Get familiar with your conditions
The dynamic of our coastal zone is forever changing with tides, weather and moon phases playing a big role in fish behaviour. Most predatory fish like moving water to actively hunt their prey which often get disorientated and flushed from the safety of shallower flats or structure.
Combining a spring tide with low light can often be all that’s necessary to get them feeding hard. Identify these key periods and make sure you’re at the waters edge.
Scouting the area and building a plan is the difference between casting practice and catching fish. Get out when the sun is high and the tide is low. Check for sand banks, gutters, holes, rock structure and get a feel for where predatory fish will patrol margins and edges and where baitfish would likely be holding when the water is working either by pushing or flushing.
Work the working water
‘Working Water’ is a term used often when identifying good areas to spend time fishing. If it looks good for snorkeling and swimming it will typically be very unproductive water for fishing.
Currents, compressions and rips often causing turbulent water that has ‘colour’ to it, if that is within range of the fly angler is worth investing time in.
Tap into the food chain
Find the baitfish, and you’ll find the predators. Often all it takes is first identifying the ‘where’ and the ‘when’ and then walking the area looking for signs of baitfish in the area. Once you find them, if they look like they don’t have a care in the world, chances are there is nothing in the area life-threatening for them. If on the other hand they are packed into a tight school and spook at the smallest thing, you can bet your bottom dollar there are predators about.
Don’t ignore the rocks
Fishing the ‘bricks’ (rocky areas) is often best done on a falling tide. Generally more settled conditions that are fly-friendly, as well as a flushing affect that would dislodge baitfish into areas that would attract predators.
As a side note, safety when fishing the salt is always a top priority. Fish with a buddy where possible, never turn your back to the sea and if it feels like your chancing your like, you probably are!