Beginner to Fly Fishing looking for some direction

Ventura Bill

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Dec 22, 2016
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Bill
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Hi, My son and I are new to fly fishing. We are based in Ventura and I am looking at gear made for saltwater as they can fish fresh water but not vice versa.

My question is about the weight. Based on what I've read we should get 8 or 9 weight for surf, dock and jetty fishing. Is fishing a heavier weight fly rod similar to fishing a heavier inshore / offshore rod? For example, we were tuna fishing this year and were dragged around the boat several times when hooked up on the 20# set up and had much better control and strength with our 30# set up. Fish caught on 40# set ups were horsed in with little effort. While "more fun" on the lighter tackle the heavier tackle worked just fine.

Is it the same for fly fishing? Can we use an 8/9 weight rod for trout and other freshwater applications?

I'm not quite ready to buy both (which would be 4 rods) but will practice / fish more in salt water but realize there are more opportunities in fresh water.

Also, I'm looking at this rod - open to suggestions but would like to stay around $150

Amazon product
 

bufadora

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 13, 2011
232
125
Santa Cruz
Name
darren gertler
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Sorenson 15 Project
Find your fly fishing club. I used mine to take years off the learning curve. It was a friendly group with extra gear, advice, and casting lessons for anyone that asked. They love beginners and fresh blood ( kind of a an older group you know). Our club even had regularly scheduled fishing outings a few times a month.

It looks like these guys are in your area, https://www.sespeflyfishers.org/
 

Arima-bob

Ship faced aquaholic
Mar 9, 2012
4,967
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Too far from water
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Beeulzebob
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uh....
8/9 wt would probably work for trout, but it would be like catching a 20# tuna on 60# gear. The rod might be a bit heavy for you tippet though, and a lot of fish and flies lost.

3-6wt is ideal for trout.
 
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BiggestT

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 8, 2004
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SM
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Salsipuedes & Czech Mate
Surf and dock you can use an 8wt. I would not fly fish from a jetty as your back cast will snag in rocks and leave you breaking off flies. 9wt for calicos and bonito from a boat and on up you go depending on what your targeting.

As other poster noted, 3wt to 6wt for most trout applications. There are instances where you would need 7wt, or even 8wt to 9wt, but your targeting big fish such as bull trout or sea run brown trout, both of which run up to 20 lbs or more.
 
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errock_22

It wont happen if you don’t go
Apr 6, 2008
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Ventura / SB
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Eric B.
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F/V El Tiburon - 25’ Custom Anderson
Hi Bill,

I’m in the Ventura area too. A great place to check out is Eric’s Tackle on Thompson. He is actually bringing in more and more fly fishing gear, and as a matter of fact, there is a fly tying get together tonight at 6pm. Free event, just for like minded people to hang out, tie flies and swap stories and advice.

As far as gear, I’d look at the Echo Base kits, they have rod/reel/line for around $150 and are actually surprisingly good. If you look up reviews online, they are well received by reputable fly shops and Eric usually has them in stock as well as flies that work locally too. An 8wt is a good place to start for surf and inshore species. You’ll find out pretty quickly that fly fishing with a “heavy” rod is way different than conventional gear.
 
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Ventura Bill

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Dec 22, 2016
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Bill
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8/9 wt would probably work for trout, but it would be like catching a 20# tuna on 60# gear.

3-6wt is ideal for trout.
Hi Bill,

I’m in the Ventura area too. A great place to check out is Eric’s Tackle on Thompson. He is actually bringing in more and more fly fishing gear, and as a matter of fact, there is a fly tying get together tonight at 6pm. Free event, just for like minded people to hang out, tie flies and swap stories and advice.

As far as gear, I’d look at the Echo Base kits, they have rod/reel/line for around $150 and are actually surprisingly good. If you look up reviews online, they are well received by reputable fly shops and Eric usually has them in stock as well as flies that work locally too. An 8wt is a good place to start for surf and inshore species. You’ll find out pretty quickly that fly fishing with a “heavy” rod is way different than conventional gear.
Thanks, I've noticed that he's been carrying more fly stuff. Will swing by and chat him up. Can't make tonight - holiday school musical - but will drop in for sure. Thanks
 
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DH10

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 18, 2009
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Pinedale WY USA
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Dave Harper
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17 Crestliner
Fly gear is different than conventional, in that the line weight is geared towards the weight of the fly you are casting, not the size of the fish you are targeting. Trying to cast heavy or air resistant flies with lighter line weights is difficult and unpleasant. You can catch big fish with a 3 weight, but you cant cast very effectively. Fish like pike and musky require 8-10 weight rods not because they are going to stress the gear, but the flies are bulky and take a heavy line weight to throw. If you want a light saltwater setup that will work well with trout flies, a six weight will work fine. This does not apply to pelagics, where the fly rods are build more for fighting the fish, than casting! Also, fly reels that can handle the salt water are expensive. I would suggest you get a cheap setup as a 5 weight for trout or bass, then decide how far you want to get into it. I have at least 10 rod and reel setups from 3 to 15 weight, watch out!!!
 

Ventura Bill

Well-Known "Member"
Dec 22, 2016
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Ventura
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Bill
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None
Fly gear is different than conventional, in that the line weight is geared towards the weight of the fly you are casting, not the size of the fish you are targeting. Trying to cast heavy or air resistant flies with lighter line weights is difficult and unpleasant. You can catch big fish with a 3 weight, but you cant cast very effectively. Fish like pike and musky require 8-10 weight rods not because they are going to stress the gear, but the flies are bulky and take a heavy line weight to throw. If you want a light saltwater setup that will work well with trout flies, a six weight will work fine. This does not apply to pelagics, where the fly rods are build more for fighting the fish, than casting! Also, fly reels that can handle the salt water are expensive. I would suggest you get a cheap setup as a 5 weight for trout or bass, then decide how far you want to get into it. I have at least 10 rod and reel setups from 3 to 15 weight, watch out!!!
Thank you this was very helpful. I know I need to go to Eric's and talk about saltwater flies but in general are they lighter / similar to the trout flies? We usually get perch, croaker, jacksmelt from the dock/pier and are working our way up to halibut and corbina, but there's probably not a lot of halibut caught on the fly :)
 

RazorJack

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 20, 2013
221
282
Hansville, WA
Name
Nick
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19' Arima SR
You can definitely fish "freshwater" gear in the salt. Just need to rinse it after. There is not a huge difference between salt and fresh fly gear. Rods usually have metal reel seats and the guides are generally made with more salt resistant materials. That's about it. Still, salt gear will definitely rust up as well if not rinsed after use. I guide fly fishermen in the salt and almost all of my rods guides have corrosion to some extent
Reels are probably more important, but still need to be rinsed.

In fly fishing the size of the rod fished should most often be based on the size of the fly being fished. A six weight rod can land a musky, but would not be able to cast most musky flies.

That said notice I said "most often". I fish a 12 wt minimum for albacore even though I could throw most of the flies no problem with a 7 wt rod.

I'd suggest hiring someone for casting lessons. Its worth the money. Casting is important, but extremely so in the saltwater world.

YouTube is your friend.
 

RYAN CLOO

Newbie
Nov 23, 2019
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missoula mt
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ryan
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tracker
Once you get into fly fishing you open up a whole other can of worms... some rods will be same weight but SERIOUSLY different action, and the rest of your gear adjust to that weight line, reel, tippet. If your able to try some out it would be SUPER helpful rods go from 100 to thousands..I like temple fork outfitters.. not crazy expensive but lifetime warranty!! some reels have drags and some don't.... I fly fish everything from mountain streams to lakes for giant pike, I have a 5wt and an 8wt. that covers most everything, as previously mentioned its more about lure weight than fish size. 15 and 16wt are for big things like tarpon... prepare to practice casting ALOT!! the double haul is your friend! good luck!

rainbows.jpeg
 

jonhjax

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Mar 20, 2019
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jon
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n/a
Please go to a shop that specializes in fly fishing and explain to them that you are a beginner and want basic starter outfits such as ones made by Redington, Echo and Temple Fork. Whatever you do, please get fly casting lessons or enroll in a one day or longer beginners' fly fishing school. This will help you learn the basics much quicker than if you try to learn on your own have a friend teach you, unless your friend has experience in teaching people how to fly fish. This sport is about the opposite of regular fishing and when you are casting your using the weight of the fly line, rather than the weight of the fly, to propel the fly. If you learn good basic techniques and practice them you'll do much better at this sport than if you just try and learn on your own. How do I know this? I was a fly shop manager owner and/or guide for between 15 and 20 years and have taught at least hundreds, if not more than a thousand, people hot to fly fish. It's a great sport and I wish you the best of luck at it.
 
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danL_fisher

Newbie
Dec 9, 2019
4
2
38
Los Angeles
Name
Dan Lim
Boat
First I need to buy a house
As someone who had this same dilemma when getting started I recommend a 6wt. You can always over size your like on your rod with 7wt and even 8wt line if casting is an issue, note though line is not cheap. Another thing to consider is line type. Likely you will be using a sinking line or sinking tip line for salt water which is way heavier than a floating line making casting a heavier fly considerably easier.

As an all purpose rod I recommend a 6wt. When you do get into the trout part your probably going to find the rod a bit stiff and will likely lust after a 2wt or 3wt fiberglass rods or maybe even tenkara.

Cabela’s has some nice 6wt outfits that have everything you need besides a sinking line which you would want for saltwater. I’ve caught 25+ lbs brown trout it without breaking the rod :). They are the rls+ rods reel combos

Feel free to shoot me any other questions and welcome to the new addiction.
 

SalmonidDave

9' or higher only.15' two handed is way fun!
May 12, 2019
196
102
40
SFV
Name
Dave
Boat
N/A
Incoming tide. Look for big tidal


check out beaches at low tide and identify strcuture.

structure changes as tide changes

pink surfin merkin

learn to read structure by wave action

look for the eternal flame and fish in front of it.

7 wt fly rod for surf

5wt for trout

Do yourself the favor and get professional casting help.

Watch where you step you might spook the grey ghost
 

jonhjax

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 20, 2019
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florida
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jon
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n/a
An 8 weight outfit is your basic light all around salt water outfit. It also is a good bass and even steelhead and smaller salmon rod if you get the chance to fish for some of those. A 5 weight outfit is a good all around fresh water outfit for trout, panfish and will catch plenty of bass with smaller bass flies. Match your outfit to the size of the flies you use and you will have a much easier time starting out. You can use smaller flies on an outfit but when you use a fly too large for your line weight you can easily have lots of problems casting your flies. Once again, good luck and I hope you enjoy this sport. Fly fishing is a great sport and can be enjoyed by just about anyone who likes to fish.
 

Hellosugaree

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 6, 2019
218
241
35
San Francisco
Name
Timbo
Boat
13' Boston Whaler
In general you match the rod weight to the size of bugs you're throwing. In the surf you're throwing big lead heads and thus need a heavier line to move it. Wind also plays a factor.

To answer your question if you can fish a 9wt for trout, it depends. If you want to throw size 22 dry flies to spooky trout, then no. If you want to swing large streamers for steelhead then sure.

Imagine trying to fish a 1/12 oz castmaster for trout on a marlin setup. Theres no one size fits all for fly fishing.

Finally, in the surf you'll use a sinking shooting head whereas fishing for trout in a river how everyone pictures fly fishing will use a completely different line system. Casting and fishing these two are totally different beasts. With fly fishing you sort of need to pick what you're fishing for and buy based on that.

Not to discourage you, but if you get off on the wrong foot you'll be setting yourself up for nothing but frustration. I strongly suggest you go to a local fly shop (a place that only sells fly fishing gear) and talk to them.

Good luck man. Fly fishing is a blast.

FB_IMG_1581273026119.jpg

20180513_113031.jpg
 

njoyflyfishing

Well-Known "Member"
May 3, 2016
48
20
Diamond Bar, CA
Name
Nathan
Boat
16' Slideright
An 8wt is an extremely versatile fly rod. It's good for fishing the surf, salmon, steelhead, stripers, snook, shad, bonefish, redfish, etc. It allows you to toss a larger fly and heavier line and has the backbone for decent size fish on the fly. I have probably 3 8 wts in my quiver that I have used over the years for various things. Every manufacturer has a good 8wt. probably because they sell so many. For the surf, I actually look for an inexpensive rod that can cast. The beach is a bit of a harsh place for both the rod and the line, so I look for stuff that I won't feel bad about getting trashed. It's not the same as the flats or something of that sort. You can even go lower end on the reel and look at a graphite reel. I think echo used to have one that was a nice backup reel and nicely suited to the surf. I would also look for an inexpensive line as the surf is rough on them. I still have the remnants of an old teeny line that was trashed in the surf. I am not sure if people still buy those lines, but they were kind of expensive to get ruined in the surf. These days I think many buy the running lines and tip material separately and build their own sinking lines which may help with the problem.

I think someone mentioned a spey rod. I have not used one at the beach, but I would imagine that some of the newer switch rods and such might have a good application on the surf. It helps to have a longer rod to cast at the beach, and any rod that could roll or spey cast there would help keep your line and fly off the beach. I haven't used these for that application, but there are probably quite a number of people who could talk about it and help with identifying the right rods, reels, and lines.

For me there are about 3 main rods for fly fishing that cover most of the fishing that I have done. I like a 4wt for most trout fishing, I have a really great 6wt for throwing larger bass flies and light steelhead/heavy trout, and I have an 8 wt for what I mentioned above. I also have other stuff, but these are probably the ones that I have personally used the most.

Fishing technologies change quite rapidly, and what is available today in fly fishing (or offshore fishing) has changed quite a lot to address the markets. As others mentioned clubs and retailers can help a bit with getting clued into the right stuff to get going. Also, the clubs in the area like for guys (and gals) to bring their kids to learn about the sport. Most clubs have monthly meetings with speakers, and most of the time the speakers are pretty good. Also, the clubs have outings that may be a good place to get pointed in the right direction. Here is a list of the clubs in the Southwest Council FFF:


Also, there is a club in Ventura, the Sespe Fly Fishers. I haven't been to that club, but it looks like a good club from their website. On the website they have a list of programs and outings, and specifically they meet every month for surf fishing with the Santa Barbara club and offer free introductions. There is a name and a number for the organizer. Perhaps give this guy a call and see if they can give you more information or loaner gear to give the surf fishing a try.


Tight Lines,

Nathan
 

Bob Sands

BOB SANDS TACKLE
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Feb 26, 2011
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Hi Bill,

If you have not purchased anything yet, You might want to contact Fisherman's Spot in Burbank.. They are having a bunch of Manufacturer's days coming up where you can perhaps get a lesson, get the straight dope directly from each companies pros, then try out the various rods from a variety of top companies.. Some of these sessions will be at the Parking lot of Fisherman's spot and others will be at the Pasadena Casting pond.. If you really want to get your feet wet into this sport, those events might be the places to be...

Best of luck