This morning I had an interesting enquiry from Dimitris Adamopoulos who is keen to target Saltwater species such as Bass on fly but also Barracuda. Here is what he had to say:
Nick, I just checked your blog and I saw that you are a fly fishing guide so i just wanted to ask you about the setup which would me the best for me. As you see in the attachment I will fly fish in the sea for sea bass and small barracudas. Could you tell me about what backing, lines (#8) , leaders and tippets are the most appropriate for those setups? The flies I am going to use is on 2 and 2/0 hooks. Should I use sinking lines or sink tip ones? Thanks for your help! Best Regards, Dimitris Adamopoulos
And he even included a diagram!
Dimitris has been discussing the option of a Greys X Flite, an OK rod but in my opinion for the kind of cash a Greys Platinum XD Saltwater would set him back it is well worth the little extra. I have used this model all over the world and have nothing but praise for it. Chasing up the rear as a budget saltwater fly rod is the Vision GT Saltwater Dimitris is also keen on the Lamson Litespeed, a reel that I have in my own collection and a product that can be relied upon, the drag systems just do not fail or lose their bite. However Litespeeds don't come cheap so other options would include the very popular Lamson Konic or the sexy Loop Multi. In all honesty though most of the smaller Bass and even Cuda don't merit a top notch drag. In which case a Vision Koma is hard to beat. As with any gear you use in the salt wash it well in fresh water after every session and keep it greased. One word of warning, don't use a shower head to rinse down. I have learned the hard way that this actually forces salt into the mechanisms.
OK so that's the main gear but we now need to take a look at fly lines. This is a huge subject and one which I could tackle I guess, blog post by blog post, but lets try and be brief now. If fishing in hot climates/warm water conditions, a fly line with a coating designed to tackle such conditions is required. Otherwise go for the cool water products, which means that even standard Trout lines will suffice. Ensure lines match the rod and select a weight forward profile or similar (rocket taper, triangle taper etc) although shooting heads are also worth a look.
Dimitris also enquires about what density of fly line he should use. Well, like all fishing this really depends on species, weather conditions etc. But as a general rule a floating line will be great for Bass, especially when fish can be seen busting at the surface (look for gull activity). Poppers are an ideal artificial to use with a floating line to cause a disturbance although I also like to fish this pattern fast on an Intermediate. They splutter, then dive in a very enticing fashion, spewing bubbles as they go. Bass and Cuda are great fun but Mackeral also offer the prospect of exciting sport and maybe even some small Tuna such as Bonito. Tackle these with a fast sinker, the Depth Finder 500 series by Airflo is spot on. On the subject of backing, 20lb to 30lb is fine and try to get 150 yards to 200 yards on the spool, just in case something very big is encountered. You never know what might take hold in the salt ... even a Great White Shark perhaps, see here!!!
The leader used to catch Bass will be the same as for Cuda, although Cudas are toothy predators that will need the addition of a wire trace to save bite offs. There are a ton of great products out there although I am particularly keen on the Dyneema cored Armour Leader by Pro Leader. This stuff is just so easy to knot. Double grinner 12" of this on to an 8' length of fluorocarbon and go fishing! Not on our website at present but we do stock it here at the shop. Also great for Pike.
Quite by chance I am off to Crete soon with the family and will definitely be sneaking out a rod so perhaps I maybe hooking a few Greek saltwater species of my own!