Explore the best entry-level, mid-priced, and advanced saltwater fly fishing outfits available in 2022!
by Thomas Nugent • June 15, 2022
When it comes to building out your first saltwater fly fishing outfit, it is best to look at outfits in three separate categories: Good, Better, Best. ReelFlyRod's Pro Staff likes to use these levels to help delineate to our customers into which level they likely fall. We divide these levels into three monetary categories: <$500, >$500, and >$1000.
Saltwater outfits run with a slightly higher premium than freshwater rods, reels, and lines and this is because there are special saltwater components that need to used in the builds. The best saltwater rods are built tough to withstand the corrosive nature of salt and saltwater reels are built even tougher.
Because saltwater is extremely detrimental to the innards of fly reels, they need to be built with sealed drag systems that keep salt out of the drag system. Outside of some of the largest freshwater species, there aren't many cases in which you will need a solid drag system from your reel. This is not true with saltwater reels, saltwater is one of the places that you absolutely need a sealed drag and you need a reel whose drag system is not compromised by nitty gritty saltwater.
For saltwater settings, the bare minimum that you will need is a 7wt which is really only applicable to Redfish, Bonefish, and maybe Snook. A lot of saltwater anglers will gravitate to the 8wt or 9wt fly rod which is more applicable to a wider variety of saltwater species. Because of the versatility of the 9wt in saltwater, these curated outfits will be built on the base of the 9wt fly rod.
Rod: Echo Ion XL 9wt 9'0" - One of the better bargain rods on the market and backed up by a company that honors their warranties. The Ion XL 9wt rod excels at casting to stripers, juvenile tarpon, bonefish, redfish, jacks, bluefish, and really anything that swims in saltwater. This 9wt also is a great rod for pike/musky and king salmon. The Echo Ion XL is designed for throwing tight loops and big, bulky flies in windy conditions.
Reel: Lamson Liquid -9+ - The Liquid is among, if not the best, value reel on the market. Durable, a sealed drag system, smooth drag, large backing capacity all make the Liquid a reel that can be found in any fly fishing situation.
Line: Scientific Anglers Frequency Magnum WF9F - Magnum fly Lines are made for big flies and big fish. Designed with an aggressive weight-forward head, the Magnum fly line is built for tossing large flies, turning over heavy rigs, and blasting through the wind which makes it perfect for an all-around saltwater line.
Rod: Coastal Coldwater Field Kit - Redington built the Field Kit series from the ground up and tailored these outfits for one purpose. Coastal Coldwater was made for fishing Stripers and blues while the Tropical Saltwater kit was made for species like Bonefish, Redfish, Snook, and Permit.
Reel: Redington Behemoth 9/10 - A fan favorite for the large backing capacity, quick retrieval rate, tough diecast build, and a super powerful carbon drag system.
Line: Coastal Quickshooter WF9F - Short, powerful front taper for easy casting and turnover of baitfish patterns.
ReelFlyRod also includes a complimentary set of flies in all Redington Field Kits to get you going on your fly fishing adventure.
Rod: Temple Fork Outfitters Mangrove Coast 9wt 9"0" - A rod that is equally at home in the hands of a novice or an expert. The Mangrove Coast takes the place of the crowd favorite Mangrove. The Mangrove Coast features a sturdy and strong butt section of the blank for increased power when landing fish. This powerful butt section also helps in repositioning casts in midair or picking up more than 40ft of line to start a new cast.
Reel: Lamson Remix -9+ - Lamson Reels are an easy recommendation no matter the application. A sealed drag system, solid construction, smooth drag all while being easy on the wallet makes the Lamson Remix one of the best performers on the market.
Line: Scientific Anglers Mastery Saltwater WF9F - One-line-does-it-all for saltwater conditions. The versatile compound taper design provides front loaded power to shred the wind, while retaining a delicate delivery for spooky bonefish on the flats. This line is built for a wide range of temperatures and environments so it will not wilt in the heat or become too stiff in cold water.
Rod: The Orvis Recon 9wt 9'0"is one of the highest performing rods at a mid-tier price point, the Recon uses the Helios 3 as a foundation, utilizing its construction techniques and performance attributes to refine and improve the new series. Increased hoop strength, better tracking, improved damping, and ultimately, significantly improved accuracy are now incorporated into the Recon
Reel: The Orvis Hydros V is lightweight bar-stock aluminum machined frame and spool, fully sealed drag, and best-in-class line pickup per revolution, buttery-smooth startup inertia and a narrower spool that reduces line stacking.
Line: The Orvis Hydros Saltwater All-Rounder WF9F Fly Line is the perfect choice to cover a wide variety of saltwater situations and species. As the name implies, Orvis Hydros Saltwater All-Rounder excels in all situations and is your one-line-does-it-all for saltwater conditions. The versatile compound taper design provides front loaded power to shred the wind, but will present a fly to spooky fish in clear water
Rod: This Asquith 9wt 9'0" is a fast-action fly rod that can generate a lot of power, so it is great in situations where fast line speeds, precise accuracy, and wind are all important factors. This rod excels in windy conditions or when extremely long casts are required.
Reel: The Ross Evolution R Salt 9/10 possesses exceptional braking powe,r is housed in a lightweight, yet incredibly strong frame and spool that is based on the Evolution R unique design. Evolution R Salt reels are incredibly lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 8 ounces which makes swinging in high winds much easier during a long day on the boat.
Line: The Amplitude Smooth Grand Slam WF9F has a unique taper with a short, aggressive head to load rods quickly, maximizes energy transfer, and enhances the power of modern fast-action saltwater rods. This line will throw tight loops long distance with ease, slicing through the wind, and turn over long leaders and saltwater flies.
Rod: The Scott Sector 9wt 9'0" rod feels light and alive in your hand, with an intuitive feel that will make any angler a better saltwater caster. This is a rod that is perfect for short quick shots as well as long distance shots. Never before has a saltwater rod excelled at any distance from 20 to 100ft, and everywhere in between. The Scott Sector will also allow you to float the fly in quietly, when stealth is required to avoid spooking your prey. As a finishing touch, the Scott Sector is hand crafted with the very best components to ever grace a fly rod.
Reel: The Evolution R Salt 9/10 was developed to stand up to anything the sea can throw at it. The R Salt builds on the foundation of its smaller sibling, but instead of the Evolution R’s 7-disc system, the R Salt features a supercharged 16-disc sealed drag system comprised of stainless steel and carbon fluoropolymer, producing nearly 30 pounds of drag pressure.
Line: The SA Infinity Smooth Saltwater WF9F Fly Line, Winner of the Best New Saltwater Fly Line at IFTD 2019, is the most technical, versatile, accurate, and advanced saltwater line on the market today. Featuring the revolutionary AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability, the SA Infinity Salt will handle the most rigorous of conditions year after year. The Amplitude Smooth Infinity Salt is a half line weight heavy to turn over any fly on even the windiest of days.