Yakker, it depends entirely on the habitat you're fishing. I do the majority of my snook & tarpon fishing withh density compensated lines, but would never make any kind of recommendation without first-hand knowledge of th waters you fish regularly. Just put some thought into it.
I've haven't fished the intermediate line nor the popper on the fly rod yet but am excited to do so. Do you tend to have good results using the popper in the salt??
Nothing better than top water action, but you have to have the correct conditions. If I know that I'm going to be fishing on the surface, I will use floating line. That being said, I still use an intermediate line for most of my salt water fishing.
I don't use anything but floating and sink tips inshore and offshore. The last time I used high density sinking lines was when dredging for large brook trout in deep lakes up north.
For someone new to fly fishing, especially, you will find floating lines much easier to cast and to pick up and lay down with a shoot, and consequently will improve your casting skills faster using a floating line than a sinking one. Sink tips are second best in that regard in that they don't have to be stripped in so close to you before recasting.
Although off your topic a bit, I would not discount the largemouth bass fishing in your area, using large cork poppers or Dahlberg divers at happy hour. Not only is it a great way to tune your casting mechanics, but it can result in a lot of time spent with fish on. That repeated experience ("fish on" time) is the best way for you to learn line awareness and line management. Pay no attention to those who say "a 9 wt is way too much for bass".
Likewise off subject, I would recommend talking with Dave Olsen at the fly shop on S. Dixie in Miami and seeing what he'd charge you for a half hour of casting instruction.
Ol'dirtycaster- I tend to fish bay waters around pelican harbor if you are familiar w/ the area at all. It tends to range from several feet of water as deep as 30 feet. I'm relatively new to south Florida and have yet to catch a tarpon and have been itching for it. It's one of those things where I have seen them a couple of times but haven't gotten hooked up.
I would like to start using the fly rod when I go offshore but the main priority is inshore at the moment. I went ahead and ordered intermediate line and I was able to call orvis and get a spare spool for $19 since the one I was given has been discontinued.
@Clampman-- I had a friend teach me how to cast when I was back in NC over the holidays and I've taken to it pretty well, the trickiest part is doing it off the kayak. I honestly haven't heard much about the freshwater fishing down here. Something I'll have to check into!
Thanks for the help everyone!
I agree, Muskegon. I fish Sarasota Bay 6 mos/year, and it's rare that I even take a floater out with me. I use sink-tips almost exclusively for trout, macs, snook, reds, blues, pomps, ladies, anything that bites. It's only when I get up in the real shallow stuff (1-2 ft) that I'll break out a floater. For most bay fishing the water will run 3-8 feet deep, so I carry ST's in Type I's thru Type IV's, and when the cold fronts hit and the fish get huddled up in the canals and channels, I'll go to a Type V or VI ST. The ST's are nice compared to the full sinkers in that they can be controlled, mended and picked up a whole lot easier.
Most fish are looking for food down near the grass on the bottom because that's where it lives. Fishing half way up the water column is missing most of the fish, IMO. The macs and ladies will chase stuff up higher, but pomps and trout tend to stay down there, and the deeper you can get a Clouser the more strikes you'll get.
Great piece of advice, the water temp in the bay has dropped about 20 degrees here lately and I've been catching numerous trash fish. Hopefully getting a lil deeper will yield better results.