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

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Old 05-27-2014, 09:30 AM
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Default New to saltwater

Hello I have never fly fished saltwater before and could use some help. I was thinking of trying to get blue fish and weakfish. I have a 7wt rod. I am wondering if that will even work and if it does what leader, tippet, and flies to use. Thanks
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

I'm figuring that you're in the northeast somewhere but having a better idea where you're planning on fishing would help

First of all you might want to read Mark's fly fishing the surf primer
Gear for fly fishing the surf
That will clue you in on the kind of equipment needed
Your 7wt will work for for all but the larger tiderunners and choppers.
Larger flies and the wind will make you feel under gunned also.
Wire traces (shock tippets) are essential for the yellow eyed devils.

I use an 8' three part hand tied leader ending with a 12-16# tippet most of the time.
When I fish poppers I like a 6' leader of straight 20# mono.
The flies that you use depend on the type of bait that's prevalent. Matching the right length and profile are most important.
Most baits can be matched by a deceiver type fly of one size or another
Bluefish like "fast food". Try to take your fly away from them. They can't resist

---------- Post added at 11:07 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:44 AM ----------

Flies with epoxy heads, like the surf candy were made for bluefish.
Blues tend to rip flies to pieces so synthetics tend to hold up better.

Working with epoxy is too much effort for me, I just use my old worn out flies and let them have at it.

some surf candies
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

The 7wt is fine to start with. Unless you are in an area with a lot of big chopper blues. You may start feeling under gunned with them demons. Whenever there is any amount of bluefish around I put on about 4"-6" of wire bite tippet.

For bluefish I like epoxy spoon flies (start the flaming) only because they hold up to the teeth a little longer. But the standard clousers, decievers and half and halfs are my go to flies until bluefish destroy too many. I also use gurglers and poppers a fair amount. When they are hungry it doesn't really seem to matter much within reason.

Weakfish feed more at night. When I spent some time targeting them I could catch them pretty regular in outflows on structure. More so at night and cloudy days. They give up pretty quick and 5 pounders I wouldn't even bother putting on the reel with an 8wt. Same flies with the exception of shrimp patterns added. When they are busting on top they make a fairly distinct pop sound.

Speckled sea trout (specks) are probably a little more summer friendly where I'm at. They will feed in bright sun and shallow water. The redfish in the same areas are more fun to catch but not as dumb and a bit more spooky.

I normally use fairly short leaders for both. About 6'-9' including tippet. I have complicated my leaders and do hand tied leaders. A section of 30-35# and some 15-20# works fine. The 15-20 mainly because of abrasion. If you fish in heavy flows you'll probably want an intermediate line and a sink tip or some type of sinking set up of your choice. The main thing is being able to cover the water column in differing conditions. I like intermediates over floaters because I find it easier to maintain contact with the fly. Except with gurglers and poppers of course.
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

[QUOTE=Rip Tide;670903]I'm figuring that you're in the northeast somewhere but having a better idea where you're planning on fishing would help

First of all you might want to read Mark's fly fishing the surf primer
Gear for fly fishing the surf
That will clue you in on the kind of equipment needed
Your 7wt will work for for all but the larger tiderunners and choppers.
Larger flies and the wind will make you feel under gunned also.
Wire traces (shock tippets) are essential for the yellow eyed devils.

I use an 8' three part hand tied leader ending with a 12-16# tippet most of the time.
When I fish poppers I like a 6' leader of straight 20# mono.
The flies that you use depend on the type of bait that's prevalent. Matching the right length and profile are most important.
Most baits can be matched by a deceiver type fly of one size or another
Bluefish like "fast food". Try to take your fly away from them. They can't resist

---------- Post added at 11:07 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:44 AM ----------

Flies with epoxy heads, like the surf candy were made for bluefish.
Blues tend to rip flies to pieces so synthetics tend to hold up better.

Working with epoxy is too much effort for me, I just use my old worn out flies and let them have at it.

some surf candies
Click the image to open in full size.[/QUOTE

Thanks for your reply. it is really helpful. For my location I Would mostly be fishing at the New Jersey shore.
Thanks again
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

Though no expert like the guys above, in that Bluefish are so similar to Pacific Yellowtails know you're going to have a heck of a good fight on your line with a 7wt.. Be sure to "reel up" for it....Though few do so today you can always palm it with leather gloves, drags for fish more the norm now, you will still need backing if you get into anything even remotely respectable..IOW, 100yd. won't do it or at the least is risky.

More so, though you'll strip a bit eventually you need to get much of that line back on the reel. There is where extra large arbors pay off, otherwise it's one fish in and if you don't look like a gimp in bondage so tangled up in what you stripped, you'll at least be untangling it to get it back on the reel for a second.

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Old 05-27-2014, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

The only way that a bluefish will go on a long run is if you hook it on a shallow flat. Otherwise they take a powerful short run, then battle, then do it again. They're strong and mean, but they don't run.
The recommended minimum amount of backing here in the northeast is 150 yards.
None of my SW reels are even close to that. Even with false Albacore I've never had to worry
I fished 18 years in the salt with a Medalist before I got my first reel with a disk drag. Even now I use a traditional sized reel.
Your reel needs to be of good solid quality, but it's not the most important piece of gear here in the northeast.

I've shared pictures of my custom drag Medalists here before. Here they are again

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

Do your fingers a favor and get some stripping guards. Salty fly line stripped over your finger all day can give you quite a painful divot. Also be diligent about washing your gear. Salt is a nasty beast, combine it with sand and even the best reels can suffer an untimely death.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

I've got a funny feeling those Pacific Yellowtails are a different beast. My bluefish experience mimics Riptide's. In deeper water they normally zig zag back and forth pretty fast while peeling a little line, then make a short powerful run for the depths,then you can lift them and gain line. When they see the boat, away they go again. They may make a few short powerful runs before they are comfortable to get close to body parts I cherish.

In shallow water they normally do a lot of back and forth and run for deep water. I pressure them pretty hard and try to turn them every time they run one direction a hundred feet or so. Sometimes this will send them into some really cool launches for the sky and tail walking acrobatics.

Rip has to have way more experience with the choppers on the fly than me. I fish mostly the middle bay and mouth of the Potomac. We haven't seen GOOD runs of choppers since the eighties. I didn't start fly fishing until around '91 and in the bay around '95.What I call choppers are 10# plus. What many people call choppers here now are 3-5#. I still call them snappers.

I don't think I've ever needed more than 75 yards of backing but probably only 50. If funds are an issue, I would use whatever I have. I started with an STH mr pop that I already had. It started corroding almost immediately (even with washing). It got replaced quick because I got hooked quick. For under a hundred bucks there are plenty of more than adequate used reels available.

Doesn't Jersey have a fair amount of inshore bays and marshes? If so, they would probably be easier to learn and more productive with a 7wt. The wind would be less of an issue. The bait may be smaller (making your flies smaller and easier to throw). Whenever I go to the ocean I always say I'm going to surf fish and end up in back bays.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

Choppers are close to 15 pounds and better than 30 inches in length in my book.
Someone once said that if they got any bigger, they'd rule the sea. I have no doubt of that. They're mean SOBs.
They kill for fun, puke it up and kill some more.

"Cocktail" blues, the midsize ones that easily fit on a grill are the best to eat IMO.
You must bleed bluefish as soon as the come out of the water if you plan to keep them. If you do that and ice them asap, they're great eatin'.
If you don't, don't bother. Who ever you feed them to will hate you.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: New to saltwater

I think we had defined choppers as 26" and 12 pounds IIRC. I agree they would rule the sea, they are mean. Last year I started fishing a new easy access area and it was over run with little needlefish. They kept attacking my flyline (ruined a couple) and I watched them blues just bite them in half and leave them. Weren't even interested in eating them. I guess just killing competition. Them needlefish are pretty nasty too and can see well out of water. I got wacked by a few of them.

When I had by boat(s) I would fillet them on the boat. I do cut out the dark meat on the lateral line. I also cut out the yellow fatty meat along the belly and spine. I don't keep any over two or so pounds though. Last year I kept a bunch under 15" and they were good fried in tempora batter. My wife even tore it up and "she can't stand bluefish".
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