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Trevor Skinner

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Getting Started
September 09, 2020, 04:09:12 PM
Saltwater flyfishing is exploding globally and GTs have become a bucket list target for lots of flyfisherman, both those new to the sport as well as the old hands. As a target species they have numerous challenges but are certainly 'doable' and like all other forms of catching GTs on rod and reel, it's visual and very, very addictive.

The long wand takes some perseverance and more than a little practice but like most things worthwhile once you reach a level of proficiency it becomes second nature. I would put this one warning out there, don't keep swapping between the fly rod and the spinning outfit, on any given trip commit to using one or the other. In any case, once you become a proficient caster you realize there's not many situations that you can't cover with a fly rod but the only way to get to that realization is to fail and keep trying.  There's many instructional videos out there and some great casting instructors who can set you on the right path but fly casting is a bit like playing golf, you can get by but getting good at it requires an understanding of the nuances. Most importantly, learn to double haul. 

Fly fishing for big, powerful fish like GTs is somewhat specialized and the tackle reflects this. Do not skimp and, no, your Alibaba special rod and reel combo (with the free fly line) will not cut it. Equipment must be robust but at the same time light, strong and reliable. I've seen more equipment failures with GTs heading for the horizon than all other species combined. So what's needed:

Rod: Good quality 12 weight 9 foot fly rod. With the recent development in rods, 11 weights are becoming more popular as they're easier on the shoulder if the bite is hot or you're having to prospect likely looking spots. For the most part though GTs are opportunistic predators and you'll be sight casting to cruising fish.

Reel: Suitable winch, strong with a great drag. It will need to be able to hold at least 200 metres of backing (I use 80lb braid on my 12 weight). Don't skimp... 

Fly Line: 12 weight (or 11 weight) weight forward tropical saltwater line with at least a 50lb core. Don't use the welded loops, cut them off and replace them with braided (or kevlar) loops nail knotted multiple times to the fly line. Practice this on an old fly line until you have the connection rock solid and fool proof.

Leaders: I've used up to 130lb leaders, particularly if there's coral or the area is known for big fish. If the fishery only supports smaller fish (60-90cm) then 80lb is fine. There's no need for tapered leaders for heavyweight saltwater use so all my leaders are 9ft and straight-through.Good quality fluorocarbon is best.

Flies: Most GT fly boxes will have a selection of baitfish patterns and poppers from size 4/0 to 8/0 made on strong, thin gauge quality hooks. Some of my bigger poppers are 10/0. I've also started to use some 4/0 crab patterns with some success.

This post is just meant as beginner's primer and nothing definitive and each sentence could probably develop into an animated discussion over many beers (and has). The rewards for getting it right will be with you for a lifetime.

Trevor 
Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 04:19:30 PM by Trevor Skinner

Luke Wyrsta

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Re: Getting Started
September 10, 2020, 09:10:13 AM
Thanks for the contribution Trevor  8)

Doug Terry

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Re: Getting Started
September 10, 2020, 06:59:56 PM

Taken on a sage xi3 12 weight gulfstream reel rio gt line and a self tied Black an dpurple Brush flie 55kilo fron Aitutaki

Luke Wyrsta

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Re: Getting Started
September 10, 2020, 07:24:21 PM

Taken on a sage xi3 12 weight gulfstream reel rio gt line and a self tied Black an dpurple Brush flie 55kilo fron Aitutaki


Superb Doug!