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Getting Involved in Saltwater Fly Fishing

reeladventuresreeladventures Posts: 304 Deckhand
I have been fly fishing for about 6-7 years now. All of it occuring in my family ponds for bass and bluegill or in the mountain streams for trout and small mouths. I've been wanting to get involved in saltwater fly fishing for the past few years. I'm not sure wt I would need to start with. I currently own an orvis 3 wt outfit and a redington 5 wt outfit which I know are way too light for saltwater. I've heard that 7 wt would be the minimum for saltwater, but I don't know if I should get a 7, 8, or 9 wt. I want one that would be comfortable for use inshore for trout, reds, snook, and small jacks andoffshore for schoolie dolphin, false albacore (bonita), or basically anything that I can find. I basically want something that is just an all around saltwater fly outfit.

I'm probably willing to spend somewhere up to the $500 range. If it costs a little more than that it'd be okay, but I'd probably rather stay under that. I've looked around that bass pro makes several outfits in the $300-500 range. Would it be better to buy one of those outfits or to put together my own outfit by buying the rod, reel, and line seperately. I know that would cost more, but if that's the best option I'll do it (did that for my orvis 3 wt). Also what style fly line would i need: floating, weight forward, sinking, etc?

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated! Tight lines!

2015 Hewes Redfisher18


  • Bill@NSB[email protected] Posts: 207 Deckhand
    IMHO, the weakest link in the combos is the line that usually comes with them.

    I think most would agree with an 8wt setup with a floating line for all around use.
    The TFO BVK also seems to be the popular choice for best bang for the buck. I think it's around $250.
    The Nautilus reel is also a crowd favorite right now at around $275 for the reel.
    Line will run you around $70-$90 approx. I like Airflo lines, but others are fine.

    With this setup, you're in the $600 range.

    Don't discount used, but you have to know what you're looking for.

    Good luck.
  • reeladventuresreeladventures Posts: 304 Deckhand
    Thanks Bill. That really helps
    2015 Hewes Redfisher18
  • MistermtdMistermtd Steinhatchee Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    I have the BVK in a 7 wt. It's a fine stick. My personal fav is my XI2. Doesn't fit your range (now an XI3) but a used stick off the web would do. Bought my 12 wt that way. Got an XI2, tibor Gulfstream, backing and Airflo line for 700. A used 8wt would be well inside your budget.
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,595 Captain
    Xi2 and Tibor with Airflo sounds like a pretty fair deal. Airflo ridge?
    For offshore intentions included go the extra $ for a better reel for sure. The last thing you want is a good fish on and drag failure.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,382 Captain
    Another vote for the Xi2. 7 years later and there are still manufacturers that can't touch it. One of my all time fav's, particularly the 890 and 990.
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    You will become addicted to saltwater flyfishing so beeeeeeee careful. For all around use that will allow inshore and some basic offshore (like the schoolie dolphin, etc. mentioned), i would go 9 weight. I would start with a floating line until you get used to casting the heavier equipt. and get your casting down. Learn the double haul if you do not know it, because this will greatly enhance your distance and ability to cast into the wind which is usually more of a factor in the salt. Pick up an assortment of flies that will cover the water column. For all the fish you mentioned, deceivers, bendbacks, sea-ducers, clousers and some basic minnow and mullet imitations will get you into fish. If you know how to tie flies, learn how to tie for salt. It will be much cheaper than buying flies at $6-$20/per fly, when most flies will last only a fish or two. And, when you start tying, you can create your own patterns based on the things you like and dislike about the standard store bought ones. Get yourself a few books on Saltwater flyfishing and you will pick up a lot of great tips on technique and locations. And most of all, get yourself a basic outfit (my first 2 years of saltwater flyfishing invloved a $50 rod, freshawater reel and average saltwater floating line), and get out on the water and just START DOING IT. You will learn more from your own experiences what works and what doesn't. Enjoy yourself and trust me, the first time a snook comes up shaking it's head and your fly is stuck squarley in his mouth....you are done for....addicted.
  • idlerickidlerick Littleton, Colorado & Sarasota, FlaPosts: 237 Deckhand
    I'll differ a little here (OK, maybe a lot) and suggest you consider two things:
    1- Go with two outfits, a 6-7 wt and a 9-10 wt.
    2- Buy used.

    1-You mention inshore and include snook, so I assume you get down south for that. If where you go is anywhere like what I've seen, a 7 is plenty for most inshore stuff (trout, mackeral, blues, snook, ladyfish, flounder, reds & misc) and a 5 or 6 would do if it weren't for the weight of a lot of the flies.
    But offshore you really need something with a little more backbone. So I'd look first for the rig you plan to use first/most often.

    2-Are you an EBay user? Or Craigslist? You can find new or near-new rods and reels (and lines) both places at a fraction of the price of new retail. For inshore, I'd suggest (and this is just some of the gear I like; you may have other favorites) a Ross Cimarron 4, Gunnison 4, or Evolution 3; a Lamson Velocity 2 or 3; St Croix Legends or Avids, Loomis GL3's, Orvis, TFO's, etc, etc. The list goes on. Some of the Sage rods and Nautilus reels mentioned above really are great, but do you really need a $600 rod or a $300 reel to catch a 17" trout? I don't.
    For off-shore, you may want a little more, but wait and see. A top-drawer outfit that's too light won't serve you any better than a good rig in the right weight.
  • ultramanultraman Posts: 39 Deckhand
    I like a 9wt for starting in salt. It will handle mostly all inshore and some offshore. Casting larger flies and windy conditions are easier to handle.
  • Articulated TricoArticulated Trico Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

    Fly rods, reels, and lines are just the tools of the trade that are the critical dynamic of the overall aesthetic of fly fishing. There are literally rods and lines that are made just to be made and others that are crafted by skilled artisans. Who over time have honed their craft to create optimal tools of the trade.

    Go for the rod,reel, and line that best suits your needs! Satisfy those needs through experience! Go cast some rods!
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