Being a college student and spring break looming I'm in the beginning stages of planning where I would like to go, and this year I want to try and get more fishing in. Last year i traveled down to South Padre Island and just did a little bit of spin fishing and didn't catch a whole lot. This year I'm looking at galveston, PCB, Destin...etc... I will not pick a location based on fishing but where I can find a cheapest hotel room.. But Im not driving to SPI again. that was just awful, 21 hours straight was the worst idea i've ever had..
Moving onto the point of the post, what are some basic classic saltwater patterns that one should carry in a standard box. I know the basic clousers, decievers and seaducers, but also what colors. I know some blue and white clousers, red/white seaducers; but other than that I dont know a whole lot about SW fly fishing. I'll probably be fishing from the beach or jetties so would poppers be worth carrying? if i could walk to some flats should I carry a few crazy charlies or gotchas and if so what color. Are bendbacks a reliable, relatively snag free fly?
What about some articulated streamers liek articulated bunkers, circus peanuts?
I'm really just lost and need some direction so I can begin to start filling a box. How many flies would you salt guys suggest taking on a week long vaca?
I posted this in the salt section but it didn't get a whole lot of action and I am trying to get a relatively quickly so I can use the gift card that I got for Christmas, before I'm tempted to spend it on something that I REALLLY do not need.
I was once a SW fishing, tying, and Spring Break-ing college student so I'll tell ya what I know.
Tying- the main thing you left out of there was chartreuse and white clousers. They're THE standby on the flats here in TX, and have easily caught more redfish than any other fly. I'd tie them mostly in size 2-6 and with both bead chain and heavier eyes.
Destin's surf doesn't work well for spring break fishing, because the water's still too cold. (my balls sure thought so anyway) To my knowledge, a boat is pretty necessary for fishing the bay behind Destin, due to its depth. With to the power plant and warmed water, PCB will be better for wintertime redfishing out of Florida locations.
I don't know SPI all that well, but there's lots of walk-in spots near Port Aransas, TX. That would cut the drive down to about only 18hrs.
Big Cliff is right about the chartreuse and white Clousers. A must have color. Your idea of poppers is also good. An all white popper works on many different fish in Florida. You can get a kit from Feather-Craft that includes four bodies and hooks. You have to provide the saddle hackles to make the poppers. They work well on flats that aren't too shallow. You can make them a slider by reversing the body.
I don't think Destin fits your lowest priced hotel criteria. Destin is a really expensive area. Now if you are going for some action with the ladies, it is a great spot.
I think you would have better luck finding fishable water at Panama City, Port St Joe or St George Island. You will definitely find more reasonable hotel/motel rooms.
Your 8 weight should be perfect for redfish, speckled trout, and anything else you're likely to see on the flats like lady fish, spanish macs, bluefish, snappers etc.
I wouldn't go too crazy on patterns, at least until you tie a few of these basics--- Some size 2 chartreuse or chartreuse over white clousers, size 2, 1 or 1/0 all white, blue over white or olive over white deceivers, and something for top water like a size 2, 1 or 1/0 white or yellow popper or gurgler would be great choices. Add a size 2 bend back for shallow grass flats if you want something semi weedless for shallow water (don't make the bend too radical when you bend the shank of the hook, just a little bit is all you want).
To keep expenses down, you might want to use something like:
hooks: Mustad 3407DT hooks (the saltwater "Duratin" hooks are much less expensive than the stainless Mustad 34007, but the same shape hook) Size 2 would be a good choice if you only get one size
Thread: Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon in chatruese, black $2 each
Bucktails in chartreuse, white, olive or light blue in "saltwater" or "extra large" size about $5 each
Eyes: dumbell eyes and/or length of beadchain from hardware store (cut into pairs with pliers)
Flash : Pearl Krystal Flash $3.50 and Silver Flashabou $3.50
Body: pearl "diamond braid" or "body braid" about $2.50
Topping: 1/4 oz strung peacock herl about $3.50
Saddle hackle: White, 1/4 oz strung saddle hackle 6-7" long $3.50 for tails on Deceivers or you could tie a "Bucktail Deceiver" by just using bucktail instead of saddle feathers for the tail. You'll get some feathers with twisted stems or broken tips, but you'll also have a ton of useful feathers and the strung stuff is much less expensive than a full "deceiver" saddle
popper bodies from fly shop or for gurglers get a multi color pack of 30 sheets size 8 1/2 x 11" 2mm thick foam sheets for $6-7 from a craft store like Michaels, Hobby Lobby etc (MUCH less expensive than buying smaller 4" x 4" sheets from a fly shop for $1.50 a pop)
Good luck! Keep asking questions if you have them.
Thank you very much, I think i have a basic set of patterns to begin tying. It's not even for sure i'm going this year but it is good to be prepared just in case... plus it gives me a reason to tie more... and buy more. I'll mostly probably be tying on size 2 and 4 because my peak vice isn't supposed to tie any larger than that, is there really a reason to tie larger and warrant getting the saltwater jaws if I do not plan on tying a ton of saltwater?
Also, will I need wire leaders or will strong flouro be suffiecient against toothy critters?
As far as the Peak, although Peak says the regular jaws max out at size 2, i'd be surprised if they didn't hold some bigger hooks like up to size 1/0 or 2/0. You might want to check to see if that is the case before you buy a mess of hooks.
If you don't have a local fly shop that will let you try some loose hooks, send me a PM and I'll send you a couple loose ones to try.
If you plan on doing a lot of SW fly tying, including some on bigger hooks like 3/0 and up, the magnum jaws might be a worth while investment, but if you only plan on cranking out a few from time to time you probably can get away with the jaws you have now.
In any event, if I had to choose between size 2 and size 4 stuff for the fish you are chasing (reds, specs etc) I lean more to size 2 than 4 (I'd only tie some size 4 stuff for bonefish if i was chasing them.)
As far as leaders, for reds you won't need anything special-- just 10 or 12lb mono should be fine. But it wouldn't hurt to have some 20lb hard mono like Mason for some fish like snook or baby tarpon if they're around. I generally don't use wire unless I'm deliberately targeting bluefish, sharks or something like cuda. For those toothy fish I generally have some simple flies pre-rigged on a short 6" or so wire trace (but stuff like the "knot-able" nylon coated wire like Tyger wire makes it super easy to add wire to flies.)
If you're just kind of poking around and blind casting or throwing at whatever comes along, I wouldn't bother with wire, and would just go with plain 10-12 lb test or at most maybe a short section of 20lb hard mono as a 'bite tippet".
You can get carried away with all kinds of flies for SW --- and I'd be the first to admit that I do--- but frankly you can do a heck of a lot of damage in the salt with a fistful of clousers and deceivers pretty much anywhere in the world. Much more important than fly pattern is finding the fish (often a function of tides, structure, availability of bait), making a decent presentation and putting the fly in front of the fish (right depth, not casting over the backs of fish, etc), and just being in the right place at the right time.
You guys are truly lifesavers. I don't plan on cranking out a ton of flies but I think i'l also get a few larger than just 2's. I also think i'll limit myself to a small number of patterns and get good at them first. I will probably mostly be throwing blind from the beach or small fishing piers... wherever i can get to cast.
I've also heard pink can be good with chartreuse? worth purchasing a bucktail of it?