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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 06-30-2011, 11:00 AM
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Default Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

Hi guys,
I am relatively new to fly fishing and completely new to saltwater "fly" fishing (but not fishing). I have a St. Croix 9wt that I guess would suffice for redfish, speckled trout, flounder, etc. The only question is the rest. I have an okuma slv reel on it, not sure if it can be used in the salt, and just a regular weight forward 9wt line (do I need "redfish line"?). As for which leader and tippet I am clueless! Should I just use a stout furled leader with some 14 mono as tippet? Also, will the reel hold up in the salt?
Thanks!
Matt
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

Hey Matt, you should have a ball with that outfit in the salt-- a 9 weight is a great choice for inshore saltwater.

The Okuma SLV should be fine for chasing reds, specs and spanish macs, bluefish and flounder and all kinds of other stuff in saltwater. Where it might run into some trouble is if you were chasing fish that can really smoke like small tuna, jacks, bonefish, permit and or bigger stuff like 100lb sharks etc.

But for reds and that kind of stuff it should be fine. Just give it a good rinse in freshwater after each use and back off on the drag so you don't compress the cork washers. As with any reel used in saltwater, sand can be deadly so what ever you do, don't lay it down in the sand to land a fish or to take pictures etc. which is common sense-- but you also want to keep an eye out so you don't dunk it when you're wading in the surf zone where there might be a lot of suspended sand in the water.

Although it's an inexpensive reel, it should hold up reasonable well with just a little care like freshwater after use and occasional lubrication to the cork drag each season - hopefully there should be some instructions with the reel.

As for your fly line, I'd definitely try it out in salt-- the main issue with some lines is their ability to retain a certain amount of stiffness so they don't collapse in the face of wind-- which tends to be a much bigger issue for fly fishing in the salt. Good casting mechanics are the biggest asset of course, but sometimes having a stiffer line can be a big help. Fly lines can be expensive so definitely try the one you have before buying another just for the salt. If you do buy another line at some point, it doesn't have to be a redfish line-- try a few different ones with your rod before you buy if you can, including "saltwater" and "bonefish" tapers.

As for a leader and tippets, although you can buy pre-made ones (from Rio and others) at $4.95 a pop, this gets expensive and you can easily make your own.

Saltwater leaders are generally pretty simple. In the case of leaders used with sinking fly lines they can be just a short 3-4' usection of straight (no taper) 16-20lb mono.

For the longer leaders used with a floating line, a heavy butt section will help them turn over at the end of the cast and prevent your fly from landing in a tangled heap of limp mono at the end of your fly line. Assuming you're not going to get involved with wire or heavy mono bite tippets yet (used for the last 6" near the fly for toothy fish), and not chasing world records (where you'd want to build leaders using more complicated knots like "slim beauties" and "bimini twists") here's how to build your own simple leaders...

You can use regular Ande mono fishing line- no need for expensive fluoro or fly fishing tippet. If you don't have spools of fishing line lying around, look for a bait and tackle store that spools spinning and baitcasting reels for customers-- you can buy a few yards of heavy 40 or 50 lb regular mono like Ande (not "hard" mono or fluoro) to use as heavy butt material, some 20lb Ande for a mid section, and a 100 yd spool of regular Ande 15 or 16 lb mono to use as tippet.

To build a leader for a floating fly line, use something like 50-60% of length of the total leader as the butt section, then 20% of total length for the mid section and 20% tippet formula. It doesn't have to be exact, just eyeball it-- but you should end up with a leader that unrolls easily at the end of the cast. In fact if you're using relatively short leader, like 8 feet or so, you can just use 60% butt or 5 feet of butt and 40% or 3 feet tippet. For longer leaders you might want a midsection.

As an example, for a 10' leader for spooky fish on your 9 weight, this would look like 6' butt section of 40 or 50 lb test tied directly to the fly line (I use an Albright knot because you can reel it through the tip top and other guides when you're fighting a fish).

To this, add a short 2' section of 20lb Ande as a mid section blood or double surgeon knotted to a roughly 2' section of 15 or 16lb Ande mono as a "tippet".

To make changing leaders easy on the water, you could tie a small perfection loop in the end of your butt section, and a small perfection loop in the midsection. This way you can just use a loop to loop connection between the butt section (which rarely needs to be changed) and have a bunch of pre-made mid section and tippets in a zip lock that you can quickly loop on.

For a 2 section short leader of butt and tippet:
fly line- Albright knot - heavy 35, 40 or 50 lb mono butt section - perfection loop - perfection loop - 15-16 lb mono as "tippet"

For longer leader using 3 sections
Fly line- albright knot- heavy mono butt section - perfection loop - 20 lb mid section - blood knot or double surgeon's - 15-16lb tippet.

You can use this neat link for animated instructions on different fishing knots: Fishing Knots | How to Tie Fishing Knots | Animated Fishing Knots
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

Thanks! Great great info! I have a furled leader someone gave me that is for a heavier line (around my 9wt range). I was hoping I could just use it as a leader then tip it with 3-4' of mono. That was my original plan anyways. I am hoping to go off the coast of AL this fall. I have caught a many specks, reds and flounder, but none on the fly.........yet!
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

You're very welcome. You'll have a blast down there chasing stuff with your 9 weight. Throw at anything you see-- lady fish, bluefish, spanish macs and pretty much anything else you run into that will eat a fly are all a blast on the fly rod too.

If you have a furled leader already there's no reason you can't use it. They're not too common in salt at least yet, probably mostly because simple leaders made out of just a few sections of mono generally work fine with saltwater flies-- as opposed to throwing dainty dry flies in freshwater where leader construction is more critical to presentation.

Depending on how dirty the water is where you fish, furled leaders may also have a tendency to pick up more junk (seaweed etc), but try it since you have it, and it sounds like it's already built for a 9 weight. By the way, these same leaders- either the heavy furled one you have or the simple mono ones in my earlier post, should be fine for throwing stuff like poppers, big streamers and weighted stuff like buggers and clousers at largemouth bass in freshwater too.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

Glad this thread appeared when it did. I just started saltwater fly fishing myself. Any suggestions on trout and red flies inshore?
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

We have a bunch of Texas and Gulf guys that hopefully weigh in with their specific suggestions for pattens.

But this might help a bit in the meantime until they chime in. Redfish usually aren't too picky, so if you can get something in front of one they'll either blow up and take off along with the rest of the school, or they'll eat. Some of it is luck, but some of it is common sense-- a heavily weighted fly plopping down in the middle of a school in shallow water is more likely to send them flying in clear shallow water vs a lightly weighted fly cast well ahead (3-4') of a feeding school. So you might want a few different types of flies for different situations -- depending on where you might run into reds--water 4' deep vs 6" shallow water, or up in the grass etc. A local fly shop could help select area favorites, but in general you might want a few different types of patterns in sizes ranging from 4 to 1/0:

Something that sinks to puff along the bottom. You couldn't go wrong with clouser type flies-- chartreuse over white bucktail is pretty standard everywhere in saltwater for everything, but other patterns like a Foxee Clouser usually in a brown or tan would be good too. You'll probably want some with a variety of weights-- some with beadchain and some with lead dumbell eyes depending on water depth-- start out with beadchain as they're easier to cast. Having a few in chartreuse for stained water and some more muted colors (tans and browns) for clear water would be a good idea.

Something that suspends for fishing very shallow water like a seaducer

Something weedless for fishing grass like a bendback

A couple minnow imitations of some sort, in green over white or blue over white like a Deceiver 1/0 or Glass Minnow size 2 should be deadly for sea trout (weakfish) and would cover a range of bait fish sizes (from 2-5" glass minnows, piggy perch, finger mullet etc)

and some topwater stuff- a popper, gurgler, crease fly or deer hair slider-- they're too much fun to fish not to have a few. They'll take lady fish, jacks, bluefish (if you've got em) as well as trout (weakfish) and reds.

I haven't fished them much but a lot of folks that chase reds use spoonflies too like Dupree's or Kingfisher.

But if you were to narrow it down to a couple clousers and a deceiver or two you'd be pretty well armed. Except for the spoonflies, crease flies and deer hair sliders, all the patterns mentioned above are very easy to tie. There are more elaborate patterns that are shrimpy and crabby looking things (like any pattern with a name starting with "Borski" ie Borski Slider, and many other patterns etc. that will also work very well on reds, but many are essentially fancier dress variations on these basic pattern types.

Hope this helps-- keep asking questions! Hopefully the Texas guys will weigh in with their favorites.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

Well Mark has it very well covered. His suggestions on Leader&Tippet to Flies also work great here in N.E. Florida all the way to the Keys.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Fly line, leader and tippet for inshore

Fly Depot - Mangrove Critter, Weedless My second favorite Redfish Fly and does well with trout also.

BENDBACK doublequotemarkLIZdoublequotemark
Liz at the FlyFisherman in titusville came up with this killer version of a bendback and it's a great one.

Bend Back Fly
Check out the fly being tied not the one at the top. That Yellow, Brown, with a bit of silver or better yet gold mylar on the hook is my top trout and redfish fly.

Last of all tie a Mickey Finn in a Bendback - deadly on Sea Trout and not bad on Reds!
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