How to Get a Grand Slam in the Salt

Earl Waters

Fly Fisher/Guide/Fly Tier

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Earl Waters has achieved over 300 grand slams in the salt for his clients and himself so he knows his stuff. Find out from Earl how to land a tarpon, permit and bonefish all in one day.

Earl Waters
How to Get a Grand Slam in the Salt
Earl Waters How to Get a Grand Slam in the Salt

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Grand slams are very challenging. Very few anglers are able to get a tarpon, permit and bonefish in one day. So if you’re planning to make a grand slam in the near future, it’s high time to start learning the strategies and techniques now.

Earl Waters has over 300 grand slams to his credit, which includes his client’s and his personal grand slams. Earl runs a guide shop out of Homosassa, Florida and does his work in Homosassa, the Florida Keys as well as throughout the Florida coastline. He provides fly fishing guide services and leads people into getting grand slams.

The term “grand slam” became popular in baseball and eventually people started talking about doing fly fishing grand slams.

The International Game Fish Association defines grand slam as when an angler catches three species in the same day.

In the state of Florida four different grand slams are recognized. One is in South Florida which includes tarpon, permit, and the bonefish. Another is in the Florida panhandle which includes a spotted sea trout, redfish, and the cobia. In the Florida East Coast, there’s the sea trout, redfish, and tarpon. In the Florida West Coast, you will find the snook, redfish, and tarpon. Earl believes that all of these fish are challenging in their own rights and it takes different techniques and tactics to catch them; however, in many fly fishers minds the combination of tarpon, permit and bonefish seems to be the ultimate prize to get.

Grand slams are also possible in Ascension Bay, Mexico and there are other areas in the Caribbean and in the Bahamas where it can be done. Belize is also a very popular fly fishing spot for grand slams. However, Earl still considers Florida as the place that has the biggest of the three species. “We certainly have the bigger permit and we have bigger bonefish.”

When he tries to get grand slams, Earl used to target the permit first and then spend the whole day trying to get it before the others. In this manner, he was bypassing the opportunity to catch some other fish, and the opportunity to catch the tarpon and bonefish as well. If you do this, there’s a chance of going home empty-handed at the end of the day. Now, he plans his day based on the tide that morning. “I like to get to the location where we’re going to find one of the three species. All three species overlap during the tide phases, but there are peak times in each one of those phases that you can target each species.”

Earl has proven that this approach enables him to get a multiple grand slam. His advice is this: “Have fun fishing, take advantage of that tide where those fish are, catching more than one of them and you’re on your way to a multiple grand slam”.

To learn more about Earl Waters' guide services visit his website,


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