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

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Old 08-30-2011, 06:02 AM
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Default New to salt

Hello all,

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.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

Welcome,

I've never fished that area before, but would rule out a 5 weight anyhow simply because you would be ruling out too many flies from your arsenal due to wind resistance and too many days from your calendar due to the wind. On calm days you could use a 6 wt for smaller redfish and so on if caught on the flats or open water.

I don't know the size of snook in that area, but unless they are wide open beach fish, you would not be able to keep them away from pilings or mangroves with a 6 wt, and most flies used for them start at about 3" long.

The smallest rod I use in the Keys and for bass fishing is a 7 wt., but most of the fish I target run from 10 lbs to 50 or 60 lbs, with the exception of bass and tarpon on opposite ends of the scale. Although I "target" largemouth bass over 10 lbs., I haven't yet been successful.

I would check with your local fly shop and/or fly fishing club when you get there before making a decision.

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

When I lived in Dania, Florida... I met an older gent thru the local bass pro. We fished snook and some cuda in the surf. Floating line won't work. Use intermediate or sinking. 7 weight is the smallest I ever used. Streamers were from 3 inches and up to about 5
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:09 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

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Originally Posted by okuma View Post
When I lived in Dania, Florida... I met an older gent thru the local bass pro. We fished snook and some cuda in the surf. Floating line won't work. Use intermediate or sinking. 7 weight is the smallest I ever used. Streamers were from 3 inches and up to about 5
Did you try the floating line, or just take one man's opinion as gospel ?
I fish a floater in the surf much of the time, and contrary to popular opinion, you have more control over the line rather than less. The ability to mend and the use of traditional fly rodding methods makes the difference
This is just one person's personal experience of course
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
Did you try the floating line, or just take one man's opinion as gospel ?
I fish a floater in the surf much of the time, and contrary to popular opinion, you have more control over the line rather than less. The ability to mend and the use of traditional fly rodding methods makes the difference
This is just one person's personal experience of course
I'll have to agree with Rip on this one. I use sinking lines in deeper waters but usually use a floater when I wade from shore. Much better line control, If I can't get the fish to rise, a heavy fly like a Clouser and a 10-12ft leader will get me deep enough while still being able to mend line.

FYI, three years ago I never fished a floating line in the salt. Rip made a comment on one of my early posts about being able to mend over the surf with a floater and I've been using them ever since. Good luck and I wouldn't go below a 7WT for the salt due to the the size if the flies you will be throwing and the wind you will encounter.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

One thing that people need to realize about fishing in the salt is that while you may be happy catching smaller fish on the lightest tackle, you need to be prepared to land the largest fish that's likely to be where you're fishing
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

Ah yes, the wind. That's something I wasn't considering. Definitely need to consider that. So I guess a 7 it is. What are the better salt water rod brands? Sage? Loomis?
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccnp11 View Post
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 to 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.
I am erring towards a seven or an eight weight as a lighter rig. Besides the possibility of hooking into a homie, you need the rod to have the ability to throw some rather large flies into the wind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccnp11 View Post
But if I'm completely nuts for thinking 5-6 will be enough please say so.
You are freakin' nuts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjc View Post
I would check with your local fly shop and/or fly fishing club when you get there before making a decision.
Darn good advice. It is hard to beat the local knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccnp11 View Post
What are the better saltwater rod brands? Sage? Loomis?
Sage and Loomis make quality rods. I would also add Scott, Hardy, and Winston to the mix. Cast them all, and choose which one works best for you.

Don't forget about quality reels. For saltwater fishing, Tibor, Abel, and Mako rule the scene for a reason. They don't fail.

As your quiver grows, you may want to consider backup gear. Saltwater fish are terribly hard on gear (especially the rods). Also you may want to switch presentations. It is quicker to grab another rig that may have a different line and fly combination than it is to change spools and/or tie new flies on.

Dennis
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: New to salt

I'm from Sarasota, FL, and while I can't be much help yet on what rod size to use, I can give you any help you need on where to fish and what to catch! Feel free to send me a PM any time! Welcome!
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: New to salt

Well for the smaller Reds and any Trout and Flounder a 6wt will work just fine in the flats and grass.. But as stated a 7 or 8wt. will cover more ground. For Tarpon I would prefer nothing lighter than a 10+wt. As far as reels most prefer the Nautilus or Tibor's. but I use one of Justin's 9/10 reels and it works marvelous on the larger Reds. Allen Fly Fishing
For Rods TFO, Sage, Loomis That is a personal decision.To many choices.
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