This is the 2nd chapter of our “Getting Started – Gearing Up” post. Keep in mind that your first outfit is always a compromise. Too heavy for some stuff, too light for others, especially this last season, when yellowtail, tuna, and dorado could be reached (it seemed) by anyone in a rowboat. If you think you will mostly be fishing near-shore, go a bit lighter. If you think you will mostly be fishing offshore, go a bit heavier.
Rod: 9′, 9 or 10wt, graphite
Reel: Single action, direct drive or anti-reverse; roughly 4 inch diameter spool, large arbor; cork or synthetic disk drag
Fly Line: Integrated shooting head, Type 6 sinking
Backing: As much braided Dacron or Spectra backing as will fit (minimum 250 yards)
This one outfit will cover a lot of bases – inshore species like calico bass, bonito and barracuda, to smaller yellowtail, tuna and sharks. You’ll be a bit over-gunned for the small stuff, about right for fish into the low teens (larger if there is no cover and you are a patient person), and under-gunned for the bigger stuff.
On the low end of the price range, expect to pay somewhere around $335 for an entry-level outfit: for example, a TFO Left Kreh Signature Series rod ($110), Teton Tioga reel ($165), Scientific Anglers Custom Tip Express line ($40), and 250 yards of Scientific Anglers 30lb braided Dacron backing ($20).
On the high end you could pay around $1,000 more: $1,420 for a Sage Z-Axis ($670), Tibor Riptide ($630), Rio Outbound integrated shooting head ($70) flyline and 350 yards of Spectra backing (approximately $50).