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Attached please find a photo of me with a beautiful brown trout caught using my new Abel reel purchased from Leland. You guys are the best in offering advise and your upgrade program is Great !!!!
Having fly fished for over 40 years, I have accumulated a lot of equipment that I don't use anymore…that is until I found your upgrade program. Now I am able to have the Loop Cross S1, what I consider the best fly rod made. I can't thank you enough for providing this service. Leland has a customer for life now.
wanted to post about a great experience I had with Leland Outfitters
and their exchange program. I shipped them a bunch of old flyfishing
equipment I no longer used, they cleaned it up and sold it on ebay for
me, and I was able to buy new equipment. It all worked just as it was
supposed to, and that doesn't happen very often these days. I can highly
recommend you do business with this shop.
This will be my third and fourth rods to sell
through the Upgrade Program. The first sales went so well. I was impressed at the
professional way everything was handled from the start to buying my new Scott T2H switch rod. I
am convinced that you net me more cash because of the great presentation and the
I recently went on my first Salt Water trip and after
doing some research I decided to go with the Hatch reels for the trip. I
was not disappointed by their performance. When I returned to the
States, I decided to make the full conversion to Hatch reels for all my
fly fishing and the Leland Upgrade Program was perfect for this goal. I
sold all of my non Hatch reels and used all the profits to replace my
old fresh water reels. I got top dollar for my old gear and I had no
hassles selling it. Leland took care of it all.
My only problem is now I also started buying from the Leland Upgrade
listings. I found some great values and hard to find
merchandise. I check the listings very few days looking for that new
used gear item I can't live without.
The program is very well run and organized. The staff have
been excellent in customer service. I would highly recommend this
I want to thank the Leland Upgrade Program for this
incredible program! You guys made it possible for me to sell my used
gear, some of it decades old, and get equipment I’d been dreaming about.
When I sent my gear to you I had hoped to sell enough stuff to
partially finance one particular Winston bamboo fly rod. Not only did I
get the Winston bamboo but amazingly I was able to pick-up two Winston
IIIx rods and a tackle pack for my spring bonefishing trip to the
This program is great! Selling my used equipment was easy,
stress-free and may have contributed to the improvement of my marriage!
"About my experience with Leland Upgrade I can address to
that no matter if you are selling or you are buying from
like I did few times during last three years, you can
be absolutely sure
that your product will get best professional evaluation and
presentation allowing other people to buy it with confidence
and trust. In my opinion this is the key of any Upgrade program and
Leland has developed it extremely well."
"I am heading to Belize for some saltwater fishing in
June, 2011. Needed to standardize my reels. Had an Abel Super 8 and Sage
3400D with spools for my 10wts. Decided to purchase two Tibor Riptide
reels but how do I sell my Abel and Sage? Bingo, the Leland Upgrade
Program. Jon & Casey handled the selling of the reels on eBay from
start to finish. I received a good enough price that I was able to
purchase one of the Riptides and some accessories. If this program was
not available I would probably still have the two reels and spools. Jon
and I are also working on some additional equipment that I need. To Jon
and the Upgrade Program, "Job Well Done"
Larry was most impressed with the communication from the Upgrade Team during the sale of his gear.
Best of all, he got a little more credit out of the experience than he expected. Here's how Larry's expectations were exceeded:
“When I first came upon it
online, I thought it would be a good way to sell some old fly fishing
equipment, and I didn't have any idea as to current value, collectiblity
or demand,” Larry said. “I had a number in mind as to what would be a
fair price for my gear and was pleased and surprised to have gotten
twice what I expected.”
The Lower Sacramento is rated one of the best tailwater fisheries in the US. It flows through downtown Redding, meandering through residential subdivisions, office buildings, and recreational areas. This river is a lifeline for most of California, providing water for central valley agriculture. It just so happens that Rainbows that inhabit the river are football shaped and weigh up to 15 lbs. The predominate fishing method for the Lower Sacramento River is by drift boat. Although, drifting can be the most sucessful method; it is not the only method.
Difficulty rating of the Lower Sacramento River - Beginner
This rating comes with a caveat. The Lower Sacramento River is a very large river and can be baffling to even expert anglers. However, if you get a good guide a complete greenhorn has a great shot at catching a nice fish. Indicator rigs are the best for fishing the Lower Sacramento.
Species in the Lower Sacramento River:
Fishable flows on the Lower Sacramento:
Drift boat: 3,000-20,000 cfs
Most productive time of year to fish the Lower Sacramento River:
Hatches on the Lower Sacramento River:
Recommended reading for the Lower Sacramento River:Fly Fishers Guide to Northern California: Seth NormanCalifornia's Best Fishing Waters:Licenses to fish the Lower Sacramento River:To fish the Lower Sacramento you need a California Fishing License.
Access on the Lower Sacramento River:Wading The Lower Sacramento:Codwell ParkThe Sundail BridgeKnighton IslandGirvan Rd.Anderson River ParkDeschutes BridgeBoat Access on the Lower Sacramento River:Posse GroundsBonnyview Boat RampRiverside RV ParkAnderson River ParkRoosters LandingLodging on Lower Sacramento River:Hotels:
Aaron Grabiel - The Northern California Guide
Fly fishing gear for The Lower Sacramento River-
Casting large indicators, heavy split shot, up to 3 flies, and not to mention the enormity of the fish make the Lower Sacramento River a six weight fly rod river.
If you have any more questions on The Lower Sacramento River please feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 415.781.3474
Selling fly tackle through our world renowned ebay store maximizes consignee returns and ultimately puts more money in your pocket. That's where Leland Fly Tackle Consignment comes into play. Sometimes you don't need new gear... maybe you have acquired a family members collection of tackle, you no longer fly fish, or you just need cash. Leland's here to help turn this tackle into cash.
What makes Leland Fly Tackle Consignment different than other consignment programs out there?
The beauty of our program is that each item is sold as a 7 day auction on ebay... after only 7 days it's sold. No more waiting months for a shop to sell your tackle in the back corner or other websites that list items at a set price who receive little or no traffic. Ebay is a worldwide marketplace and Leland has mastered the art of selling here. From our 5 high resolution studio photos, to compelling item descriptions and accurate condition assessments we are a trusted source for those looking to purchase quality tackle. What does that mean for you the consignee? More $$$, our sale prices are consistently 15% higher than other selling methods and you won't even get your hands dirty. We do all of the work, from cleaning to minor repairs because our goal is to make you more money!
What are your consignment fee's?
Leland Fly Tackle Consignment takes a commission of 30% after ebay and PayPal fees are deducted (10% of the sale price). Remember, you would pay these same fees if you sold the item yourself. Example: If an item sells for $100, $10 goes to ebay and PayPal, and you keep $63.
What form does the money come in?
All you need is a PayPal account to receive your cash return. PayPal is a secure form of money transferring and it allows you to use the money for other online purchases or simply transfer to a debit card or linked bank account. If you have more questions about PayPal just ask.
How long does it take?
From the day we receive your gear, it generally takes 2-3 weeks for all items to sell and for Leland to issue a one time PayPal money transfer. Leland Upgrade credit is updated each week while Leland Consignment transfers are done once all your items sell.
Can I get some money in cash and some in store credit, maybe I want a new fly rod outfit?
Of course you can. Please let us know first, but we can split any of your proceeds into a gift card and the remainder into cash via PayPal. Many have sold their tackle after leaving the sport and decided to gift new gear to the younger generation, son's, daughter's and grandchildren. Don't give them your old worn out gear, get them something new they'll enjoy for many years to come.
Turn your fly tackle into cash with the world's most trusted trade-in program
>> WHAT OUR UPGRADER'S HAVE TO SAY
>> GET STARTED
What is Leland
What is your Returns/Exchange policy?
How long until my bank issues return credit?
Do I have to pay sales tax?
Do you match prices?
Do you offer price protection?
What is your shipping policy?
Can I use my Leland Upgrade credit on this site?
What methods of payment do you accept?
What is Leland Live Chat?
Your photos and copy are great; Can I use them?
What is Leland?
Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters is a full-service fly shop providing anglers in the Bay Area and Sonoma Valley with top quality education and gear since 1985. The difference? We only carry the gear that we endorse and fish on our days off. We guarantee that our curated inventory represents the best of today's fly fishing equipment.
Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters24120 Arnold Drive/Highway 121Sonoma, CA 95476Toll Free: (866) 672-1959Phones are staffed by Phone - Monday-Friday, 9AM to 5PM Pacific Timeservice@flyfishingoutfitters.com
We call it the FISH ON RETURN POLICY or FORP. If you buy something and if it falls short of your expectations in any way, or you just want to demo an item for 59 days and you did not fall in love, FORP it. Just send it back. This policy is good for 60 days after you receive a product, and it has virtually no restrictions. Rods, reels, waders, clothes, luggage, accessories. No Questions Asked. We're not happy unless you are. Simple as that. . . Fish On!!The only exceptions to our FORP policy are special order or custom items and items on sale. Our address for returns and exchange:
Leland Fly Fishing Company
Attn: Exchange/Returns Dept. 24120 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 94578
If you'd like to make an exchange, do so in one of two ways:
1) The Best Option is to immediately place an order for the replacement items. Do this online or over the phone with one of our fish whisperers. You will be billed for these items. At any time -- during, before, or after this second order -- you can ship us the unwanted items from your original order, and upon receipt of them here we will credit you for those items. Please use the back of your invoice for any comments, and include it (or a copy) with your return shipment. This method ensures the most efficient processing of your return, but more importantly, it ensures the best availability of the new outgoing replacement items.
2) The Second Best Option: Ship us the items you'd like to exchange. Please include a copy of your receipt and write instructions detailing the exchange (For example: "These Medium Waders are too small, exchange for size Large of the same wader.") In most cases, on receiving your original items, we'll issue a credit on the next Thursday. (If something comes up, we'll call you to get it straightened out.) Your replacement items will ship out within 2 business day and will be charged as a separate transaction. Please be aware that the hoped-for replacement items may sell out while your exchange is in transit. This is the reason that the above option is encouraged. If you'd like to make a return, please ship the items to the address above and include a copy of your receipt. In most cases, we'll issue a refund to the credit card you used for the original purchase on the first Thursday after receipt of your goods. If something comes up, we'll call you to get it straightened out. Worry not.
If we are shipping your purchase to a destination outside of California, you won't be charged sales tax. For those orders sent within the state, you will be charged the appropriate rate.
Click here to return to the top.
Do you match prices?
Yes. We do our best to keep our prices as low as possible. But if one of our competitors goes lower, don't hesitate to ask us beat their price.Please keep in mind that sometimes price-matching isn't as simple as it appears. We like to make sure we're comparing apples to apples. There can be great variation in the cost of bundled or kitted products. Some retailers choose to cut corners by using second-rate products to round out their packages. When comparing prices, please make sure to keep an eye out for such details!
In order to consider a price matching request, we will require proper documentation:
(1) A link to a webpage showing the lower price.
(2) A forwarded email with the price quote, including the name of the retailer in order to ensure that they are an authorized dealer of the products they're promoting.
Then lets get you fishing with great product at 10% less.
Click here to return to the top.
Do you offer price protection?
Yes we do. If you purchase a product from us, and we end up reducing the price of that item within 60 days of your purchase, you are welcome to contact us and we will issue you a Leland gift card for the difference. This policy only applies if we have the same size and color of the item that you originally purchased in stock, as sometimes we'll reduce prices when we need to get the last few stragglers of a given product out the door.
Please note that our Price Protection policy will not be applicable to promotional discounts. Promotional discounts are not applicable to previous purchases.
Can I use my Leland Upgrade credit on this site?
Yes. The Leland Upgrade Program and the credit it generates is a premium service now available on our websites. There are no exceptions. For more information about the Leland Upgrade Program, click here.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, American Express, and Master Card, as well as payment through Paypal.
Leland Live Chat is just like it sounds: an online chat service that allows you to connect with our team of fly fishing experts for one-to-one customer service. We want to be your local fly shop, so we utilize Leland Chat to answer your questions and help outfit you with the exact gear you need. So whether you are looking for a new fly rod or a set of wading boots for your upcoming flats trip, use the Leland Chat to talk with directly with someone in the shop.
Sorry, no writing or image from this site can be used without permission.
Feel free to LIVE CHAT with one of our experts.
Specifications • Fly Line Density: Floating • Fly Line Taper: Long belly, weight forward with welded front loop • Total Head Length: 51 feet (for 5 weight line - varies by line weight) • Running Line Length: 49 feet (for 5 weight line- varies by line weight) • Total Line Length: 100 feet • Core: Braided multifilament for cold water use • Coating: Sharkskin Micro-textured surface on 3M PVC • Line Weights: 3 through 8 weight • Colors: Blue Heron (gray) or Chartreuse PROS- Technological breakthrough greatly improves overall fly line and fly fishing performance; less friction, greater casting distance, higher floatation, easier mending, better presentation, more stealth, less line memory, improved potential durability, with less effort from the caster. CONS- $100 price is about $40 more than other premium fly lines. Creates much more noise going through fly rod guides than smooth fly lines. BOTTOM LINE – One of our basic fly fishing tools has experienced significant improvement! If the durability claims hold up, there’s no reason not to buy this line if you dry fly or nymph fish in moving water. The Sharkskin should be economical to use in the long run.
Fly Fishing, as popular as it may seem from its prominence in television ads, is still a very, very tiny industry. The total money spent on our several hundred year old art form pales in comparison to even recent phenomena like Pilates, for example. Yet, because fly fishing holds a fascination for a dedicated following, there are intelligent people in our world who devote themselves to finding ways to improve the fly fishing tackle that we all use. Almost all of these improvements are small ones. As manufacturers learn technologies from one another, product categories are slowly refined; Rods get lighter, faster, and more powerful. Reels become smoother, more rigid, with better drag performance. But rarely does a piece of new equipment come along with multiple attributes that clearly sets it apart from others. Well, that’s just what’s happened with the introduction of the new Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Fishing Line. And I’m going to tell you why you’ll probably want to spend $100 to get a Sharkskin, if you can find one. Even if you’ve just bought a new fly line.
The new Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Floating Fly Line features a remarkable, patented micro-replication embossed surface that greatly improves overall fly line performance in virtually every category; higher flotation, less friction, less line flash, less line spray, less line coil and, purportedly, greater durability. The result is enhanced fishing performance with increased casting distance, easier mending, easier line pick up, greater stealth and better drifts. • Patented, micro-textured fly line surface greatly enhances overall fly line performance • Superior shoot-ability with greatly reduced friction through the guides for easier casting and greater distance • Higher flotation reduces drag and greatly increases line mend-ability • Greater pliability significantly reduces fly line drag component in moving water • Fly line surface sheds water more effectively – less line spray • Line is purported by manufacturer to be up to 3 times more durable than other fly lines. • Textured surface eliminates line glare or flash—more stealth • Line lifts off water and roll casts with ease
The Sharkskin Fly Line made its official debut at the recent 2008 American Fly Fishing Trade Association Show in Denver, CO, where retailers gather every year to see the new gear and decide on their inventory for the following season. Of all the new products, the conversational buzz I most often overheard in the aisles was, “Have you cast the new Sharkskin Line from S.A.!?”, or, “It makes a lot of noise when you haul, but I’ve never cast that far!”, or, “I swear it was floating above the water!” I didn’t get to cast one at the Show ponds; I was too busy trying to see all the other new stuff, and besides, I’d heard sales hype so often in the past that my expectations, honestly, weren’t that great. But I was handed a new Sharkskin line at the Scientific Anglers booth, as were hundreds of other trades people, and I put it in my bag as I left. I took the line out in my hotel room that night, as I read the information on the 3M box cover. My floating 6 weight Sharkskin line was called “Blue Heron” but appeared a very dull gray with a texture similar to cloth. The line was very supple in my hand and felt like dry snakeskin. The box explained that the surface of the Sharkskin Line was modified with “micro-repeating structures” that “achieve surface interface properties that mimic nature, such as the ability of insects to walk on water, the shedding and self-cleaning ability of Lotus leaves, or the adhesion that allows a gecko to walk up vertical surfaces.” Wow! That sure sounded impressive. I made a mental note to read up on Lotus leaves later. Although I didn’t have a magnifying glass handy, the close-up photo of the line surface looked like fuzzy fish scales. The performance claims were equally grand, but, like rods or reels, you never really know until you fish them hard.
A couple of weeks later, I was on one of my favorite Northern California freestone streams. The nymphing was outstanding after a recent rain. I could see big Rainbow trout in exposed positions, feeding comfortably in the stained current. My relatively new long belly floating fly line, however, felt a little sticky, and was causing me to labor as I forced it through the guides. The front eight feet of the line was sinking. Even after I polished it to remove accumulated dirt and algae, I still felt I was working too hard. That night in camp I remembered I had the Sharkskin Line with me, and I mounted it on a spare reel to use the next day. In the morning, my first cast sailed ten feet past the fish I had spotted! In fact, the Sharkskin Line had so little friction going through the guides, I had to adjust my casting and mending over the next couple of hours to accommodate this phenomena. I was used to using far more power to accomplish these tasks with other fly lines. Now, it seemed I needed only half the energy to extend or shoot line. Single and double hauling was easier with fewer false casts. Texturing a fly line surface to reduce friction is not a new concept. Original silk fly lines were naturally uneven. The old Chancellor Chalkstream lines from England, and to a lesser degree, the old Sunset lines, had a dimpled surface, not unlike a golf ball, to reduce the amount of surface area making contact with the guides. Airflo, England’s premier fly line maker, recently introduced their bumpy surfaced Ridge fly line series in 2006. Scientific Anglers claims the patterning of the Sharkskin process reduces the contact surface area of the line up to 70%. Whatever it is, the Sharkskin, at least when new, has far less friction than any fly line I’ve ever used. I should mention that casting textured fly lines through fly rod guides creates more of a rasping noise than smooth lines, and with the Sharkskin, quite a bit more noise. It doesn’t bother me at all, any more than my click-pawl reel drag. So is the Sharkskin the ultimate distance full-length floating line? Well, that’s hard to say at the moment. Aside from texturing, fly lines in the past have either been stiffer and/or smaller in diameter to increase casting distance. The Sharkskin is much more flexible and softer, than other lines, bending more like a bicycle chain. Fly line taper comes into play for distance as well. The Sharkskin currently is offered in only one taper configuration, called the “Ultimate Trout Taper” in line weights 3 to 8. (note: after this review was published, SA has since introduced several new Sharkskin fly lines; Ultimate Trout Double Taper, GPX, Magnum indicator line, Steelhead Taper, Shooting Line for heads, and an ideal general purpose Saltwater Line - DS 4/09) This long belly, weight forward profile has a head length of about 45 for the 3 weight, ranging to 55 feet for the 8 weight, with a thinner, running line adding to the 100 foot overall length. This taper in a 6 weight performed extremely well for me, fishing at short to fairly long distances (70+ feet), both roll casting and overhead casting. I didn’t test the Sharkskin in a raw distance competition with my other high performance lines as I was mainly interested in assessing the Sharkskin’s fish-ability. The Sharkskin technology, either in the current Ultimate Trout Taper, or a future configuration, may very well prove to cast further than any other line. However, what I can tell you, from a practical standpoint, is that the Sharkskin Ultimate Trout will probably cast further, with less effort, than any other fly line for most casters in typical trout fishing situations. Note: This line is designed for mainly cold water use. Tropical saltwater fly lines typically have stiffer cores, so if that’s what you need, wait until S.A. comes out with a Sharkskin model suitable for that purpose (they have - see note above).
The most impressive, and important feature, by my reckoning, of 3M’s micro-replication process is its awesome flotation properties. I couldn’t believe how high my new Sharkskin line floated on the water, even the line tip! Fly line manufacturers have been struggling to improve line floatability for decades with decidedly mixed results. There’s only so much that you can do with a given mass of PVC with internal micro spheres to reduce specific gravity. Not many years ago, one could expect the best distance floating lines to start sinking immediately, and even most recently, the first six to eight feet of my dry lines will sink unless they were cleaned that morning, and they’ll still sink by the end of the day. Sinking fly lines increase drag and make line mending much more difficult and far less effective. The coatings on most floating fly line tips are barely capable of keeping them on the surface at all. According to Scientific Anglers, the micro-texturing of the Sharkskin Fly Line “Greatly increases the upward meniscus force (surface tension) through a combination of the water’s interaction with the new surface and the trapping of air into the valleys of the texture. The result is an over 200% improvement in resistance of the line to be forced into the water….effectively improving “floatation” of the line significantly beyond anything that can be achieved through the addition of glass bubbles or surface chemistries.” The incredible flotation of the Sharkskin had a profound effect on my ability to make drag free presentations. Firstly, the high floating fly line better supported the floating portion of my leader, keeping it up near the surface in rougher water. Secondly, the Sharkskin lifted so damned easily off the water that mending, stack mending, and roll casting could be accomplished with a fraction of the energy of my other lines, particularly at distance across disparate currents. Thirdly, the Sharkskin line itself has less drag in moving water due to its high flotation, but it also has less drag due to its suppleness, compared to other fly lines. Softer material, be it line, leader or tippet, will create less drag in current. Most trout anglers stake their fish catching success on their ability to present dry flies or nymphs in the most natural manner, which usually means as close to dead-drift as possible. Veteran anglers will understand the import of what I’m saying here, but let me re-emphasize for the less experienced; the new Sharkskin line does everything so much better that it will improve your fly fishing, improve your casting and strengthen your learning curve. The fly fishing line is, arguably, the most important functional piece of tackle you own, so we’re talking about something approaching the Holy Grail of desirability here. With this technology, fly lines won’t have to be so closely matched to rods, guide sizes on rods could conceivably be smaller and lighter, improving rod performance, sinking lines (when available) fished under tension would have greater tactile sensitivity. Not only that, the Sharkskin’s dull surface has virtually no line flash to scare wary fish, making it the most stealthy line available and a no-brainer for fishing spring creeks and hunting New Zealand brown trout. I’d strongly recommend the Blue Heron (gray) color for subtlety in most trout fishing situations. The alternative color, Chartreuse, while having low flash, is day-glo bright, suitable for anglers who have difficulty seeing their line or for fishing in very low-light conditions.
Scientific Anglers was founded in 1945 by fellow anglers Leon Martuch, Clare Harris, and Paul Rottiers in Midland, Michigan. They developed the first modern, plastic coated fly line in 1952, replacing silk fly lines which had been in use for well over 100 years. In 1954, SA introduced the Air Cel, widely considered the first modern floating fly lines. The development of 3M Microballoons in 1959 revolutionized the way that fly lines float and is the standard technology by which all manufacturers float their lines today. 3M, then known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, acquired Scientific Anglers in 1973. Today, 3M is one of 30 companies comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is ranked about 100 in the Fortune 500 listing with over $23 billion in annual sales, operating in over 60 countries with 29 international companies and 35 laboratories. It’s probably the largest company in the world directly involved in the fly fishing industry. No wonder these guys can make fly lines float! They obviously wrote the book on early modern fly line development and it’s not surprising that they have research and development resources way beyond the means of the handful of other major fly line makers that we usually see on the shelves, which include Rio and Cortland in the U.S. and Airflo in the U.K. Most other brands you buy are actually made by one of these few companies or in Asia. Machines to build modern fly lines are very sophisticated, very expensive, and take up a lot of space, to satisfy a very small potential market. Hence the dearth of players. So, why hasn’t Scientific Anglers simply rolled over their competition? Well, the other companies may be small by comparison, but they too, have been innovative at times, particularly in coming up with specialized tapers for different fishing situations. These tapers are designed by knowledgeable fishermen, not scientists, so sometimes the little guy gets the jump on the big guy. Rio Products, recently purchased by the Sage rod company, has been particularly active, and successful, pioneering whole new categories of Spey and single handed fly lines. I’m not a patent lawyer, but I’m guessing that the 3M micro-replication process might pose a difficult challenge for all other fly line companies seeking to mimic the advantageous properties of the new Scientific Anglers technology. Certainly expect S.A. to capitalize on Sharkskin with an expansion of the product line in the near future.
Frankly, we won’t really know the true durability of Sharkskin until enough of us go out and thrash the water for a while. Lines that last a year for a fishing guide might last ten years for a casual angler. My feeling is, even in the worst case scenario (that being Sharkskin isn’t any more durable than other modern fly lines), the $100 price would still be a bargain based simply on its performance advantages. When you think about the money that you spend on rods, reels, other tackle, and the gas just to get to where you fish, forty extra bucks is a small price to pay.
Check out the best fly fishing lines.
Fly line is a common term for the weighted line that, in conjunction with a fly rod and reel, delivers the relatively weightless fly fishing lure, or fly, to the targeted game fish in the sport of fly fishing. As described by the 17th Century fly angler and writer, Sir Izaak Walton, and others, fly fishing line originated as spun or braided lengths of natural silk. Although these early silken fly lines were quite effective, they were not known for their ability to cast flies long distances or for a lasting overall durability.
by J. M. Chico Fernández
photos by Chico Fernández
THE LIGHT WAS PERFECT as I aimed my telephoto lens at a
skiff working across the flats. The bow angler made some beautiful
practice casts, and I was sure the photos were going to be nice.
All of a sudden, the poler pointed to the right, and the
angler started to cast again. But this time, there was no loop. His
backcasts were hitting the water, and finally, his leader caught and
wrapped around the rod, ending any possibility of a shot. Even at a
distance, the angler looked four inches shorter in his humiliation.
I turned around to my friend, who was smiling broadly. "A
permit," he said. "They saw a permit." And sure enough, a few seconds
later, the angler started to practice his cast, which was once again
A little late, but lovely.
I cast my first fly to a permit in the mid-to-late 50s,
and today, with quite a few permit to my name, they still make me
nervous when I am getting ready to cast. There is something about permit
fishing that just makes an angler uneasy. Maybe it's the fact that you
could face a fish well over 40 pounds, and that same large fish can
often be hard to see in the flats. Or perhaps it's the fact that they
can be incredibly spooky even on a windy day; forget a calm day. Even
after a great presentation, they might come to the fly as it drops,
carefully inspect your offering long after it has reached the bottom,
and then reject it and go about their business of looking for real food.
It can leave you with the shakes.
As hard as it can be to find permit, and as tough as they
can be during a fight, I find the presentation and the retrieve the
most critical. The toughest thing about landing a big permit is hooking a
Given a good breeze — which is ideal for permit because
it helps conceal your profile — you are going to have to talk yourself
into being fairly aggressive in your presentation. You must cast close
enough that the permit sees or hears your fly when it plops and, more
important, sees it sink to the bottom. Remember that the only defense a
crustacean has when confronting such a swift predator is to dive to the
bottom and dig in. To a permit, this looks
like a crab or a shrimp (depending on your fly pattern)
trying to skip out on dinner.
So don't lead him by too much, just a couple of body
lengths or so is enough. And while you will occasionally spook a few
fish by being aggressive and getting too close, you will also hook more
fish than by being too cautious. There is nothing worse than an angler
casting all day to a few permit that never knew he was there. Spook them
or hook them.
If the cast did not land exactly where you want it to,
yet is still too close to pick up and cast again, then retrieve it
slowly. A long pull might put it were you want it. Or you can just
retrieve until you see the fish react, and then let it drop.
One exception occurs when you are chasing a permit or a
school of permit feeding into a strong current, which will be waiting
for crustaceans to drift their way. Here it may be wise to lead the fish
a little more than usual and let the fly drift into them.
Once you have made a good cast, you must interact with
the fish. That is, watch his reaction to the fly from the moment it
plops on the water to the take. Try to read the fish's body language
during all of this, because every fish reacts differently, although this
is certainly an area where experience is the ultimate teacher.
If he sees the fly dropping and comes over for a look, lay it on
the bottom as he investigates. If you feel you must move it, or you
can't stand it any longer, move the fly very slowly and such that it is
off the bottom. Dragging a fly across the sand will spook them.
Other anglers may fish the crab a little faster by swimming it with a long, slow pull.
Then, if this does not work, they will go back to the
drop-and-wait. But whatever you try, do not use sharp or abrupt strips.
This appears very unnatural to a permit and more often than not will
As you make your retrieve — even while you are letting
the crab fly sit on the bottom — make sure that you have no slack in the
line. This way, the moment the permit picks it up, you will feel the
take and are ready to strip-strike. If you don't maintain line contact, a
permit will pick up the fly for a few seconds and then spit it out
without you knowing. Happens all the time, to the frustration of the
guide who is begging for the angler to strike.
On that point, any permit angler should have a constant
line of communication with the guide or poling partner. Remember that he
or she is much higher than you on that poling platform and, if it is a
guide, has seen many more permit than you.
One exception to the slow retrieve is a school of small
permit in the flats, and by small I mean fish under 10 pounds or so.
These younger fish act more like jacks than mature permit, so it is
almost always better to use a faster retrieve and even a fishier fly,
such as a Clouser.
Cast in front of the moving school (like teenagers, small
permit always seem to be moving) and let the fish approach the fly.
Then, without any sharp strips that may scare them, strip, stop, and
strip. If you get no hits, mix it up with a few strips, a long strip,
and so on. By then, the spirit of competition among small permit will
usually trigger a strike. And remember to strip-strike before you lift
the rod, and to look at your line and not at the fish while clearing
your fly line.
In the way of leaders, I like the longest I can handle
in the prevailing wind condition. And half of that is butt section to
help turn over the typically heavily weighted permit flies.
Most of my permit leaders range from about 9 feet for
very windy days to almost 14 feet for fairly calm days. If it's super
calm, I do some other type of fishing (or head back to shore for a big
The single best tippet size for me is around 12-pound
test. I say "around" because some manufacturers' tippets are heavier
than others for the same test strength. Too heavy a tippet, and the crab
will not dive as fast and does not act as natural. But I do see anglers
using 16-pound tippet, and that's okay if the diameter is not too big.
Others even go to 20-pound tippet, but not me.
Everyone has their own killer permit fly, but in most
areas, the basic crab designs seem to do the best, followed by some
shrimp patterns. Rather than show you any of the crab flies I use, I
think it is more important to point out that you should have your crab
flies in two weight sizes. One should be lightly weighted with brass
eyes or bead-chain eyes, and you should have another group tied with
lead eyes. So, for example, you would have a light-colored Merkin in a
light weight and heavy; a dark color in a light weight and heavy, and so
on. This way, if the tide is high when you get to the flats, you go
heavy. If the tide is low and the fish are tailing in fairly shallow
water, then you pull out the lighter flies so you can land softly and
still get to the bottom.
Permit require one of the warmwater fly lines
specifically designed to put up with very hot weather and high humidity.
Most of these lines have a hard core (either braided
monofilament or a single mono core) to keep the fly line fairly stiff in
permit weather. Unlike for bonefish, it doesn't get too hot for Mr.
Permit. So in that high heat, ordinary fly line will hang on the guides
like wet linguini and refuse to shoot. They also tangle often, making
any line manipulation a nightmare.
A 9- or a 10-weight is the best line for delicately
presenting heavy crab and shrimp flies in shallow water. Any heavier and
you are pushing it; besides, what fun would it be to fight a permit
with a tarpon rod?
Use a 9-foot saltwater taper rod to match your fly line.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers have rods that are, at least in my
opinion, too stiff for the recommended fly line. So you may have to use
one line size larger on some rods. But try to stay with the 9- and
10-weights, if you can.
Despite the fact that permit grow several times larger
than bonefish, they tend not to run as far as fast. Even if you hook a
40-pound permit, you should be fine with a fly reel that holds around
200 yards of 20-pound backing. And of course, a smooth drag is a great
help and a pleasure to use. However, I have landed lots of permit while
using reels with light drags or clicker drags, just for fun.
Either way, the fight may be long not so much for the
blistering runs but for the permit's stubborn, jacklike fight. Before
you can experience that, however, you have to learn the necessary
patience to entice them to eat, and that can come only from fishing for
them as much as possible.