Odds and Ends
Polarized glasses will help you see through the water more easily and will also protect an errant fly from hitting you in your peepers and causing real problems.
When wade-fishing in any environment, it is always a good idea to carry a knife in a sheath on your wader belt. Should you ever find yourself underwater, it allows you the chance to cut yourself out of your waders quickly before they begin to fill up and turn an uncomfortable situation into a dangerous one. Before getting outfitted for the salt, it is always best to talk with a friend in the know or to search any number of fishing forums available on the Web (FFSW forum has one) and ask other anglers what is needed for the waters you will be fishing.
Probably the single most important piece of equipment a saltwater fly-angler will need is a stripping basket. A multitude of things can happen when fishing for bigger and faster-moving fish. A stripping basket allows you to know where your line is at all times. There are a number of ready-made baskets that anglers can choose from. A stripping basket is the American Express card to saltwater fly-fishing. Do not leave home without it!
Before tackling a fishing spot on foot, I recommend that you drive to the area you will be fishing before you actually fish it. Go to your spot around low tide and on either the full or new moon. This allows you to see the contour of the water you will be fishing before the tide comes up. Fish and the baitfish they feed on travel similarly to the way we do in our cars. Fish use channels, cuts, sandbars and troughs as highways to come into shallow water to feed and then make their way back into the safety of deeper water. It is important for you to find these highways, because they will be their paths in as well as their paths out. Once the water comes up you will already have an idea of where the fish will be. This holds true whether fishing a beach, a jetty or an estuary. Many anglers already know that some of our favorite game fish are nocturnal and feed best at night. Having scouted out an area at low water during the daytime can allow you to reap the rewards when coming back to fish at night. Fish tend to feed shallowest during low light periods.
One last piece of advice for the new saltwater angler: Keep a diary. Put down information like where you fished, which flies worked, what bait you saw in the water, water temperature (if possible), wind conditions, sunny vs. cloudy, water clarity and what stage of the tide you fished. This information will become invaluable to you and fellow anglers you wish to share information with. Fish are generally creatures of habit and will show up year after year at the same places (providing the food is there). A diary will become your biggest aid to angling success.
•Chest pack, fanny pack or backpack (to hold fly boxes, leaders, tippets, snips, etc.)
•Lens cleaner or wipe
•Foul-weather bottoms (jetty fishing)
•Boots (jetty fishing)
•Cleated shoes (jetty fishing)
•Pliers (in sheath)
•Knife (in sheath)
•Flotation device (rough water fishing)
•Shooting glasses (night fishing)
•Compass (wading during heavy fog)
•Head light (night fishing)