Re: New to saltwater, need help?
Welcome to the board. Hope you have a great trip to OC.
Your 9 weight should be great.
First a couple things that are pretty important if you're new to SW.
#1 is safety- ALWAYS know where your backcast is going. If you fish from shore it's amazing how many people will walk into it completely oblivious if you're not careful. This is especially true now that beaches are crowded with tourists, but even other fishermen used to spinning or conventional gear may not pay attention. I'd also strongly suggest you pinch down the barbs and wear sunglases (polarized for cutting glare) and a hat with a brim (ball cap etc). Wind can be pretty strong at times, and casts can go a bit wild, especially if you're throwing weighted flies like clousers, wind resistant stuff like poppers or if there is a wind blowing towards your casting arm. If you fish jetty's footing can be very treacherous, and you'll need to keep an eye out for rogue waves and boat wakes that can knock you off.
#2 is taking care of your gear. ALWAYS give your rod and reel a spritz with freshwater- hit the guides, reel seat and reel to get rid of salt residue that can corrode your reel and rod very easily. And don't lay your reel down in the sand, even for a second. Sounds obvious, but it can easily happen if you bend for a fish or whatever.
#3 Tides and currents. Get a tide chart from any Bait and Tackle shop once you're down there. Also ask about currents tables, since they can be different than tides, often several hours later around inlets. (for the most part you want to fish moving water. Ask what combinations of tide or current might be best for different spots that folks suggest. If you have a few choices that tend to fish better on different tides you can pick spots based on conditions at different times of day.) You should also be aware of tides for safety, especially rising tides if you are fishing flats so you don't wade out some where on a bar and get cut off by rising water. Also be aware that tides are strongest and with higher highs and lower lows during new and full moons. In July that would be a few days before and after July 8 (full) and July 22 (new) and August 8 (full) and August 20 (new).
Other than that-
rod - 9 weight should be fine
line- use the line you have preferably weight forward, use your floater and if you have a sinker, bring that too. Intermediate lines are often used when fishing from shore, but if you have a floater use that. A SW line might be an advantage. They're usually stiffer and have a more radical taper. If you were to buy one for your trip, I'd suggest considering an intermediate that is one line weight heavier (10 weight line on a 9 weight rod) if you are wading shallow flats or a full sink (9 weight line for a 9 weight rod) if you're going to be fishing from a boat and bring your regular floater too.
Reel- whatever you've got should be fine. Just double check the knot that attaches fly line to backing.
Leader- nothing fancy needed here. For floating lines, a butt section of 35lb or 40lb mono 4' long to a 2-2 1/2' " tippet of 16lb should be fine. For intermediate or sinking, a straight shot of 16lb mono 4-6' long tied to your fly line is fine. I use clear Ande, available in any bait and tackle shop. They usually have it on bulk spools for filling reels conventional and spinning reels, so you could buy a 20-30 feet of some heavy stuff for butts and lighter line for tippet and wrap it around something like pieces of card board instead of buying 100yd spools.
Bite tippet- something like Tyger wire, a knottable wire leader for bluefish might be a good idea if they're around. A 6" length ahead of the fly will help prevent bite offs. Don't use it unless blues are around because it will cut down on hits for everything else. It won't stop blues though. Nothing does.
Pliers with a cutting edge for snipping heavy mono and wire.
Flies- an assortment of the basics- chartreuse clousers size 2, white (or any color like blue over white, olive over white etc) deceivers size 1/0 and a couple poppers or crease flies size somewhere around 2-1/0 would be good to throw. Have confidence in these flies, usually it's a question of finding fish rather than pattern. You'd be better off changing retrieves (fast, slow, letting the fly sink to get deep etc) than changing flies. This should cover you for striped bass (rocks), weakfish (trout/specs), fluke (summer flounder), blues, and any other oddball fish that might be around.
a shooting basket (stripping basket) is also a huge help if your wading. It collects the loose line off the water while you're false casting and will add a lot of distance to your casts instead of trying to rip it off the water when you shoot. This goes double for fishing with sinking or intermediate lines since the loose line will be sinking under the water, and it's like trying to shoot slack line that's wrapped in a towel. You can buy one from Orvis, or just make your own out of a Rubber Maid dishpan and a short bungee cord with hooks on each end. Drill or burn a hole in the rim of the short sides, and hook the hooks of the bungee cord through. You wear it around your waist.
a hook file, like a Luhr Jensen with a yellow plastic handle is a god send for keeping hooks sharp. They go for around 7 bucks and can be found in any B&T down there. You can easily roll points on rocks or shell beds. If you get a lot of bumps but don't get tight check you hook.
Fishing at night can be very effective. If you plan on doing that a small water proof flashlight on a lanyard is a must and/or neck/head lamp if you have it.
I haven't fished OC, so i can't give you locations and don't know the fly shop situation down there. But any Bait and Tackle will be able to give you some places to try. For FF, I'd look for sheltered areas where the wind will be either at your back or not as strong as the front (surf) with structure- sod banks, shell beads, backside of inlets, flats near drop off (boat channels). Typically low light is best, especially before boat traffic starts kicking up,
though it can happen any time.
have a great trip and let us know how you do.