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Pujic

Tippet and Leaders and Techniques

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Good morning everyone,

 

I was wondering, what types of leaders and tippet do I need to take with me on my first saltwater fly fishing excursion? The area is mostly made up of huge sand flats with a few scattered weeds and rocks. What pound test do I need? Flouro, mono or braid? Shock tippet or no? Should I expect to sight fish only or do I just pick a spot and hope for the best? In other words, what am I looking for? I'm used to trout and bass streams and lakes, both of which are worlds apart from this type of fishing.

 

I also remember seeing some mangroves here and there, but I am not 100% sure that I will be able to get to them, although I will try my best.

 

I am tying needle fish flies, crazy charlies and roaches like mad. I also hope to make some smaller shrimp and crab patterns as well. I am only taking my 8wt down with floating shooting head line - will this be sufficient? Am I overlooking anything? Sorry about all of the questions!

 

Thanks so much in advance for your help guys!

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The eight weight should be fine. Most of the time fishing the inshore saltwater, I use a weight forward line. the only time I use anything else is when I'm fishing the surf, where I usually use an interrmediate sink line. I do have spools for my rod with the floating line, intermediate sink and fast sink lines ready to go though. If I could only take one line, it would be the WF floating. If you are fishing for reds, either look for bluish tails sticking up out of the shallow water, or look for bulges of water from their heads while they cruise along marsh edges, or other stucture. Cast AHEAD of the bulges, you don't want to line the fish. For speckled trout, here in Louisiana, we usually look for gulls or other birds working either schools of bait or shrimp that have been pushed up to the surface by schools of fish below them. Work the school from the edges after apporaching carefully. When you can't see anything, that's when you resort to blind casting. If you see a school of menhaden or mullet (takes a while to recognize the characteristics of a shool) cast to the sides or just behind the school and hope for a fish looking for stragglers. We usually just use a commercial tapered leader here with the class tippet we'd like. Fluoro tippets might be a better choice for the cleaner waters of Florida, though. Can't comment too much on the other species, since there are no inshore/nearshore snook, tarpon, permit, etc. in this part of the gulf. I hope this helps a bit.

 

Mark Delaney

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Nick:

I generally keep my salt water tippet simple, just a straight piece of 20 lb fluorocarbon. It turns over most of my flies. The only mods I might make is add a piece of 14 lb if the fish are leader shy. Not much of a problem along the South Jersey coast. Or if I'm getting to many bite offs from toothy critters like bluefish, add a bite tippet of 30 to 50 lb fluorocarbon. I'm not sure this would help with barracuda but it might. Another trick is to tie your flies on a 4XL hook. For example, instead of tying your needlefish flies on a short shanked hook. Use the longer shank and begin your tie just in front of the barb.

I'd add some Surf Candies to your arsenal, Tie them 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long.

Tied with Ultra Hair, they're a pretty durable fly, and will imitate any of the small baitfish, like Silversides, Rainfish, Glass minnows etc.

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Thanks Philly! I'll have to stock up on some heavier tippet material. Nothing around here calls for stuff that strong.

 

The closer we get to the trip the more excited I'm getting. I literally can't wait!

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Nick, down here the normal tippets unless going offshore are about 8 to 15#. It is rare to use more than that unless you are going to the beach to fish for large fish (the 1 bite per day type of thing), or offshore. If you like tying your own leaders, the following recipe may be of interest. A simple leader designed for a tippet of 8-15 lbs, might be 4.5 ft of 40# test, 2.25 ft of 30# test, 1.125 ft of 20# test plus approximately 16" of the class tippet to be used. I'm lazy, I just buy a knotless leader these days. The other reason is because we have a lot of seaweed in our surf yet and it tends to hang up on the knots in a hand-tied leader. Things are going to vary a bit from location to location. You might want to ask what the typical leader used is at your location once you get there. I do have one friend who never used a tapered leader in his life but always just straight 12# mono. He's in 80s now and doesn't fish much, thoguh.

 

Mark Delaney

 

 

 

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