Guys, thanks so much. I knew i'd need the big stuff but ya'll have broken it down very nicely in a more than informative way. I have an aquaintance in the keys that does own a guide service. He tells me my money is no good with him. Just come on down. I do like owning my own stuff though. I have about 20 rigs now so whats three or four more.
Eddy good luck sounds like you have a great friend--
It would be really helpful to get some casting in before your trip-- so getting a heavier outfit-- whether is it's an 8 9 or 10 would be a good plan--
One of the things you'll also see pretty quickly is that the style of casting in saltwater, especially sight fishing from the front of a flats skiff is a bit different than the more leisurely approach to casting in freshwater with a lot of false casting. While sight fishing on the bow of a flats skiff, you'll typically be standing with the rod in one hand and the fly in the other, with slack line stripped out on the deck. Once a fish is sighted the idea is to get the fly to the fish with a quick backward flip of the rod that whips the fly out of your hand, a quick whip forward to get some line out of the tip, a more controlled backcast to shoot more line, followed by a forward cast, shoot and release of the fly line to the deliver the fly to the fish-- not a series of several false casts that gradually reach out to the fish, or starting the cast with a lot of line out of the tip that easily loads the rod by picking up a lot of fly line after a drift.
Repeatedly practicing casts starting with the fly in one hand and leader plus 2-3 feet of fly line out of the tip and using a minimum of false casts (ie just 1 or 2 backcasts not counting the first quick backward flip of the rod to whip the fly out of you hands) to hit targets positioned from 40 - 60 feet ou. It will pay huge dividends when you get to the Keys.
The members made some good suggestions especially on the casting. I am sure that you have a good cast already, but going to larger gear will require a few tweaks.
Originally Posted by rapid eddy
I have an aquaintance in the keys that does own a guide service. He tells me my money is no good with him. Just come on down.
If he doesn't take your money, treat him to a good dinner and a bottle of his favorite spirit.
Originally Posted by rapid eddy
I do like owning my own stuff though. I have about 20 rigs now so whats three or four more.
I like how you think.
As for rods, get sizes on what your guide friend recommends. Since he is there, he knows what works. As for brands, I am partial to Scott and Sage, but I would give the new Hardy Sintrix saltwater rods a good look.
As for reels, don't mess around. Go with an Abel, Tibor, or Mako. These reels do not fail. But there is some buzz about the new Hardy Fortuna reel. Take a look at it.
As for lines and leaders, trust your guide friend.
peregrines indicated, "you'll typically be standing with the rod in one hand and the fly in the other, with slack line stripped out on the deck. Once a fish is sighted the idea is to get the fly to the fish with a quick backward flip of the rod that whips the fly out of your hand, a quick whip forward to get some line out of the tip, a more controlled backcast to shoot more line, followed by a forward cast, shoot and release of the fly line to the deliver the fly to the fish.." Great point peregrines!
And that is precisely why I love the BL-5 Winston rods but any rod with a lot of butt and a nice flexi tip will give you that somewhat. With my 12 wt, it makes that cast easy and long with no effort. Good luck with your trip!
I'm a little late to this party, but everyone has hit it pretty dead-on, especially Chuck. I will add to be sure and pick a quality, tropical line, not a garden-variety freshwater WF. Some of the new lightly textured tropical lines are awesome and shoot like a gun! Dont skimp on line, its as important as the rod and reel because its the line that carries your fly to the fish!
I will be buying a PE liquid crystal for my daughter's new rod for both its excellent shooting qualiies as well as feeling more comfortable about shortening her leader. I've used leaders around 16' down here for years, but in the wind it is often a chore to get them to straighten fuly with some flies. You might think about one of them. The taper is more user friendly than a Rio Tarpon for instance.
When both wading and casting from a deck, I keep way more than two or three feet of line out the tip - more like 25-30 feet.
That is, a loop out in front of me 15 feet out from the tip. When wading, fishing a current or standing on the bow of a moving skiff, you have to keep mending the line with little flicks of the wrist, but it is much easier to get off a very fast cast, and mending line is something we have been doing all our lives. The length of line out the tip is far more important that what rod you use when sight fishing.
I also keep my fly wet and do not hold it as recommended - by the tail feathers. I don't think the smell of tobacco, bug spray or sun screen adds anything to its fish appeal.
Lastly, if you have been casting to strings of tarpon for hours to no avail, then your guide gets excited about a pair of "happy fish" headed your way, pay especial attention to your cast to those fish.