Q: “I have been saltwater fly-fishing for quite a while and am considering some trips out of the country. What advice would you give me about flies I should take?”Stan JeffersonAtlanta, GeorgiaA: Contact your travel agent or the lodge, and they can supply you with the needed patterns. Obviously you don’t want bonefish patterns if you are after sailfish or barracuda.
Q: "I have fished a lot in big lakes and streams, but now I would like to try saltwater fly-fishing, especially in Florida. I have a good saltwater reel, but I don’t know if it should be loaded with gelspun braided or Dacron backing. What do you suggest?"John ShermanDetroit, Michigan
Which fly patterns won't hang up in the mangroves?
Q: "I keep reading how important it is to use an 80- to 100-pound bite tippet for toothy fish and billfish. However, I’m not sure what knot works best when using heavy leader material. I know that some individuals recommend using crimps. Can you clarify for me what knot to use or whether to use crimps?"-Dr. Gary Hall
Q: “I fish the flats with my friend, who I love, but he is not a great fly-fisherman. I certainly want him to catch fish, so I give him the first chance to catch something. But often he fails to hook a fish while I sit there for an extended period, waiting for my turn. Do you have a suggestion on how to handle this delicate matter?”-anonymous reader
Q: "I have two different reels that worked fine for some time, but now, when a fish takes off, both have a shrill, whiny noise, and the drags tend to chatter slightly. How might I get rid of this noise?"A: The best answer is to send the reels back to the manufacturer. Most companies have developed a special grease that works well with their reels.
Q: I fish for freshwater trout with two nymphs on my leader. I am dabbling in saltwater fly-fishing, but it seems people use only one fly on the leader. Is it wrong to use two flies?James Holden,Birmingham, Alabama
Q: What is the correct way to get rid of salt deposits on reels and rods, and how often do I need to do it?
Years ago, fly-fishermen usually had one or two rods and a sinking and a floating line — period. Now anglers often wonder, with all the fly lines available today, how to mark lines to indicate their differences.Since the early 1960s, I have been using a simple system that works for me. It won’t tell you that this is a bonefish, striper or redfish taper, but it will indicate the line’s weight and taper.
Lefty provides a tip angler Bill Bishop shared with him after learning the hard way: