For the Love of the Bay
To say that Captain Chris Newsome has salt water running through his veins would be an understatement. Having grown up on the water, Chris spent years fishing in the traditional style before seeking out fly fishing as a new challenge. The Captain helped pioneer the sport in Eastern Virginia as one of the area’s first saltwater fly fishing guides.Chris started fly fishing about 20 years ago, but he’ll tell you that it’s something you never really master. Even still, the fluidity of his casting technique is a sure sign that Chris is no amateur. Because saltwater rods are heavier than freshwater rods, casting in saltwater tends to be more difficult than freshwater casting. Techniques, strategies and type of fly lure are all dependent on the species being targeted. In the terms of a true fly fisherman, Chris calls this “matching the hatch.”
Fly fisherman take pride in creating their own flies for the sport. There are many benefits of creating customized flies — they tend to be more durable than store-bought flies, more specific to the fish of the region and most of all, it makes catching a fish that much more satisfying, knowing that you tied the fly with your own hands.
We spent an evening on the boat with Chris on the creek adjacent to his family home, where he showed us casting techniques and his handy trick of catching peanut bunker to use as live bait. After sorting through a few self-made flies resembling crabs, shrimp and minnows that he made himself, we headed around the cove near several private docks on the open waters of the Piankatank to catch a few fish. Tossing live bait near the docks sent the striped bass thrashing almost immediately. Within minutes, Chris reeled in his first catch of the evening.Among the many benefits of spending his time on the water as a full-time fly fishing guide, sharing his love of the Bay with folks from all over the world is the true reward.
To spend some time on the water with the Captain, visit Bay Fly Fishing for more information on sightseeing, lessons, and sunrise or sunset outings.
All photography courtesy of Adam Ewing.