Hey Hunter1, you'll have a blast fly fishing in SW -- and you have a big head start on a lot of folks since you've been at it already chasing trout-- so you'll have the casting mechanics and all the other basics down.
Leaders for SW are generally a lot less complicated than the ones used for trout, and you can get away with pretty simple ones in most cases. (Down the road at some point depending on what you chase you'll want to learn stuff like bimini twists, and attaching heavy mono or wire bite tippets, but for now keep it simple).
For the sinking line, a straight shot of 3' of 15-20lb mono--- and it can be regular Ande fishing line as opposed to special tippet, should be fine.
For the floating line you could probably get away with the same straight shot of mono, just a little longer at 6' or so. A better setup that will turn over a bit better to lay out your flies at the end of the cast (and one i typically use up here in the NE for stripers on a floater) would a simple 9' leader that you can easily make using a 4-3-2 formula--- for an 8 or 9 weight:
butt 4' of 35-40lb mono
mid section 3' of 25-30 lb mono
tippet 2' of 15-20lb mono
In SW, you never know what you may run into, so it's generally a good idea to keep a weak link somewhere in your leader (usually the tippet) at a lower lb test than the lb test of your backing--- that way if you do get broken off by a hot fish (or jet skier
) or get snagged on the bottom in deep water, you have a better chance of getting your fly line back. So for example if you have 20lb backing, use 15lb tippet, if your backing is 30lb you can go up to 20lb.
As far as flies, without knowing where you are or what you're fishing for, it would be hard to beat a couple chartreuse over white clousers in size 2 and some olive or blue over white deceivers size 1 or so, since they'll work just about anywhere for anything-- at least some of the time, and they'll be easy to throw with an 8-9 weight--
But let us know where you live and what fish you'll be chasing--- and let us know if you tie flies. There are tons of patterns--- and some of them are super easy and use inexpensive materials. You'll basically want to end up with an assortment of flies that will do 3 things:
-Have a selection that will cover you for the range of most common baits in size and profile-- this will depend on where you are and what you're fishing for. This might range from mostly baitfish imitations from 2”-10” for here in the NE to a selection of stuff that imitates shrimp, crabs, and 2-6” baitfish for FL.
-Cover the water column from top to bottom
-Cover special situations you're likely to run into (not every special situation)-- these will vary depending on what you're chasing and where you're fishing examples - might be weedless flies for fishing in grass or over oyster beds.
Let us know what you’re chasing and folks can give you a lot more specifics. And tell us a bit more about how you plan to fish—although there can be epic days, fishing from the surf can be tough—often the wind will be in your face, and getting a good presentation in a current that sweeps along the beach and with waves, and sand beaches often don’t have a lot of holding structure for fish. You might be better off fishing on the inside of inlets, sheltered bays on the backside of barrier beaches, or flats.