A Brief History of the Conclave
The Conclave has been the flagship event for the "Salty" Flyrodders of New York since the club’s inception. It started in 1966 as a Shelter Island Weakfish Tournament for Salty members and moved to the Sound View Inn to accommodate more guests and epxand the fishing area to the entire North Fork from Mattituck to Orient. In 2010, a format change was implemented from single invited guest host (like “Lefty” Kreh, Lou Tabory, Bob Popovics, Nick Curccion, Ed Mitchell, Alan Caolo, David Skok and more) who made a slide presentation and casting demonstration to an “on the water” experience (and still evolving to include additional learning opportunities).
Fishing the North Fork and Shelter Island
The Conclave headquarters at the Sound View Inn is centrally located on Long Island’s North fork providing access to both Peconic bays and the Long Island Sound. These are prime Striped Bass locations with diverse structure and terrain available in close proximity to the hotel (pristine flats, estuaries, salt creeks, sand beaches, pebble beaches, boulder fields and deep channels). Town of Southold parking permits and a detailed fishing map will be provided to weekend program attendees. The Shelter Island ferry extends access to some less traveled beaches and estuaries and opens unique angling opportunities to the adventurous angler.
Friday June 10th
- Kayak Fly Fishing in the morning
- Check in at the Sound View Inn the early afternoon through evening
- Presentation on North Fork fishing locations, flies to use and latest fishing reports just before dinner
- Group dinner at the Sound View Inn in the evening
- Night fishing for those who are inclined
Saturday June 11th
- Group Breakfast and program check in at 8am
- Cocktail reception and banquet dinner (with huge raffle drawing) in the evening
- Night fishing encouraged for all
Sunday June 12th
- Group breakfast at 8am (submit fishing report and Conclave survey for presentation of tournament award)
- Check out of the Sound View Inn
- Kayak fly fishing after breakfast
Note that the Hospitality Suite is open 24 hours and fully stocked with snacks and beverages. It’s also a great place to get the latest fishing reports to plan your next stop! For a list of suggested items to pack in preparation for the conclave here is a packing list. For those who do not yet own a fly rod and reel, a limited number of setups will be available for rent for the weekend through a club member. If needed, please contact us about the rental ASAP by sending email to conclave(at)saltyflyrodders(dot)org.
The centerpiece of this weekend’s agenda is the guided fishing experience all day Saturday June 11th. Four top rated guides who all fish the Peconic bays will lead four sessions to share their experience reading the water for features that produce fish (structure, rips, bottom contour changes and color changes).
The principle goal of the program is to familiarize anglers with observation, evaluation and fishing techniques that will improve their rate of success in locating and catching fish with a fly rod in saltwater. Some knowledge of fly fishing equipment, rigging and casting will be assumed, so if you are lacking in these areas you should strongly consider enrollment in the beginners program that will be conducted that same morning and join the guides for the afternoon part of the program. The guides will address the collective group for the first 15 minutes of the session and then set everyone loose fishing while they attempt to provide as much individual assistance to each angler as possible. The guides will have experienced Salty members as assistants to ensure that every gets their questions answered. Anglers will need to attend sessions with their own gear and flies. Subjects covered by the guides during the session will include:
- reading the water
- fly selection and presentation
- adapting to changing conditions
- spotting fish
- identifying bait
- identifying structure
By becoming familiar with the areas highlighted during the guide sessions, the angler will be more intimately familiar with the area and where to concentrate their efforts if they choose to return in the dark of the night for more fishing. Daytime reconnaissance is a routinely employed strategy for the wise night time angler. Finally, there will be a round table question and answer session with guides during an indoor lunch at Sound View Inn between the morning and afternoon sessions. Get more questions answered and hear questions from your fellow anglers that you hadn’t considered yet. The guides will share their knowledge and expand on things they discussed during the morning sessions.
Beginners Casting Program
The beginners casting program is intended for Conclave attendees who have never made a cast a fly rod before or those who are inexperienced in casting in prevailing saltwater conditions (wind, obstructions, surf, etc.). We also welcome attendees to this program who merely want to add more distance to their cast! All three categories of attendee will get the same emphasis on practical casting techniques to achieve more distance, accuracy and consistency in their fly cast. We will maintain small group sizes to enable more one on one instruction which will be conducted both on grass and on the water (both walking distance from the Sound View Inn. The session will cover an overview of knots and rigging as well as essential gear and their purpose. The casting instruction will be conducted on the morning of June 9th so that attendees may join the afternoon guide sessions for angling instruction with more confidence in their casting performance. Participation in this program requires RSVP by June 6th for registered Conclave weekend or Saturday program attendees. Send email to conclave(at)saltyflyrodders(dot)org to enroll.
We will provide some basic instruction to those who have never used a kayak before and accompany beginners at all times through the experience. Instruction will be given using "sit on top" kayaks which are VERY stable and the preferred style of kayak for angling. All safety equipment will be supplied including a Personal Floatation Device and waterproof walkie talkie. Kayak rentals will be arranged for those who make such a request in their RSVP. Email conclave(at)saltyflyrodders(dot)org to RSVP for this event. On Sunday morning after breakfast, more experienced kayak anglers will have the opportunity to spend the rest of the day fishing from their own kayaks until they decide to go home. Kayaks provide a great way to explore areas that cannot be accessed easily (or at all) on foot and also allow anglers to get out into the deeper water areas where fish may congregate but which are also out of fly casting range from shore.
Banquet Dinner and Raffle
At the conclusion of the Saturday program, Conclave attendees gather for a night of revelry and camaraderie over cocktails and a sumptuous dinner. While dining, we conduct drawings for dozens of raffle prizes donated by our sponsors. These prizes include fly rods and reels, guided fishing trips, fly lines, books, magazine subscriptions, fly tying materials, boxes of flies and more! This part of the event represents the only major Salty fundraiser for the year. The revenue obtained from the raffle is used to operate other club meetings, events and to subsidize member benefits.
As our event is weekend long and some choose to fish by night AND day, we maintain a hospitality suite that is open 24 hours a day from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. The hospitality suite has all the amenities of a standard room except a bed. It is fully stocked with snacks and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and provides a great location for making a pit stop when travelling between fishing locations. A whiteboard will be present with the latest fishing reports to help you decide your next fishing destination. Club members will demonstrate tying techniques and produce patterns that work. At all times, you will find a helpful club member or reference that will enhance your weekend experience.
The Fly Masters Tournament is a friendly competition among weekend Conclave attendees for the largest Striped Bass caught. It is a catch and release tournament that requires a witness for the catch to encourage people to fish together and preserve the precious resource of fish for future generations. Qualifying fish must be caught when wading and with a fly rod. Hence, catches from a kayak may not be entered. The winner of the competition will be honored with a plaque at the conclusion of Sunday breakfast after all the fishing reports have been collected.
Area Family Attractions
While the Conclave program agenda is focused almost entirely on the angler, there are many attractions for the rest of the family should they decide to attend. The North Fork is noted for its fine dining, world class vineyards with wine tasting, golf courses, art galleries, museums, shops, boat tours, cinema, miniature golf and arcades. The Sound View Inn provides an on-premises restaurant, private beach, pool, and tennis courts as well as telephone, television and wifi internet access in every room.