Hey guys I need some help. I am going to Destin FL in May. I have never been saltwater fishing. My inlaws for a birthday present want to buy me some stuff to fish saltwater. My problem is I have no clue what to use or where to even start. So I could use a lot of help from everything on what wt rod and length, what kind of leader to use, what flies to fish, ect. So any help I could get would be great. More than likely I will just be fishing on the beach. Thanks again for any help I could get
Just as with freshwater fishing, saltwater covers a lot of ground. Much will depend on the area, & what species of fish will be present at the time, and the weather conditions. For example the same rods & flies used for big Tarpon will not be the same as might be used for much smaller species, even smaller "baby" Tarpon. Generally, most folks begin saltwater fishing with at least an 8 wt, and baitfish patterns, such as Lefty's Deceivers can fit a wide range of species & situations. The sizes will also vary widely, again depending on conditions & species.
If you can get a bit more specific information about what species you may encounter at that time of year, it will be easier to give recommendations.
I am not set on only going for one species of fish I am open to anything and everything to be honest my game plan had been to just walk along the beach and cast. We are going to Destin which is on the gulf side and north west corner. We are going down the second week of may. From what I have seen on the guide sights it looks like there is all types of fish.
As Jim said more soecific would be a big help. What I can tell you walking along the beach can be productive if you know what to look for . Tides are a critical factor in fishing the salt and can also help I'm locating fish . Take a walk at dead low and look for bar formations , inlets , jettys and any other kind of structure you can find that you wouldn't see on the flood tide. The gulf is known for it's many bar formations along the beach and these are generally fish cafeterias. Feeder creeks and marshes bring bait into the gulf and these also are good. Look for actual concentrations of bait and grass where shrimp, crabs and baitfish will congregate . Try fishing the inlets and bridges in the area .
As far as flys depends on what you seek but good all around patterns to explore with are Clousers, streamers and shrimp patterns. For walking the shore and exploring I like a 9 wt but thats not locked in stone . Read the local fishing reports and watch other fisherman to see what's going well.
Don't forget you need a saltwater license in Florida and when wading in the gulf be aware of your surroundings . Bull sharks are common and aggressive. Wear something on your feet when wading skates are abundant as well as other spiny creatures .
If you get any more specifics let us know and will be glad to give more details!
"I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
"There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
" It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
"Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser
If you're looking for a general purpose rod & reel set-up, then I would suggest a 9 or 10 wt. Either will work well, the 10 wt gives you a little more backbone & may be a better choice for larger flies in windy conditions depending on your casting experience. If you hook into smaller Tarpon, larger Snook, some of the bigger Jack's you'll have a better chance with the 10 wt. I don't feel you'll need to go heavier.
Pair the rod with a decent reel, and you'll also have a great set-up for Pike or Muskies or even Steelhead or Salmon. A spare spool is not a bad idea either, and both a floating line & intermediate line can be useful. I use both a 9 & a 10 wt for Striper & LM bass fishing. I don't need the heavy rod for the size bass I catch, but they work better due to the heavy cover & snags present in the waters I fish most. Plus, I like to throw some really big flies!
As far as brands of rods & reels, that will depend some on your budget, and there are many that will do well in saltwater. I like TFO rods, and a reel such as a Lamson Konic will work fine for general use. I have a couple of Okuma Integrity reels I use for Striped bass, but they don't make the blistering runs that some of the species you may encounter are famous for, so a better quality reel would be a good idea.
A good all around outfit of flies should include Deceivers, Clouser Minnows, Seaducers, and some topwater flies. Some of the big synthetic streamers, like those tied by Enrico Puglisi will work well too. Big poppers work well for Snook & Jacks. Rainy's makes some very good, big saltwater poppers. Gurglers & Crease flies work well on anything. As Boz indicated, some shrimp patterns are a good idea too. Anything developed by Tim Borski will be a good choice.
Get a range of flies with hook sizes from 2 up to 2/0 or 3/0. These can all be cast with a 9 or 10 wt. Colors are not extremely important in the salt, basic white, perhaps with a darker back like gray, black or olive, & chartreuse & white will work just fine. For shrimp type patterns white/pearl, tans, browns, pinks all work. Everyone you get suggestions from will have favorites, but what I've listed are good in most any saltwater situation. You should have some flies that are weighted (have a variety of weight) & some unweighted.
Your leaders don't have to be special. A basic tapered leader, with at least a 15 lb tippet is fine. 20 lb may even be better, as species such as tarpon or Snook have very sharp gill plates & can abrade line very quickly. Keep the leaders fairly short, 6 to 8 ft is good, there's not usually much need for long leaders. With an intermediate line, a shorter leader of 3 to 6 ft can work fine.
In the surf, you're going to need to control your line well, and if the leader & tippet combination is too long, you'll never know where the fly will be & it will be difficult to detect strikes & set the hook.
I know folks who use only a single strand of mono or fluoro when using an intermediate line. You might also want to have some shock tippet material in 40 to 60 lb test. A short shock tippet will be helpful in limiting abrasion if Snook or Tarpon become a primary target.
if i were to have one fly rod for what you described, i would have a 9wt, for the simple fact you can fight a fish just as well as a 10wt, and still have some fines when sight fishing spooky/tailing fish in calmer conditions in the future.... as for where to fish...... jetties, structure,docks exc. also, on the gulf i noticed magical things can happen BEFORE the sun comes up, and shut off almost instantly with the first boat traffic especially at inlets. good luck!