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Saltwater fly fishing setup


Versatile_Hunter
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I’m looking to purchase a saltwater fly reel for a 9wt rod. This will be primarily for permit and bonefish so drag quality will matter but it’ll also see multipurpose use chasing redfish, sea trout, and young tarpon and perhaps some action surf fishing for bluefish and stripers. I’ll eventually parse this into 3 or 4 specialist setups but it’ll just be 1 for now (maybe a 7wt soon). 

The reels I’ve been looking at are Danielsson L5W 8twelve, Sage Spectrum Max, Cheeky Limitless 425, Orvis Mirage, Nautilus CCF-X2 8/10, and Lamson Litespeed M. The price spread on these reels is wide ($200-$700) but these are all seemingly considered durable midlevel options. If anyone has experience with these reels or can recommend others I’d appreciate the feedback. Thanks 

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2 hours ago, left field said:

I agree with the Orvis rec. I use Lamson a lot and have four or five. 

I like the Liquid you recommend for my first 5wt. It’s surprisingly scratched up for having had it less than 1yr but it works just as well as when it came out of the box. The 9wt rod is a Lamson Cobalt. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am a huge fan of Ross Reels, and the Evolution R Salt is their hallmark saltwater model. I've also fished with a Nautilus and been extremely pleased. We are headed to Belize in March - I'm building a new stick on a CTS blank, thinking about putting a new reel on it, but not sure I can justify the cost for what amounts to a yearly destination trip. 

I will mention that a nine weight is awfully big for bonefish. Permit and tarpon, yes, but if I had to choose a single, do-all blank, I'd go with an eight. Of course, if I had to choose two, I'd go 7 & 9. So there's your unsolicited advice, worth every penny you paid. Oh, and practice, practice, practice. Saltwater casting isn't anything like fishing around here. I've been guilty of spending thousands on a trip, only to look like, "an old woman swatting a bee with a broomstick" in Patrick McManus's words. 

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3 hours ago, knehrke said:

I am a huge fan of Ross Reels, and the Evolution R Salt is their hallmark saltwater model. I've also fished with a Nautilus and been extremely pleased. We are headed to Belize in March - I'm building a new stick on a CTS blank, thinking about putting a new reel on it, but not sure I can justify the cost for what amounts to a yearly destination trip. 

I will mention that a nine weight is awfully big for bonefish. Permit and tarpon, yes, but if I had to choose a single, do-all blank, I'd go with an eight. Of course, if I had to choose two, I'd go 7 & 9. So there's your unsolicited advice, worth every penny you paid. Oh, and practice, practice, practice. Saltwater casting isn't anything like fishing around here. I've been guilty of spending thousands on a trip, only to look like, "an old woman swatting a bee with a broomstick" in Patrick McManus's words. 

I liked the 9wt option as an all-purpose flats rod that could handle permit and juvenile tarpon (with cudas and crevalles thrown in there) but also cut through wind when going after bones. Since I also wanted a streamer rod, I ended up putting together saltwater compatible 7wt and 9wt setups. I liked the Mirage LT more than the heavier Mirage and with 8lbs of drag and negligible startup inertia I figured it would suffice for any 7wt saltwater application.

This is what I purchased: 

7wt: Orvis Clearwater rod + Mirage LT IV
9wt: Lamson Cobalt rod + Danielsson L5W 8twelve

These seem to be solid midrange products. I really liked the Nautilus reels, especially given that they're built in my hometown. I'll wait until my casting and general flyfishing ability justifies the higher end stuff.

 

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4 hours ago, left field said:

Nothing will make you feel smaller than the "well, you blew that cast" from a flats boat guide who just spent 45 minutes trying to find you a fish.

 

My flats guide meticulously took me over some tricky water to drift a live crab over a coral head that often holds mutton snapper. Having completely missed the timing to get a good drift over it, the guide urged me to "just flip it in there" in a futile attempt to salvage the effort. I proceeded to instead bomb it 50 ft past the target and smashing the crab on the surface of the water. I managed to spook every fish in the area and kill the crab. Man, and I was doing so well prior to that. Yeah, and this was with spinning gear. 

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When it comes to rods, I'm strictly a Sage guy, unless I'm building it myself. My problem is that I don't fly fish saltwater nearly often enough to justify the amount of specialized equipment that I have bought or built. My dad ran a fly shop down in Bath for years,  but that only fed the addiction. Now that I'm older, and of slightly greater means lol, it's only gotten more stupid. Do I really need to build a new 8-wt for Belize? I can barely throw the three I own now. But I really, really wanted to try that CTS Affinity X blank, mom...

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