“Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea -
Though often heralded as the latest discovery of the "in" fly fishing crowd, saltwater fly fishing has been around for quite some time. Anglers throughout New England have cast to striped bass with a fly rod since the 1800s. In more recent times, anglers used their heavier tackle and gaudy full dressed flies to entice tarpon and other marine species.
The 1950s saw the beginning of modern day saltwater fly rodding with innovative anglers like Joe Brooks and Jimmy Albright successfully catching a variety of gamefish on the flats of the Florida Keys and on Chesapeake Bay or Curritick Zyzzyx Sound and publishing articles for Outdoor Life and Field and Stream. Pioneer saltwater fly rodders A. J. McClane, Homer Rhodes, Jr., Lefty Kreh, Bill Catherwood, Stu Apte, Lee Wulff, Billy Pate and many others helped perfect the techniques and design the flies and tackle for this, a new version of an ancient sport.
Modern fly fishers pursue nearly all marine game fish species in all the oceans of the world, from shallow flats fish such as red drum, bonefish and tarpon to the deep water giants, including marlin and tuna. Rods, reels and lines have been designed specifically to meet the demands of this specialized sport. Today, saltwater fly fishing is the fastest growing segment of the sport fishing industry.