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Guide Lines to Becoming a Better Saltwater Fly Fisherman - Vol. 2

Having been a guide for over twenty years in both fresh and saltwater, I’ve pretty much run into almost every situation you can possibly think of. In this new series, “Guide Lines”, I’m going to focus on tips to help you become a better saltwater fly fisherman. These series of tips may be second nature to some of you, but I’m sure there are many of you that will simply say to yourselves, I can’t believe I never thought of that!


I’ve often been asked, “what should I wear on the boat?” For most of you, that’s simple. For those of you that do not know exactly how to prepare, here’s what to bring.

In saltwater, there are two things that should be on your mind when preparing for your next trip:

  1. Sun protection.
  2. Eye protection.


When considering what clothing to pack, remember to make sure you cover-up. I remember days, guiding in the Keys when I used to guide barefoot in shorts and a tee-shirt. The idea of a buff hadn’t even come out. By the end of the season, I was black from the sun. I can only imagine what they’ll be cutting off of me years from now.

For your packing list, make sure to include:

Breathable long pants, breathable long sleeve shirt, a buff, a sufficient hat, gloves, footwear and rain gear. Most likely, if you’re fishing in the saltwater, it will be warm, so make sure the clothing you bring is lightweight and breathable. One of the most frequently forgotten is rain gear. Anglers tend to look at the week’s forecast ahead of time. If they don’t see rain on the forecast, they often leave the rain gear behind. For one thing, you can never depend on a forecast in saltwater. It’s ever-changing. Additionally, rain gear can be used to keep the spray off of you when crossing big water. There’s nothing more uncomfortable to me than ending up soaked to the bone before the day even begins.


Proper sunglasses serve a number of purposes. For one, saltwater flats fishing is a game of seeing and targeting fish, proper polarized sunglasses are imperative. I prefer Costa Del Mar Sun Glasses, especially their 580 glass lenses as glass lenses are far more resistant to scratching. The best lens combination from Costa for flats fishing is a brown lens with a green mirror finish. These glasses will have you finding more fish, I promise. Secondly, sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun and from approaching flies that always seem to fly off target from time to time!

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on, it’ a good pair of glasses.

Remember, Costas are the best in the industry.


As you can tell, apparel really is a matter of protecting yourselves from the harsh environments of the salt. Remember to think lightweight and breathable, don’t forget your rain gear and make sure to bring a high quality pair of polarized sunglasses. I’d even bring a spare pair just in case.

Brett Novik

About the author

Brett Novik

Hi. Thanks for visiting Tidehead. I’m Brett Novik. I have over 20 years’ experience guiding fly fishermen (and women) in fresh and saltwater. I founded Tidehead to put that experience to work for you: booking only the very best guides and lodges. I have fished every destination we represent. I’ve seen the guides at work. And I’m confident that they will make the most of your time on the water.

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