Saturday, 4 February 2017

Gear guide

It takes a long time to find the right gear that works for you and when it comes to saltwater even more so. Unlike fresh water where there are many who have already tried and will be able to give you good advice,the saltwater market is smaller and a lot of gear hasn't been tested here with the harsh environmental factors playing havoc on your gear.
There are some great rod/reel combos out there now for getting started at reasonable prices but when it comes to other gear it unfortunately falls short with a lot of gear either coming in as really expensive or just not doing the job. This has caused most of us to make our own gear. 

So I thought I would cover some of these areas and what gear and considerations are required.

This is one of the biggest problems I have with limited solutions. Most of the shoes are either booties for coral/flats or boots that are heavy and expensive.  My first pair was a pair of my old Teva sandals and these were great except for rock hopping where I got a bit cut up. My next pair was my old sandal/shoe and these were great for rock hopping but only lasted a season before falling apart. Most of the shoes don’t seem to have good solid soles for rock hopping. Therefore I have come to the decision it is cheaper to buy some $30 shoes and who cares if they last a season. I would have to go through a fair many pairs before I end up spending $200 which is what most of the boots are.
I have heard the best is getting an old pair of felt soled boots as they have amazing grip on them and this I would believe.

Normally I wear just a normal backpack but I have a waterproof bag inside for all my keys, phone, camera etc. But recently I was put onto a waterproof bag that wasn’t too expensive and just rolls up at the top. This way I don’t need the separate bag inside and it can be used as a flotation device if I for some reason fall in. You can if you search find them for $40
Now the other thing with having a bag is access to flies and that’s were a vest comes in. I use an old trout vest. And it only holds flies and a few other bits mainly so I don’t have to go into the bag every five minutes. But be wary about too much gear and weight.

Strip tray-line management
This one took me a while of trial and error but I finally managed to find something that works and only cost me $10. The bonus with this is that you don’t have to pull line off the water so you can cast further and I get into less tangles. A lot of the water I fish on has rocks with plenty of sharp edges that gets my line hooked up with waves crashing in making for spending too much time untangling. Please see my previous post on how to make one.

Having something light and packable and able to hold up to the elements I managed to purchase a North Face packable breathable rain jacket. This has been a god send. No matter what the weather does I feel warm and comfortable.

Normally I just wear an old pair of cargo shorts as I can stuff stuff in the side pockets like my smelly pilchard but they also take a beating with the salt water. Come autumn and winter though and you need something to keep you warm in the water. You could use a pair of waders but that’s a lot of expense for something you may only use briefly during that season. I find I get out very little at that time of year but certainly still do in early autumn or late spring so I did come across the idea of using a pair of wetsuit pants.

Fly boxes
Most of the smaller boxes just aren't right and what they try and charge for a flybox is horrendous. It costs $100 for a large flybox that I can make for $15. what a rip. I have a number of boxes with most of them made myself. I have one C&F box that holds my clousers and I really would like another one but can't warrant another since I can make them so cheap. I have smaller ones that I put into my vest and a large one that’s in my bag for some of the really big flies. Please see my previous post for making one of these.

Measuring fish
Unlike fresh water fishing were you're more likely to catch and release with salt water we all like to take a few home so knowing what the size limits are and measuring your fish keeps you legal.
Keep a measuring tape or make marks on your rod for legal sizes. You might also want to have a cloth or a matt for measuring and releasing small fish without damaging them.

I have currently been using a knife to cut my leader off flies but it is not very convenient. A clipper on the vest will make things easier but care must be taken to make sure it doesn't rust.

A slim pair of these for removing hooks can be an advantage but care must be taken to also make sure it doesn't rust. Maybe oiling it after use. The pair i used to use was actually a surgery clamp.

Prepared burly
Not specifically gear but I have found pre cut up my pilchard into small bags and kept in the freezer makes it easer to keep in my pocket and chuck in with little mess or fuss.

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