The pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place - Gary, in an unusual move, answers the second set of questions one week later than the third...
Here are the answers to the first set........................ (second - Paul)
To, Paul 'swampy' Arden
I know I promised not to use 'swampy' again but I just can't resist.
'Big Paul' tells me that the swampy hat has been lost at sea - It must have left some oil slick as it went down !!
With regards to your estuary questions - sorry I did not get back to you sooner but I have been away for a week or two and very busy, however as a generalisation I would be tempted / without seeing the place at first hand to treat and fish it as you would a river. casting across and letting the fly swing on the current, varying the retrieve depending on the imitation you choose. Usually the first couple of hours as the tide makes and again when it turns are often the more productive times especially if these periods coincide with dusk or dawn.
Fish will push into the estuary with the tide in search of crabs and shrimps which become more active as the water deepens. If the estuary has rocks and or weed beds it is worth making note of their positions at low water as they can be the productive areas to concentrate on later.
Waves can cause problems, but providing you can still stand when wading - and cast, they can also be an advantage as they churn up the sand exposing food items. Try and position yourself so that you are casting across the waves rather than into them. Fish will often feed in the slots between waves picking up the freshly uncovered morsels.
Finally, from a safety aspect always try and walk the area at low water making mental notes of gullies and any other places which could cause a wading problem when flooded. It is easy to wade out through a couple feet of water to a likely looking spot, but two hours later, trying to get back through six feet of roaring tide can mean a soaking at the very least !!!!
Thanks! I'm actually starting to get that fish catching feeling when I think about saltwater fly - so my confidence is certainly building. I particularly like the parallels to river fishing down and across (I can do this!)...