While I haven't regularly fished in years, I am no stranger to the fly rod. I fished in the northeast US on many of the famed streams and rivers there for trout and salmon for many years, became a very accomplished fly tyer and angler, and was even published in flyfisherman magazine a couple times back in the mid 90s on both tying and fishing. I'm not bragging, just giving you a little background that I'm not a n00b when it comes to casting a fly.
However I *am* a n00b when it comes to salt water angling. I was on vacation this past January in the Florida Keys and visiting family near Sarasota and took a couple charters out. Even though it was, according to the guides, the most "off" the season gets my desire to do a lot more salt water fishing was ignited. I spent a couple days banging the hell out of mackerel on one trip and sea trout on the other. My fiance even hooked a 9' nurse shark on her spinning rod....I couldn't convince her to learn to fly cast.
I've been working in Afghanistan the last couple years (civilian, not military) and will be coming back to the US based out of Sarasota. I'm probably going to buy a boat soon after arriving and I most definitely want to catch some fish. I'm wondering what the group's thoughts are on decent all around rod and reel combos? It's coming into winter so I assume (again, I know next to nothing about species and seasons in the gulf) the fishing is or will be winding down soon.
I do tend to prefer lighter tackle. As an example my favourite trout rod was a custom 3-weight bamboo beauty. Wrangling in a 3lb brown trout on the Delaware river with 8x tippet during the trico hatch on that rod was about the most fun I've ever had on the water. Anyway....
I was considering going with a 5-6 weight rod as a starter and wait until the spring to go heavier...I'm definitely going to go hunting tarpon as soon as they are running but I'll get that equipment later. For now, I'd like a versatile combo that I can take out prospecting and not be too terribly under-gunned while still having enough beef in the rod to handle what I find and get the line where it needs to go. But if I'm completely nuts for thinking 5-6 will be enough please say so.
I appreciate any and all feedback and am looking forward to getting on the water next month. Anyone familiar with the Sarasota/Tampa area is also very welcome to chime in with hot spots and GPS coordinates.