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Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Captain Jim Freda Fly Fishers-Pick Your Tools Wisely When Getting Started
by Capt. Jim Freda
Shore Catch Guide Service

hen heading out on my 2820 XL Parker Sport Cabin to target any of the many species that are available for the saltwater fly fisher I like to be prepared with at least four or five rods that are rigged and ready to go. I look at my rigged rods in the same way that a carpenter looks at the tools on his work bench. For instance, if he needs to do a precision cut then a fine toothed blade would be in order, but if he is just ripping wood than a blade with less teeth would fit the bill. In either case the type of job that needs to be done will dictate the tool that is best suited to get it done.

It is no different when you are fly fishing when you consider the tools of the trade that are available to you. That is why there are so many types of rod weights, reels, lines, and flies that you can purchase.

Many fly fishers that are just starting out in the sport are at a disadvantage because they may only have one rod, reel, and line type to cover a multitude of different situations and conditions. This is understandable however as money is usually an issue for anyone who is making an investment in this sport. To invest thousands of dollars in equipment at the get-go would not be wise when you are beginning because what happens if you decide you don’t like the sport and lose interest. That leaves you with a lot money that potentially just went down the drain if you can’t resell your equipment.

But if you are going to stay with the sport than an investment into different rods, reels, lines, and flies is an absolute necessity. The fly fisher when beginning should evaluate the type of fly fishing that he or she will be doing most and then get the appropriate gear to cover it. For the beginner we usually can break down our fly fishing into two broad categories, surf or boat.

For the surf the workhorse outfit for the NJ coast to start with would be a 10 weight rod, a standard or large arbor reel, and an intermediate line. For the boat the same rod type and reel will work but a 300-350 grain line would be more appropriate. A nine weight rod would also work for either application but I like my clients to suit up with the heavier rod to better be prepared to tackle a big fish that can strike at anytime.

After you acquire these basics adding additional lines to your arsenal would best serve to increase your versatility. From the surf you can add a 300 grain sinking line which could be used when fishing in fast currents to better get your line down or when casting into a headwind. From the boat a 400-450 grain line or a Rio DC Type 8 sinking head with intermediate sinking running line would be good. These heavier lines will allow you to get deep if fish are holding down deep or keep you in the game at a moderate depth if there is a fast drift. End

Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Jim Freda, All Rights Reserved

Articles by Captain Jim Freda

Capt. Jim FREDAEmail Captain Jim Freda

Jim Freda is a highly respected charter captain, author, outdoor writer, seminar speaker, and photographer. His first book Fishing the New Jersey Coast, has been a best seller and received the “New Jersey Center for the Book Award” as one of the most notable NJ books. He co-authored a second book Saltwater Fishing a Tactical Approach, A Guide for Northeast Beach and Boat Fishermen, with his Shore Catch associates Capt Gene Quigley and Shell E. Caris.

Jim has weekly fishing columns that appear in the Bergen Record, NJ's second largest newspaper and the Coast Star and Ocean Star newspapers of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Nationally, Jim is a contributing editor for Fly Fishing in Saltwaters magazine and also writes for Fly Fisherman magazine, Saltwater Sportsman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Big Game Journal, and Regionally he writes for On the Water magazine where he has is own monthly column, The Fisherman magazine and the NJ Federation of Sportsman Clubs newspaper.

As a seminar speaker Jim is featured as one of the celebrities on the Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series, as one of the “Stars of the Show” at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ, the Northeast’s largest fly fishing show and is on the National Pro Seminar slate at the Toyota Saltwater Expo also in Somerset. He is also regularly featured each year at many of the local fishing clubs in the surrounding area including the State’s two largest clubs the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association and the Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County. Capt Jim has also been a guest speaker at all the Trout Unlimited Clubs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jim has also been a special guest speaker at the Bloomberg Network in New York City.

He is a member of the National Factory Pro Team for St. Croix Rods and pro staff for Fins Fishing Line, AVET Reels, Spro, Gamakatsu, Hogy, Korkers, Costa Del Mar, Columbia Sportswear and Aquaskinz.

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Saltwater Fishing A Tactical Approach Fishing the NJ Coast