365 days, even in summer! Sea trout can be caught successfully all year round. For many fly fishers, the most exciting time to pursue sea trout even begins in June. That is exactly when many put their sea trout tackle cleaned in the corner. We give you some tips & tricks for summer fishing and show you a successful pattern and a real Simple Fly with the 'Day Foam Skater' by Martin Rieck.
In summer, we find the sea trout's preferred prey in shallow water, directly away from the shore. Shrimp, bullheads and kelp runners love the shallow and varied bottom directly behind the first bladderwrack, because there are many hiding places here and the small animals grow off much faster in the slightly warmer water - this is exactly what the sea trout know and this is the main reason why the fish always come within casting distance of us fly fishers, even in summer!
Fishing during summer differs only a little from spring or autumn fishing, when most people make their way to the coast. Without doubt, spring and autumn are considered the best months for sea trout. But don't forget about the summer months. Because even in the warm months of the fly fishing year, sea trout have to hunt, and they do so more than in the cold months, when the fish's metabolism is not running at full speed. So it is only a matter of time before the silver predators venture into the shallows to fill their bellies quickly and often aggressively. As fly fishers, there are a few things we can keep in mind to increase our chances during that period.
Tip 1: The Right Time
Successful summer sea trout hunting is a matter of finding the right time. The best hours in summer are of course the evening, the night and especially the early morning hours. In recent years we have noticed that the last hours of the night and the first hours of the new morning can be very productive. That's why we are often drawn to the water around 4 a.m., before the sun rises. The water has cooled down a bit overnight and the sea trout seem to be a bit more comfortable than later in the day when the shallows warm up. However, the morning fishing is by no means over with the rising of the sun! Many fish are drawn to the shore a second time in the late morning, before the scorching sun warms the water, to feast once more on the rich food before spending the day quietly in deeper water. But beware! We were only able to establish this 'theory' when the water temperature was 18 degrees or more. If the temperature is below 18 degrees and it is also an overcast day with some wind, sea trout can be expected all day.
Evening, Night, Morning - The best times for sea trout in summer
Sea trout are known as a migratory fish that move up into the streams of the North Sea and Baltic Sea to breed. While many fish are in the river systems during the colder months to ensure sufficient smolts for the next year, most fish gather in the sea during the months of May to August. This is another advantage! And: summer fish are bursting with energy and are not rarely overweight. This is due to the large amount of food. For the buffet is amply covered and the sea trout can strike at will.
Tipp 2: The Right Flies
In the summer months, the whole fly box can be fished, because every type of pattern imaginable is represented in large numbers in the Baltic Sea. But that doesn't make it at all easy to convince the fish of your own pattern. To draw attention to the fly of our choice, it is a good option to fish a fairly large pattern. This makes us stand out from the 'crowd'. Another 'go-to fly' in summer are so-called 'foam flies'. These foam patterns include Gurgler, Skater and Chernobyl Ants, which are presented on the surface of the water and leave an irresistible trail on the water. These foam flies often can't be big enough either!
The colours of the flies can be natural and light in summer. In summer night fishing, black is often mentioned as the colour par excellence, but it doesn't have to be! Of course, a black fly stands out a little better against the sky at night and provides a stronger contrast, but sea trout are excellent hunters, finding the smallest transparent critters at night. The colour black is not a must, rather the cherry on the cake.
Foam Flies for Sea Trout - Successful on the surface
The last fly tip is rather unusual for many and is rarely taken for granted. We are talking about dry flies, as we know them from fishing on the stream. Large Parachutes or a Black Gnat can be the key to success on very special days. Because sea trout also rise after flies that drift on the surface! And when they do, they rarely pick up other food. An offshore wind at a spot with fields and meadows breathing down your neck often results in a lot of insects being pushed onto the Baltic and falling to the water's surface. The fish often notice this faster than we do, as our eyes are not focused on floating insects. But when you see the first rings and the first head and tail, you should be alert. As rising fish are cast to and shrimp patterns are ignored to frustration, a small dry fly is the very best choice - don't forget a floating line!
List Of Materials 'Day Skater'
For our Foam Fly, the 'Day Skater' by Martin Rieck, you need the following tying materials.
- Hook: Gamakatsu F314 - Martin's favourite hook for sea trout. He chose a size #8 in this video, but always has samples in sizes 6-10 on hand.
- Tail: Polar Fox
- Highlight: Veevus Pearl Tinsel
- Under Body: Foam in two different colors, matching the tail (e.g. Fly Scene 'Thin Fly Foam')
- Hackle: Grizzly Hackle Saddle (e.g. Hareline Grizzly Saddle)
- Tying Thread: GSP Tying Thread
- Head: Round Grizzly Rubber Legs (e.g. by Wapsi)
Pelle's Day Foam Skater
In addition to your tying vice, you will also need the following tools and accessoires:
- Super Glue
This surface pattern can be varied at any time and has proven to be very catchy in many colour combinations. You can also experiment with shrimp eyes if you want to achieve a different look. Feel free to play around with different materials!
Tipp 3: The Right Spots
On particularly hot days, sea trout don't want to spend any unnecessary time in the warm water and it's often the same spots on the coast that the fish visit for hours at a time to feed quickly and then retreat back to deeper water. Many of our favourite spots on the coast can be used for the summer months, but you should always keep an eye on the water. Rising water is a guarantee for success anyway, but in summer it is more important than you think. The rising water not only ensures that the sea trout are at a comfortable water depth when hunting in the shore area, it also brings even colder water from the depths, and it is precisely this water that the sea trout follow.
In summer, beaches, reefs or basins that carry colder water are a good choice. Peaks that reach far out into the Baltic Sea are usually also places with moving, current-rich water. At these places we often find the essential, somewhat colder water. Likewise, reefs often form at the so-called headlands, which provide a habitat for many prey animals of the sea trout. In these places it is worth waiting for the fish to come closer to our casting range as dusk falls and every minute passes. But shallower areas that have a nice mixed bottom are also ideal places. Because even areas with a water depth of less than 1 metre are visited by the fish in summer as long as there is enough food. The colder water does not necessarily have to be within casting distance, but quickly accessible for the fish. A great leopard bottom in a bay can bring good catches, as long as the deep water is not more than about 50-80 metres away.
Hot Spot for Sea Trout during summer
To find the right spot, we like to use a fishing guide book or Google Maps. Here we can quickly find possible interesting beaches. Another help is provided by websites or apps that show us currents and give us information about rising water. If a strong current hits an area that we also find appealing on Google Maps, an attempt is often rewarded.
The wind also plays a role in the choice of a fishing spot. On the one hand, to place it perfectly on our respective casting hand and on the other hand, an offshore wind can bring several other advantages. While we prefer onshore wind in the off-summer months, we like to fish offshore in the summer. Offshore wind often brings a lot of insects from the fields and forests to the Baltic Sea, which in turn attracts sea trout. But, offshore winds also push the surface water that has warmed up during the day away from the shore, so that colder water from the depths follows. It goes without saying that the colder water and food on the surface is like a magnet for the sea trout.
So for successful sea trout fishing in summer, good planning is the key. It never hurts to pick out several beaches and check them against the current conditions and the prevailing wind. Often you are not the only one with a plan. Once you reach the water, the reef of choice may already be occupied. Before you get on each other's nerves or bring 'trouble' into the spot, which often has a negative effect on the fish, it's better to head for the nearest beach - fortunately, the Baltic Sea is big enough.
Tipp 4: The Right Tackle
For sea trout fishing in summer we advise light tackle due to the mostly pleasant conditions (and less wind). The rod can easily be a class #5 up to a #7 with 9.0 ft or 9.6 ft, which has a medium-fast to fast action, so that tight loops and a high line speed are possible. Because these two points ensure a good casting distance with minimal effort.
A Slow Intermediate Fly Line is usually the first choice for many sea trout anglers - and with good reason! But in summer we definitely advise to use a floating line. This is the only way we can offer our special sea trout flies with foam perfectly on the water surface, which is a great advantage especially at night! An ideal line for the coast is characterised by a perfect combination of stable control in low wind and enormous shooting power even against the wind. These are fly lines with a head length of 9 to 12 metres, whose weight is shifted to the front part of the belly. The design of Guideline's Coastal lines is a very good example. In addition, we always carry a sink line with a sink rate of sink2 to sink3, because if the sea trout don't come under land, it often will pay to try for cod and plaice in the summer.
Floating line and long leader - The right setup for the summer
As a fly reel, you should of course choose a model that fits the rod class and can also handle the salt of the North Sea or Baltic Sea. A closed, strong braking system with a smooth line pull-off will help you the most in the fight, even if a really big sea trout steps in, which can be expected at any time in the summer.
The leader should not be too fine, because sea trout are not shy of leaders and you can never tell how big the next sea trout will be that grabs your fly. In addition, a thin leader will cause the line to twist with the wind-sensitive foam flies. A 9ft leader with a 0.30mm diameter tip and a 0.28mm tippet is a good benchmark. The total length of the leader should be about 1.5 times the rod length. So it should be about 4 - 4.5 metres long.
A line basket is an absolute must on the coast, because without a line basket you will lose the sometimes important last metres in the casting distance and it can also be very annoying when the line gets caught in the bladderwrack by the waves.
It is also important to protect your eyes from flies in the evening or at night so that nothing goes wrong when fishing for the 'fish of a thousand casts'. Glasses with clear lenses or polarised glasses with yellow or pink lenses, such as those from Bajio or Costa, are reliable companions that on the one hand brighten up the available light and on the other protect your eyes from flies.
Sea trout are fierce fighters, especially in summer when the fish are in top form, which is why a wading net is one of our tackle tips. The landing net should have a sufficiently large opening in order to net the feisty fish quickly and gently. A rubber net or rubberised mesh is our first choice. Such a net is not only good for the fish, but it also dries faster and absorbs less odour.
Sea trout in summer - an absolute highlight in the fly fishing year
Highlight Of The Year
Summer fishing for sea trout is one of the highlights of the year for us. And we can recommend every fly fisher to use and enjoy this time. Because it is an extremely exciting fishery for the silver of the Baltic Sea - without having to freeze. The fish are plentiful in summer and are also very strong fighters. And anyone who has caught their first sea trout on a surface fly like our 'Day Skater' can understand why we can't stop dreaming!
We have put together a few of our tackle tips for successful sea trout fishing in the summer. We wish you lots of fun on the water and tight lines.