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Warmwater Fly Fishing Bass, Bream, Perch, etc...

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Old 01-22-2015, 11:30 AM
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Default New guy hello & questions

Hello all!
This is my first post but I've been reading, searching and lurking for some time now. As an empty nester who was highly involved in shooting sports with my son who now lives away I am looking to get back into some fly fishing that I enjoyed some 30 years ago. I live in the West Palm Beach area and will be fishing in both fresh and salt water, probably mostly in fresh but one never knows. Bass, snook, and bonefish are the most likely targets. I have some access to boats but do not own one. I will most often be hitting local inland lakes, ponds, and waterways on a regular basis.

After fully indulging my obsessive compulsive research tendencies I have become quite smitten with Allen fly fishing company and have been in contact with them. I will be ordering a Volant 8wt rod and Kraken reel in the next few days.

I have a few questions that I have not found answers to by reading, searching, and more reading.

1) Which line? Do I purchase a bass specific freshwater line and a bonefish saltwater line on two spools and just change them out as needed? Or, would a premium line like SA Mastery Bonefish work for both? Iím leaning towards one line but, like I indicate, I have not found this addressed on the forum.

2) What leader and tippet for bass and bonefish? Same options as the line.

3) Practice line? Although I have quick access to a small pond that I could practice in I have a question about dry practice. I have read that practicing on grass can be bad for line. Down here we have mostly St. Augustine grass and its tough as nails. Should I: a) buy a cheap line to practice with on grass, b) just practice on the pond, or c) grass ainít so bad on line. Also, will a cheap line perform like a premium line well enough for practice?

4) What should I put on the line to practice with? A popper with the hook cut off?

So that ought to do it for now, thanks for reading and helping me out, love the community and being a part of it. Iíll post pics as my stuff and fish come in!
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

Welcome to the forum!
I don't fish for those species of fish so I will let the others that are more knowledgeable chime in to help out.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

Welcome!

I'll throw out a couple of generic thoughts based on what I've learned over eh decades.
While there are a growing number of specialized lines out there, there is no need (and little value) in going that route when you first get started. Just get yourself a good quality general purpose WF8F and get started. The fish (and you) will never realize the difference. SA, Cortland and Rio all make great GP lines. If you get a second spool, reserve it for an intermediate or sinking line that will actually add capabilities to your fishing.

As for leaders, again no need to get too specialized or concerned with details/brand to start off.. Research common commercial leaders for the species you intend to target and buy some decent leaders of like length, stiffness and tippet diameter. Freshwater bass are not really spooky and SW fish vary on conditions of the day. When in doubt, get some 8-9' 12# leaders and add tippet as/ if necessary. Personally, much of my largemouth and sw leaders here in the NE is nothing more than 7' if moderately stiff 20@ mono. Works fine for all but the biggest of hair bugs.

For practice casting on a lawn, you'll just want to tie on a hunk of yarn of similar size as the flies you will use. Cheap, durable and gets the job done. A popper will work but get beat to dust in short order.

Lastly, While I'm glad that you seem to have quality found tackle , I'd caution you about falling into the trap of overthinking the importance of brand and gear tuned to specific species. Millions of folks (including most of todays experts) learned to catch billion of fish on good quality, nothing special tackle. The important thing is to get out there and have some fun while your learning.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

I am in West Palm Beach, and fish both fresh and salt. I have a few different lines, for bass and bonefish, but I have used Rio Bonefish Quickshooter in both and I think one line like that would work fine. For bass leaders, I just use 20# fluorocarbon, with some 10# tippet if I am fishing a smaller fly on a 6-wt rod. The bass and bluegill around here will hit just about anything.

I recently took a casting lesson and we worked on the grass, and the instructor didn't say anything about it being bad for the line. He tied a yarn indicator to the end of the leader, but I've also been told that a small Clouser with the hook cut off works well. Personally, I just go the water and practice with good line and an actual fly. I have even caught a few fish unintentionally while doing that! I find that casting anything other than an actual fly doesn't work the same as casting a fly, so I prefer to practice with the real thing. Same is true of the line. Different line will cast differently, so I like to practice with what I am going to be fishing. However, if you are concerned about that, I have some extra line lying around that you are welcome to borrow for practice.

I've heard good things about Allen but have no experience with their stuff. There is a good fly shop down in Boca Raton, and you may want to talk to the guys there before making a final decision on the rod/reel. I've made purchases based on research online, and in some cases, wish I had been able to test out the products first. Sometimes even a quality product is just not right for a specific person. Casting a few rods in quick succession may help you find the perfect one for you. I'm pretty obsessive about research, but I think wee hooker got it right: don't over-think it. But you should definitely cast a couple rods before buying.

---------- Post added at 01:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:27 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by wee hooker View Post
Just get yourself a good quality general purpose WF8F and get started. The fish (and you) will never realize the difference. SA, Cortland and Rio all make great GP lines.
I mostly agree, except that here in south Florida, we have some conditions that make lines like Bonefish Quickshooter or Outbound helpful. If you are fishing the Intracoastal, we get some strong wind,and in freshwater, unless you are in a boat, you will be fishing from the bank (because if there is a water, there are alligators and you are not going to want to wade in) and you may also not have a lot of room for backcasting. You may also be fishing along weeds near the shore very close to you, and need to cast without a lot of line outside the tip. A line with a short, heavy head is very useful. I have only fished for trout on a river once, so my experience is limited, but it was very different from fishing here and I think that the line may be more important in our conditions. Talk to the guys in the local fly shop before choosing a line.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

I have no experience in Florida fishing, but a few simple rules apply.

1- Match the line to the rod. Common practice is to contact Allen and string up what they recommend.

2- for leaders and tippet, I must defer to those that know.

3- I say: go ahead and practice on grass, whatever the flavor. You should wear out the line fishing long before you hurt it on green stuff.

4- For practice casting, I don't tie anything on beyond the leader. Maybe a little tuft of yarn for accuracy practice. I used to tie a knot in the end of the leader, then pinch a split shot on behind, to toughen up the back of my head. I don't do that anymore.

HTH,
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P.S.


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Old 01-23-2015, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

You are basicly a rank beginner. It will not do you a lot of good comparing rods until you get some real time on the water IMO. For fresh water I would not worry about a reel with drag unless you are going after some big carp and I am not sure you have many of those down there. A fast rod is better for fighting the wind but a moderate to moderately fast rod might be better for you to start with unless you are quite happy with your casting skills. I would use the pond for practice if you can. Water and grass are not the same...A 7 to 9wt will get you a good start. As far as a line is concerned I would not recommend you start with a specialty line. I would start with a generic wf line in the recommended wt for your rod choice. Get a cheap $20 SA line at walmart. If you shortly find that you need a heavy front taper line you can always cut off some the front taper to help turn over some the heavier or more wind resistant flies. Speaking of flies. I would not recommend starting with a clouser. They can require some special casting technique and if you hit the rod with the lead eyes it can and will trash your new rod. If you practice on the water you can use a fly just don't forget to remove the hook barb. It will be a lot easier to remove from your ear or neck when you have an errant cast. A straight mono leader will get you started and even a 5' one will work with some of the heavier flies. I personally do a 30 or 40# butt and a 10 to 20# tippet. All loop to loop connections. Easy and fast to change or replace if needed. I really like short mono furled leaders with mono tippets but that can be saved for another day.

I am no expert but this ain't my first rodeo either. If you have a spare room I would consider coming down for a couple of months to help you get started. I like the area and have been there a few times though no fly fishing done there. Does the old Mom and Pop tackle shop exist right down town just west of the bridge over the river?
Bought my first bonefish jigs there. I believe there was a large stuffed hammer head in the front window.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

Thanks for the thoughts and recommendations. I would not identify myself as a rank beginner as I've kept up with my fly casting throughout the years, just not in any serious manner. I have an old glass rod with an equally old phlueger reel that every now and then I go out on the canal behind my house and catch brim and the occasional small bass. It usually accompanies me on vacations to North Carolina for little streamers and pond fish. Moving up to large bass and salt water species is all new but I love casting and have always had a nac for it so I look forward to getting set up now that I have the time to devote to it. I'm still curious about the practical difference between SW, FW, and tropical lines. Can a SW bonefish line work just fine for bass? It seems that other than a special coating the bonefish line has more forward weight to turn over the big flys...yes? and isn't that what a bass line does too?
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

Welcome!

As for the bass, there aren't really any specific answers to "what line to choose."

- Some like floating line with long tippets and leaders for heavy flies
- Some like WF sinking lines to throw heavier flies deeper


I did a quick search for some bass fishing if you care to read (Beginner's Guide for Bass Fly Fishing).

Also, try searching youtube. I've found it's a valuable tool where experienced anglers talk about what has previously worked for them in the past (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or4sga6WvHI).
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

to the forum...as you've already seen...tons of infos and lots of helpful members here
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: New guy hello & questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditz View Post
Does the old Mom and Pop tackle shop exist right down town just west of the bridge over the river?
Bought my first bonefish jigs there. I believe there was a large stuffed hammer head in the front window.
I'm not sure how long it is since you've been here, but if you're talking about the middle bridge over to Palm Beach, nothing that was there 20 years ago still is! It is a high-rise office building now.

---------- Post added at 02:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:56 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by sven126 View Post
I'm still curious about the practical difference between SW, FW, and tropical lines. Can a SW bonefish line work just fine for bass? It seems that other than a special coating the bonefish line has more forward weight to turn over the big flys...yes? and isn't that what a bass line does too?
I have caught bass on my bonefish line. There is no difference that I can see between it and the bass line I have, other than the bonefish line is "quickshooter" with a shorter and heavier head and it is two-tone to show you where the loading point is. The quickshooter will load the rod with less line out, so you can strip the fly in closer and get it back in the water with less backcast. It also casts better in strong wind (which you know we get here). You don't "need" a specialty line here, but if you are going to fish both fresh and salt, and want to buy only one line, I think you'd be best served to get a good saltwater line, because it will work fine in the freshwater, but the opposite may not be true. I have several reels with both fresh and saltwater line on them, and you are more than welcome to try them. However, I still recommend talking to someone who knows more than I do. There is fly shop in Boca and also a guy in the fishing dept at Gander Mountain (in Palm Beach Gardens) who is knowledgeable (former Orvis guide). If you want to drive farther, the guys at Bass Pro (north in Port St Lucie or south in Dania) can help you, too.

A straight 9' piece of 20# fluorocarbon with a perfection loop on the end works as a leader for bass. Or you can do 6' of 20# and 3' of 10# or 3'-20#, 3'-10# and 3'-6# if you are using a smaller fly. Bass are not spooky, so the leader is not a big deal.

---------- Post added at 02:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:16 PM ----------

Rio Tropical Outbound or Bonefish Quickshooter would be my recommendation for one line that will work for both saltwater and bass flies. You can use Rio Mainstream Saltwater, but it has a longer and light head. I have used both the Mainstream and the Quickshooter and like the Quickshooter a lot more. I have never used Outbound, but it has been recommended to me by the local fly guy.
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