Baggage handlers at airport have no respect for other peoples equipment.
The rods I am using these days are the Greys of Alnwick Oceanic's I have them in 8,9,10 and 12 weights. They cover ninety nine percent of all my saltwater fly fishing needs. Back in May fishing Cocoa Plum Creek in the Bahamas with the Greys eight weight Oceanic and a Richard Carter bonefish reel with a six pound leader, I had a nine pound bonefish. The tackle was perfectly balanced and coped wonderfully well, with the bonefish that can travel at 30 plus miles an hour across the flats in just a foot of water with the reel spinning at 10,000 revolutions a minute. If I had to pick just two outfits I would go for a nine and twelve weight. I would then be able to cover all the species from the shore, the flats and the big ocean fish offshore.
For fishing the flats you will need a floating, weight forward line in an eight or nine weight For shore and boat fishing choose a set of shooting heads, floating, slow sink and fast sinking. Make sure you have some good quality shooting line I attach my shooting head to Partridge Flat Beam using the Albright knot. Don't use nylon monofilament the pressure builds up and can warp your reel. For backing line I use Sure-Set from Ryobi Masterline as a backing line in 20lb and 30lbs I have heard good reports of the Micronite from Cortland but have no personal experience as yet. For all my leader making I use Mason hard line from 10lbs up to 60lbs. If I need a wire trace I build them from Ryobi Masterline tide cheater. In saltwater fly fishing you need the following knots. The Albright which I use for attaching backing or shooting line to fly line. The Albright knot can also be used for attaching leader to fly line. Another knot for attaching leader to fly line is the needle knot Its also used for joining two lengths of nylon when making up leaders. The other knot is a five turn tucked blood knot for attaching flies to leader. If you want any further information or would like to join me on a trip please get in touch.