What to pack for a Saltwater Fly Fishing Trip

It’s the time of the year where most of us around the shop are preparing for our Salt Water destination trips. Every year we do a variety of trips to warm places, from all inclusive guided trips to sleeping in a cabana on a beach with no fresh water. Besides the fish, the tropical weather, and the great people of the various countries we go to one of my favorite things about going salt water fly fishing is the simplicity of packing.  When I go up to Alaska or even Idaho I have bags of gear, waders, boots, tents, and who knows what else but you never know what your going encounter and must always be ready for it. With a Saltwater trip to Mexico, Bahamas, Venezuela, Belize, or any number of other destinations you really only need 11 items. Here is my list of 11 items we all take on any saltwater destination trip we do. If you have these items you’ll be set wherever you are.

1.     8 weight fly rod, there are a number of other rods you may want to have but it’s the perfect weight for a bone fishing fly rod.

2.     Saltwater fly reel that will hold an 8 weight line and 150+ yards of backing.

3.     Saltwater fly line, occasionally if you going to a destination where there is lots of coral a backup line is good to have just in case.

4.     Flies, a variety of shrimp and crabs.

5.     Boat Bag, we typically use the Patagonia Great Divider. It’s the perfect size; it’ll fit into an overhead carry on compartment, and keep all your gear dry.

6.     Flats booties, if your doing a guided trip a set up the Simms Zip it booties is perfect. If you’re going out walking on your own all day I would suggest a boot with a little more protection and support such as the Patagonia Marlwakers.

7.     Sun shirts, I like the Patagonia Sun Shade. If you prefer a collared shirt the Patagonia Island Hopper is a great piece.

8.     Quick dry pants, the Tropical Flats pants are the best you’ll find.

9.     Saltwater tippet, we like to use the RIO Alloy Hard tippet. The cool part is the bigger sizes work great for building trout leaders, plus it works for steelhead fishing.

10. Good pair of sunglasses, if you have lighter eye’s a darker lens, but we still love our copper lenses.

11. You never know what you may catch, and some of these salty critters have teeth so a good pair of long handled pliers. Rising has some and if you want the best you can find the Hatch Tempest Pliers.

There are little odds and ends that you will want to take, but if you have these 11 things you’ll be set for your trip. One of the other big questions we get asked a lot is how we travel with our fly rods. Some of us have travel tubes such as the Fishpond Overland Tube, but I prefer to just carry all my rods on in their socks duct taped together. I’ll tuck them next to the window or stow them in the very back of the overhead bin.

When traveling to most of your destinations you can carry all your rods, reels, flies, tippets, leaders, and everything else on except pliers. I recommend carrying on anything you can, including your flats boots. With so many of these remote destinations your gear doesn’t quite make it on time and you may be ¾ the way through your week without your luggage. Some of you may be luckier than others, but if I’m paying for a week of all inclusive fishing in the tropics I don’t want to be without my essentials. When I travel home I throw everything in my check bag except my luggage.

I hope you find this helpful, if you have any questions or are thinking of getting into the Saltwater game drop us a line we’d love to help you out.

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Sage One Rod Review

Twice a year Outdoor Retailer comes to Salt Lake City, it’s a time we all look forward to. We get to see all the new toys and connect with friends that we don’t get to see to often. One of my close friends who I’ve known since I got into the industry recently took a job with Farbank, which owns Sage, Redington, and RIO. After the winter show we took 2 days off and hit the river.  We had all sorts of gear to demo and one of the things I was most excited to play with was the new Sage One rod.

At the shop we all cast rods before we bring them in to sell, but as most anglers know there is a difference in casting a rod on the lawn and fishing one on the river. For this two day excursion we were loaded with the Sage One 9’ 5 weight and RIO Gold WF5 lines. Winter finally paid us a visit that weekend, and on Sunday morning as we pulled into the bunny farm on the Middle Provo River we had the lot to ourselves. Not only was I excited to fish for the first time this year, but to have the place to ourselves was pretty epic.

We fished a variety of dries, nymphs, and streamers. I wanted to put this “all around rod” to the test, and I surely did. I usually prefer a true medium rod especially when fishing small size 24 midges with 6x tippet. The Sage One rod is a quick stick, and I figured I’d fully put it to the test and see how much pressure I could put on a fish with 6x tippet. I hook one fish fully expecting to snap it off, and as he took off down stream the rod had enough give and sensitivity in the tip to protect my tippet connection.

Like I said above my usual style isn’t to fish medium-fast or fast rods, but there are windy days when having a quicker rod makes presenting the fly much easier. I haven’t had faith in a rod with this type of action to protect my tippets, but my opinion has changed. There is no tip deflection in the rod, and I have to say hands down, it’s one of the easiest casting rods I’ve thrown and fished. I’ve been out casting this rod now with over a dozen customers and no matter their preference in action or style all these people have thrown this rod in various sizes with ease. It truly is a rod that fits most anglers casting strokes.

When nymphing and throwing streamers this rod lived up to all the hype, it has a backbone and will turn over heavy bugs. It handled a 150 grain Streamer Express with ease. I am really looking forward to fishing this rod over on the Green River or South Fork of the Snake out of a boat. With large dry flies and terrestrials on a windy day this rod will excel.

 

One of the other notable things that I loved about this rod is the new handle. For those who haven’t fished a wells grip, you need to give it a try. One of the things I’ve found with this grip is it really allows you to generate power for your cast from the butt section of the rod to the tip. Cigar grips are great, but because of the position it puts your hand in most people tend to use their wrist more and only generate power in the tip of the rod. This in turn means you are doing all the work and more prone to tailing loops, when you cast a rod from the butt to the tip you are allowing the rod to do the work and casting becomes a dream.

Some people have a hard time with the price of a premium U.S. made rod. If you can put your fly where you want 7 out of 10 times instead of 3 out of 10 times you are going to catch more fish. It’s that simple and with the castibility of this rod your fly will be in the hunt more often and longer.

I thought the RIO Gold in a 5 weight suited this rod perfectly. It loaded the rod, but I can also see where some people may like to go up a line weight to help load it. My recommendation would be if you usually line up your rods try a different taper fly line such as a 5 weight RIO Grande or a Scientific Angler GPX. These are a little more aggressive condensed heads and I think you’ll find they’ll load it to suite your needs.

Schmidt did a tour of the Sage factory last August when they were building these rods, if you want to hear all the techy fun stuff about these rods come in and pick his brain. Overall I was not expecting these rods to live up to all the marketing hype, but given how many we have already sold our customers thought it did. I still wasn’t sold and didn’t think this rod would be something I’d fish that often given the action, but I am eating crow here and give the One rod my full endorsement. Thanks for reading if you have any question give the shop a call or feel free to email me.

Have a good one!

Bryce Nichols

bryce@wrflyfisher.com

Western Rivers on the water report from the Green below Flaming Gorge

The Green river can be a sleeper in the winter time. It can be a treacherous drive, but when the weather permits the fishing is some of the best you will find. If you fish the Green primarily in the summer months, you should give it a try in February or March. These two months offer some of the best dry fly fishing you’ll find. You rarely will even see another boat or angler and when you do it’s usually the guides enjoying great fishing of their own. In February we see really good midge hatches down by little hole, and even the occasional blue winged olive hatch. A few of the WRF crew headed out and took advantage. Brandon, Matt, and Eli floated primarily streamer fishing and Nick ran the shuttle and wade fished down at little hole. The streamer fishing was awesome, with dark colored flies. Usually we fish large Galloup style patterns with sinking lines to get them down in the zone. Nick had excellent dry fly fishing down at little hole, he had a good midge hatch with a few late after noon BWO’s. If your thinking of getting out of the city put Dutch John in the GPS and head on over.