If you are a saltwater fly rodder and don't know what you want this holiday season, the Saltwater Fly Fishing Gift Guide should help give you some good ideas. The Guide includes our newest, best-selling and most recommended items in the saltwater fly fishing category, as well as some good ideas by price. If you are still jammed up Gift Certificates always fit.Van Staal VF Fly Reel was to “engineer in strength and machine out the weight.” With the VF series, Van Staal machined the drag cartridge directly into the frame increasing overall rigidity while reducing weight. As with Van Staal's extremely popular surf reels, the drag system is completely sealed to avoid the possibility of saltwater and sand intrusion and other sources of malfunction. And like the VR Series of spin reels, Van Staal utilizes a unique forging process that increases the strength of 6061-T6 aluminum and maximizes the rigidity to weight ratio.
VF Fly Reels are incredibly lightweight, with the ten weight reel weighing in a hair over 8 ounces, while maintaining durability and rigidity essential to their design. The 12 weight weighs less than a half ounce more than the ten weight, coming in at 8.86 ounces. You will appreciate the weight when you spend a day covering water in search of stripers or roosterfish from the surf.
The eight weight to twelve weights are the "HD" models and optimized for saltwater with a large arbor spool design, easy to grip reel handle and a matte silver type 2 anodization that will mask the inevitable dings and scratches that come with rock hopping at night or scrambling to the bow in an albie blitz.
Van Staal has built a reputation for some the best and most durable reels in saltwater fishing, and the Van Staal VF Fly Reel builds on this legacy. ($449.95-549.95)
Best Seller: The RIO Coastal Quickshooter XP
The RIO Coastal Quickshooter XP (Extra Powerful) was a top performer for bonito and albies this fall! The XP version of Quickshooter was developed with the East Coast angler in mind and adds more weight at the front creating a line that loads fast for quick delivery and can cast large flies as needed. While RIO's original Outbound series cast great, the mono running line seemed to tangle more than other lines. RIO's Coastal QuickShooter incorporates a more supple core and an improved coating to reduce tangling in cooler climates. A winner! ($89.99)
Top Tackle: Thomas and Thomas Zone Fly Rods
The Thomas and Thomas Zone Fly Rods only shipped to us in October, but they are already a favorite. T&T has created a workhorse fly rod at a more affordable price that is ideal for our northeast saltwater fly rodding.
Saltwater flyrodding on our rocky shores with strong tides is demanding on both the tackle and the angler. The Zone is built more durable than other fly rods it is in no way diminishes the performance. Its fast action is versatile and can make a pitch to albies that bust close to the boat and has the power needed to make a "hero" cast to the striper you thought was out of range.
The Zone uses the same StratoTherm resin as the premium Exocet series from T&T. The unsanded blank and reel spacer are hand-rolled at T&T and the entire rod is assembled at their factory in Greenfield MA. (8-10 wt $545)
The Linekurv Stripping Basket is our favorite stripping basket. A cut out to lay your rod in, cones to keep your line from tangling, just the right size, light but durable, a handle for transport. and no sharp edges to catch your flyline. It's just about perfect. ($59.95)
Your search for a durable saltwater fly box is over. The Umpqua Boat Boat is made of a lightweight plastic that is gasketed and therefore watertight. It is the perfect solution for saltwater fly storage. Each box features a thick, durable slotted foam internally on the top and bottom lid, and unlike other boxes on the market, one external slotted foam sheet for easy drying. Storing wet flies is the recipe for rust. Baby Boat 10"x 8"x 3" Ultimate Boat 13"x 10"x 3" and Magnum Boat 17"x 12"x 4.75" ($39.95 - 59.95).
Fly rodders are typically using one hook and they have to make the most of it. A good hook sharpener could turn the "I had a tap" and a "he missed it" into the fish of a lifetime. Dr Slick Hook Sharpeners come in 4" and 6" sizes and have Medium/ Light (4") or Medium/ Heavy (6") grit. They are treated with deep penetrating long lasting rust inhibitor for a long useful life. The small file goes in your flats bag and the 6" can handle flies above 1/0 ($10-15.99)
The AFTCO Lanyard is great for holding all those important gadgets close buy. A soft vinyl coil with two corrosion resistant nickel plated steel quick clips for an easy and quick release of tools. ($7.99)
Going for a "Wow!": The Orvis Helios 3
The Orvis Helios 3 is billed as the "most accurate rod ever". That's a tall order. In saltwater fly fishing accuracy is most critical when flats fishing for bonefish and stripers; but when is it ever a negative?
Orvis technology has dramatically reduced the side to side oscillations found in some degree in every fly rod. In the hand, it feels as though any wasted wiggle is directed down the blank and into the line for improved accuracy AND distance. The power present in the H3 also makes it an excellent fish fighter for a 9 footer.
That was clear while turning and lifting +20lb Harkers Island albies last fall. The flats fisherman will appreciate the matte finish that mitigates "rod flash" that can blow your shot while wading in the skinny. ($898)