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About Us - saltwater fly fishing guides in Key West FL
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Fly fishing guides Key West, Florida
Recommended list of fly fishing gear for the Florida Keys - leaders, flies, tippet, rod weights and reels

Although we gladly provide high-quality equipment, there is something special and familiar about fishing rods and reels that are your own. These are some suggestions that will help guide either what you choose to purchase or to bring on your fly fishing adventure.

Bonefish: Fast action 8 and 9 weight rods are ideal tools for these fish. Keys bonefish are larger than those found in the Bahamas and Central America, requiring heavier rods to both fight the fish and to cast the larger flies that these bonefish prefer. Bonefish taper or Saltwater taper floating fly lines are perfect for this fishery. A quality reel with a smooth drag system and at least 150 yards of backing is also a good idea. Leaders are often 12 feet in length and taper down to 12 to 16 pound tippet.

Permit: A fast action 10 weight is the perfect rod choice for these tough creatures. The slightly larger rod is a benefit when a permit gets into slightly deeper water such as a channel and it also helps to cast the heavy, bulky flies often required to fool these fish. A quality reel loaded with a floating 10 weight line and a couple hundred yards of 30lb backing is also suggested. Depending on the wind conditions, leaders are often between 10 and 15 feet with a 16 to 20 lb tippet.

Tarpon: To enjoy this fish to the utmost it is imperative that you scale your tackle to the size of the quarry. For large fish, 11 and 12 weight outfits are ideal, although when conditions demand, a 10 weight can be an exceptionally effective tool. When fishing for large tarpon, a reel’s drag system is put to the test. High quality reels with smooth drags capable of holding 250 yards of 30lb backing are required. Most of the time a WF floating tarpon taper line is all that is necessary. Leaders average about 12 feet in length consisting of a long section of 40-50lb butt material, a 12-20lb tippet and a 60-80lb shock tippet. For babies (fish 10-30 lbs), the same rods used for bonefishing are ideal.

Redfish/Snook: An 8 or 9 weight rod that loads quickly but is also capable of reaching long distances is ideal. Shots at these fish can range from very close to the boat to 65-70 feet. Floating lines are used almost exclusively for these fish. Generally, leaders are shorter than those used for bonefish or permit. This helps turnover the leaders and flies at short distances. Tippet size ranges from 12 to 20 lb and while a shock/bite tippet is not necessary for redfish, a short length of 30-40lb will protect the leader from the snook’s abrasive mouth and sharp gill plates.

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