Top tips on the salt with Joshua Hutchins

Salt water fly fishing offers the travelling anglers exciting fishing opportunities for multiple species that are some of the hardest fighting fish in the world. From wading tropical flats sight fishing for cruising bonefish and permit to fishing surface flies for heart stopping aggressive takes from Giant Trevally. Saltwater fly fishing has been extremely popular for years and so we caught up with Joshua Hutchins from The Aussie Fly Fisher to ask him a few questions and top tips for fishing the salt.

What is so good about saltwater fly fishing Josh?

I love all fly fishing – fresh and saltwater – but over the last few years saltwater fly fishing has become more of an obsession than the fresh. The fast-pace, diversity of species and endless variety of fishy scenarios always keeps me on my toes. 

What are your favourite set ups for Saltwater fly fishing?

8 weight 7X Rod & Opti Rapid Reel – Big Bonefish / Triggerfish / Golden Trevally / Queenfish

9 weight SW Fast Rod – 7-9 Q Reel – Permit / Triggerfish / Blue Bastards / Barramundi / Golden Trevally / Yellow-Tail Kingfish / Queenfish

10 weight 7X Rod – Opti Strike Reel – Permit / Triggerfish / Blue Bastards / Tuskies / Tarpon / Tuna / Yellow-Tail Kingfish / Milkfish

12 weight SW Fast Rod – Opti Gyre Reel – Giant Trevally, Napoleon Wrasse, Coral Trout

What are your favourite Saltwater destinations?

Each location is special for different reasons but if I had to pick the top five from where I have fished so far, they would include:

  • Wessel Islands, Australia – Permit, Blue Bastards, Barramundi, Tuskies, Queenfish
  • Cosmoledo Atoll, Seychelles – Giant Trevally, Triggerfish, Milkfish, Bonefish
  • Golden Bay, New Zealand – Yellow-tail Kingfish on the flats
  • Florida Keys – Tarpon
  • Tetiaroa, French Polynesia – Giant Trevally & big bonefish.

What is next on the hit list?

An Atlantic Permit or Rooster fish would be the next two species I’d love to tick off. I love anything new, challenging and different.

What’s your three best pieces of advice for someone starting in saltwater fly fishing?

1. Practise your casting. From my experience, what might get you by in freshwater, doesn’t always reach the standard in salt. Practise delivering a cast quickly, consistently and precisely. 

2. Be open minded. Set yourself species goals but cast at everything. Just because it isn’t a permit doesn’t make it a worthless fish. 10 years ago, Triggerfish were mostly ignored at Christmas Island. These days it’s one of, if not the, main drawcard.

3. Be prepared. Research the right gear, flies, leaders and apparel to bring on a trip. If you want to catch GT’s in a heavy reef, don’t turn up with just a 9wt and a 20 year old reel you found at a yard sale. Saltwater will test your gear to the limit.

Why do you choose to use LOOP gear?

When I first connected with LOOP, their slogan was something like, “We make fly fishing gear – the cool stuff”. That resonated with me. Lots of companies make quality gear, but often it all looks and performs the same. LOOP takes its own path, pushing the boundaries of new technologies and making gear that looks unique. The new 7X rod series is a perfect example – light, yet strong; powerful, yet with feel; accurate and unique. No one else is making a 7-sided rod – it’s different and damn good!

These days the calling is simple – “Connecting Fly Fishers Worldwide,” and it’s a community I am proud to be a part of.

Unique to AUS the Blackspot Tuskfish ‘Tuskie’ in Whitsundays, QLD

If you would like to get into saltwater fly fishing or join Josh on one of his many hosted trips you can find out more information of what’s on offer at www.aussieflyfisher.com

Here are a few shots from last year out on the salt.