Saltwater anglers are a special breed. Maybe it's the fresh salt air, the unpredictability of wind and weather, or the hit-and-miss frenzy that comes with chasing pods of big fish. Regardless, there is one thing that they have in common - they do a number on their gear, putting it through some of the toughest conditions imaginable. No one wants to get on blitzing fish, or get into casting range of an elusive permit, and have an issue. But never fear - we've pulled together some of our absolute favorite items for the saltwater fisherman. If you're on the hunt for new gear or trying to find something for the saltwater angler in your life, look no further.
1) Sage Igniter
Sage’s newest Ultra-Fast rod did not disappoint. This rod is an absolute cannon, one of the most powerful we've ever tested. This rod really punches and is ideal for sinking lines, big flies, and long-distance casting. Windy weather have you worried about reaching fish? Grab the igniter and go, period. We've recommended this model for many saltwater anglers, whether battling northeast gales, or casting crab flies to permit in Cuba. And true to form, Sage also made sure that this rod was no slouch in the looks department either. The level of fit and finish is what you would expect from them, a real stand out when compared to its older brother the Method. If you want to wow, this rod is as close to a sure bet as you're going to find.
2) G Loomis Asquith
Arguably one of the nicest rods on the market today. This is one of those rods that has a devoted following and for good reason. Ask anyone in the know and they'll tell you that the Asquith is the sweetest casting rod out there. It has a certain feel to it that comes from the perfect marriage of performance and refinement - it loads incredibly well and yet has the ability to make absurdly accurate casts at virtually all distances. When we first tested it, we were shocked at how easy it was to generate line speed and quickly punch out casts over 90 feet or more. We've had particularly rave reviews about the Asquith from inshore anglers and bonefish aficionados. It's not the cheapest rod out there, nor should it be. Reach for this rod if you really want to knock the socks off any saltwater angler.
3) Scott Meridian
This is our most popular saltwater rod by far. We sell more of these rods in 8 to 12 weight than any other rod that we carry. Scott really got this one right. The Meridian is light, strong, casts beautifully, and is extremely versatile. From Stripers to Tarpon and everything in between, the Scott Meridian will impress even the most discerning anglers. This rod has backbone, and will help turnover flies at great distances, and provide control to put them wherever you want. Meridian gives the angler great control over energetic fish and if we were to recommend one saltwater rod for all situations, this would be it!
4) Redington Predator
The name says it all. This a rod for big fish that eat big flies.The Redington Predator is a perfectly priced big fish rod designed to handle both saltwater and freshwater situations. This is fast action rod that can handle big, heavy flies. This rod was initially very popular in the Pike and Muskie circles and still is; however Saltwater anglers have picked up on this rod as well. It's become especially popular for inshore fishing situations since the Predator has the backbone and durability to handle tackle-breakers like Tarpon, while still remaining very castable, even at close range. As value goes, this is a great mid-price rod. For the angler looking to add another rod to the quiver without spending a ton of money, give the Predator a look.
5) TFO Mangrove
At under 300 bucks, how do you go wrong here? The TFO Mangrove is an Inshore specialist. This rod was co-designed with legendary angler backcountry angler Flip Pallot with features required for skinny water fly fishing. The Mangrove is essentially a mid-flex rod with medium power. The idea behind that was to create an easy loading rod with delicate presentations in mind. TFO has certainly achieved thisas the rod helps lay down line quietly and easily. It won’t punch through the wind as well as other rods because it was not designed to, you'll want to look elsewhere for that. But if you are looking for a rod that will keep those laid up snook nice and calm as the fly hits the water, the Mangrove is your weapon. In sum: this is a great rod for the money and a great addition to the arsenal for any skinny water angler.
6) Nautilus NV-G Fly Reel
The Nautilus NV-G is one of the best reels on the market, plain and simple. This thing is a beast. With incredible stopping power and a flawlessly smooth drag under load, the NV-G can legitimately handle almost any fish that you can target on a fly rod. This reel comes with a fully sealed drag, one of the few on the market. Keeping the drag uncompromised by salt water ensures perfect drag performance on every fish, time after time. The sealed drag also delivers a consistent drag curve with rotation of the drag knob, and very little maintenance over the life of the reel. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the NV-G is also light as well as durable. For the angler that likes different colors or custom decorations, the NV-G can also be ordered with custom options and colors. It seems like almost every angler that comes into the shop really wants a Nautilus NV-G (if they don’t already have one). If you are looking for that special gift, this is a great option.
7) Hatch Finatic Gen 2 7 Plus
The Hatch Finatic has been one of the most widely fished saltwater reels out there. It seems like no matter what lodge, rod rack, flats boat, or instagram account you come across; at some point you look down and see the Finatic. This reel is a workhorse. It can take a vicious beating and still perform as if it was just out of the box. Hatch has improved a few things for the Generation 2 that make it even better than the popular Gen 1. The Gen 2 has an improved drag housing that is even more watertight ensuring a perfect drag on every fish. Hatch also redesigned the handle assembly to incorporate the same type of metal throughout. This prevents electrolysis-induced corrosion. Sticky or seized handles are a thing of the past! Another nice feature of this reel is that it comes with two arbor options. The large arbor spools allow for plenty of backing however, if you are chasing Hog Johnson and need more wiggle room; the mid arbor spools will give you much more capacity. The Hatch Finatic Gen 2 is a phenomenal reel by any standard and the perfect addition to any saltwater angler's gear bag.
8) Ross R Salt Limited Edition Matte Blue
The Ross R Salt is a high-speed reel built for saltwater conditions. This reel is super light with a corrosion-resistant finish making it a perfect addition to any saltwater rod out there. This reel has an over-sized drag knob that can be palmed while fighting fish. This eliminates fumbling for the drag knob while the fish heads to Portugal at 100mph, giving you more control over the fish and the fight. The drag system on this reel is flawless and can withstand beatings from the most demanding fish out there. We also particularly like the Special Edition which comes in a beautiful deep blue color and is only available while they are still in stock. Given how limited these are, be careful about waiting too long on this one. If you are still wondering what to get that angler in your life, consider something unique and that most people don’t have. Give this one a look.
9) Seigler Fly Reel
It may be less well known that some of the other big name reels on the market, but the Seglier's are fantastic - and unique. Their most distinguishing characteristic is the Lever Drag system. This reel has a knob for broad pressure adjustments before the fight. Then once the predetermined drag level has been set, the lever functions as the fighting drag adjustment. This does two things. First, it allows the angler to adjust the drag curve depending on the species of fish they are targeting. You can go from a very light drag curve with a maxed-out pressure of only a few pounds all the way up to a very heavy drag curve that will put over 38 pounds of pressure on bigger species. Second, the lever delivers quick adjustments for when that fish decides to get crazy on you late in the fight. This reel is maybe the most robust we have ever seen. It is over-engineered in every conceivable way. Although not the lightest reel out there; the Seiger will take anything you can dish out. It has a fully sealed drag, oversized power handle, and is hand-machined and built in the United States. This may actually be the last reel you will ever need to buy.
10) Simms Guide Jacket
Being dry is really important when you are fly fishing (as anyone who has had the misfortune to experience otherwise will attest!). Whether you are on a boat or wading in the surf, you need to be comfortable to make the most of those precious days on the water. For that, we have chosen the Simms Guide Jacket for all water situations. From salt to fresh, stripers to bonefish, wading to boating, this jacket will handle it all. In fact, we think this might be the best bang-for-the-buck in the whole Simms lineup. The Guide Jacket has two large chest pockets with integrated retractors that can take a large fly box and hold your nippers, forceps, and pliers. It comes with a tuck-away adjustable hood, drawstrings at the bottom and internal pockets as well. Of course the most important feature of the Guide Jacket is its Gore-Tex construction. This fabric is 100 percent waterproof while still maintaining excellent breathability, so that you are appropriately protected from rain without and perspiration within. This is one of the more reasonably priced jackets from Simms yet still maintains that top-tier quality that Simms is known for. It's a great pick.
11) Simms Intruder Salt Boot
New this year, the Simms Intruder boot has impressed even the harshest critics. Right off the bat, you can tell it was meticulously designed by a team who has actually put some serious time on the flats. The first thing you notice is its weight - or lack thereof. This boot is very light. Shockingly light. Fractions of ounces may not seem like much at first, but when you are walking the flats for miles on end you will appreciate it! Atop the boot is a neoprene cuff and integrated gravel guard system that serves a few purposes. Above all, it keeps sand, mud, and rock out of the boot by hugging the calf. The gravel guard protects the laces and keeps them tucked inside the gravel guard preventing tripping. The non-slip sole is also puncture-resistant just in case you step on that 200lb stingray. Lastly, one thing we really like about Intruder Salt boot is its lack of drain holes. Yes we actually like this! Drain holes only allow sand and mud inside, packing the boot full and turning your walk into an uncomfortable experience. In our opinion this is one of Simms best flats boots ever!
12) Patagonia Men’s Sunshade Crew
If you have been looking for a lightweight, quick drying, comfortable fishing shirt that protects against the sun, look no further! The Patagonia Sunshade Crew Neck is the perfect shirt for the avid angler. Lightweight and breathable, this shirt is comfortable in all fishing conditions. It's great for the tropics and with its 50+ UPF protection, you don’t have to worry about constantly applying sunblock. The Patagonia Sunshade Crew is also moisture wicking and quick drying, helping you stay cool and dry during your time on the water. The Sunshade Crew also comes with a front chest pocket, something rarely seen on similar lightweight shirts and is very nice to have for critical tools or other important items you may want. You can’t go wrong with this one.
13) Van Staal Titanium Pliers
Here at the Compleat Angler, all of us have fished since we were young kids. Some of us as young as 5. And there are few things you always seem to be buying over and over. Pliers being one of them. I don’t want to even think about how much money I have spent on pliers over the years because my cheapo ones rusted and seized up after one season. I finally decided to cough up the money for a nice pair and I will never look back. The Van Staal Titanium Pliers are about as nice as it gets. To start, they are completely impervious to saltwater corrosion. They come equipped with laser-sharp carbide cutters that will handle braid, mono, fluoro, and light wire with a single cut. A leather hip sheath and safety lanyard helps protect your investment in case they get knocked around or pop loose. They also come with a warranty in case they are mistakenly run over by a tank and get damaged (we're still not convinced that that would do much to them, to be honest). For the angler that has pretty much everything this is a great gift. The anglers that have these love them and, the ones that don’t, really want them. You can’t go wrong by giving them the best of best. This is a gift that will last the rest of their angling life.
14) Simms Challenger Pull-On Deck Boot
This is a great gift for that angler that spends a lot of time on boats. Whether it's a flats boat, drift boat, or offshore boat, The Simms Challenger Pull On Deck Boot is perfect for them all. With the non-slip and non-marking soles, the Challenger is safe and comfortable option for those long days on the water. The 9” boot is ideal for warmer climates while the 14” is insulated and perfect for those spring and fall conditions in the Northern latitudes. Keeping your feet dry is key to a comfortable and productive day on the water. The Simms Challenger Pull-On Deck Boot will ensure dry feet and happy anglers. Give this one to the boat angler on your list.
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