The best saltwater fly-fishing gear can withstand sun and spray for a more productive, enjoyable day on the water.
For most people, fly-fishing brings to mind clear mountain streams and rainbow-colored trout sucking down tiny flies. But fly-fishing can encompass much more than just the hunt for stealthy trout—if you can catch it with a traditional spinning rod, you can catch it with a fly rod, whether largemouth bass in freshwater or the abundance of fierce-fighting fish found in saltwater. In the ocean is where you’ll find some of the hardest challenges for the fly-fisherman, as quarry can range from swift and strong albacore tuna to picky bonefish.
Though those are just a few examples of the hundreds of species of saltwater fish available to eager anglers, to properly stalk the fish that live in in the sea with a fly rod though, you need similar gear to your regular freshwater fly-fishing set up. But there are some special items and beefier upgrades you’ll need to take on bigger, tougher saltwater denizens.
We’ve gathered some of the best saltwater fly-fishing gear to buy right now.
1. G. Loomis NRX+ Fly T2S Fly Rod
Upgrade your quiver this year to reach more saltwater fish with the recently released G. Loomis NRX+ Fly T2S Fly Rod. It’s handmade in Washington State using a unique blend of materials and tech designed to increase casting distance without undermining the delicacy needed to stick short casts. Titanium guides and an aluminum reel seat protect from corrosive seawater.[From $950; gloomis.com]
2. Abel Rove Series Reel
Tote a work of art with you on your next trip for tarpon with Abel’s new Rove Series Reel. Not only is it a total looker, it uses Abel’s super-smooth cork drag system that’s serviceable on the beach or boat. This high-capacity, ultra-durable reel may end up your one and only saltwater slayer.[From $750; abelreels.com]
3. Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack
Pounding across bays in skiffs brings lots of salt spray in your face. Toss your gear in Fishpond’s Thunderhead Submersible Backpack to make sure nothing gets soaked, in the boat or out on the flats. The fully waterproof pack offers lots of outer lash points and includes gear straps to secure a fly rod tube.[$300; fishpondusa.com]
4. Spyderco Pacific Salt 2
It’s always handy to have a knife by your side when fishing, and the Spyderco Pacific Salt is the one you want out on the ocean. Clip this bright green blade in your pocket and the special LC200N, ultra-corrosion-resistant steel (available in fully serrated or with a plain edge) will take on all fishy tasks without rusting and breaking down over time.[$193; spyderco.com]
5. Simms Flyweight Pliers
Prying hooks out of saltwater fish can be tougher than with a typical freshie, so strap on Simms’ Flyweight Pliers to release your catch cleanly. The anodized aluminum construction will keep corrosion away, and the ergonomic design lets you easily maneuver the textured jaws in tight mouths.[$180; simmsfishing.com]
6. Howler Bros. Loggerhead Hoodie
Fly-fishing on the coast means being bombarded by unrelenting rays all day, which is why light and airy protection like the Howler Brothers Loggerhead Hoodie is essential. Made from 50 percent recycled polyester and rated at UPF 35+, this hoodie has a microfiber-lined stash pocket, kangaroo pocket, and thumb holes for hand protection.[$69; howlerbros.com]
7. Pro Sun Skiff Pants
When the sun is beating down relentlessly out on the flats, it’s nice to have your legs and tops of your feet covered by a physical barrier. Enter Orvis pants. Not only do they offer UPF protection of 50+, but they’re treated with a water-repellent coating so they stay dry all day and use a soft, four-way stretch fabric so any onboard movement is comfortable and restriction-free.[$119; orvis.com]
8. Grundéns SeaKnit Boat Shoe
For a more sure-footed stance on a rocking boat, switch from bare feet to Grundens’ new SeaKnit boat shoes. They’ve got a non-marking gum rubber outsole cut with siping for non-slip goodness, plus a shock-absorbing EVA midsole to provide your dogs with all-day comfort. The upper is a seamless, breathable nylon knit treated for light water resistance.[$110; grundens.com]