Fly fishing in Myrtle Beach is off the hook

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When most people think of fly fishing, they picture old men standing in a mountain stream wearing floppy hats and hip-waders while casting their lines at trout and salmon.

The Atlantic Ocean and, more specifically, Myrtle Beach? Not so much. Ocean angling is more commonly associated with deep-sea fishing for the big bottom-feeders, or tempting the predatory fish to the surface with spinner baits. Fly fishing and surf fishing do not mix.

But that line of thinking has changed in recent years as fly fishermen are finding prime territory in the ocean flats and inland rivers and estuaries. While the direct ocean waves and wind make it difficult to properly and accurately pop your line, there are friendlier waters both inland and out to sea. In fact, many anglers consider saltwater fly fishing to be the most fun way to fish.

So first you need to know how to fly fish, even if you just need to brush up on your skills before tackling the bigger game the ocean can throw at you. The Orvis retail outlet at Market Common holds Fly fishing 101 classes each Saturday, and for the slightly more experienced, Fly fishing 201 on Sundays. The graduate level course, Fly fishing 301, involves a fishing trip with a professional guide with knowledge of both fly fishing techniques and where to go to land the big ones.

The BASS Pro Shop at Myrtle Beach Mall also holds regular flyfishing classes, and both stores offer all the gear and licenses you will need to get started. Of course, there are charter boats and fishing guides who can provide everything you need. Carolina Guide Service and Kingfisher Guide Service operate out of Murrells Inlet, and Little River Fleet and Myrtle Beach Guide Service sail out of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Take a trip to the backwaters of the Grand Strand, such as Winyah Bay and Murrells Inlet on the south end and Cherry Grove Inlet and Bird Island on the north end, to battle red drum and tarpon. Or head out to deeper, calmer waters and pop the top for hungry marlin and tuna. Some even fly fish from local piers, depending upon which fish are running at the time, in search of blues, pompano, whiting, flounder and spot.
The fly fishing stamp on your license may cost you a few extra bucks, but think of all the money you’ll save on hip-waders.

(posted 7/23/14)
(Photo courtesy: mbguideservice.wordpress.com)