In fresh water, every cast is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. The beauty of a stream or lake filled with trout or bass is that mistakes are easily forgiven. You can take your time to get it right. And most often, no one is watching.
Some days in the salt can also be that easy, where acres of stripers consume anything you throw out there, or the bonefish want to pounce on anything they see, but mostly it’s not like that.
A great day of tarpon fishing is often measured in “shots,” not numbers of fish landed. Every minute you stand on the bow waiting and watching, the pressure rises as you realize you may not get many chances. And when your shot comes, you’ve got a moving tide, crosswinds, and traveling fish to complicate matters.
To make matters worse, your fishing buddy is likely watching, awaiting his turn. The guide is calling the distance and direction, his voice strained with anticipation. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a pressure cooker, and we’re all likely to blow it—and blow it badly—at least some of the time.
Those times when you are up to the task, the last thing you need is for your gear to let you down. A line that wilts in tropical heat? Fail. A reel that chokes and backlashes? Fail. Or a rod that is too slow and clunky to deal with the fast pace and high demands for single-shot accuracy? Fail.
The good news (or bad news) is that today’s best saltwater tackle won’t let you down. The top rods, reels, and lines are designed by world-class saltwater fly fishers. They know the performance requirements, and they build to far exceed them. That excessive and obsessive fly-fishing passion leaves us with the rods and reels we can take with confidence to the most challenging fishing environments on earth. From there, it’s up to us.
<h2>G.Loomis Pro-1 $725-$815</h2>Proprietary lightweight, stiff graphite, 3M Matrix Resin, REC Black Ion Recoil guides, and tapers designed by the world’s greatest competitive caster made NRX saltwater rods a common sight from the flats of Key West to reefs in the far Pacific. Our editorial staff has caught tuna, tarpon, bonefish, permit, snapper, barracuda, striped bass, false albacore, and numerous other species with 4-piece NRX rods, and then the rods became obsolete. Well, kind of. The new Pro-1 series has saltwater rods from 8- to 12-weight but they are undeniably lighter and stronger than regular NRX rods because they are 1-piece rods with no ferrules. Ferrules add weight and are the natural weak points of any rod. Remove them and you’ve got a better casting and fishing tool. Because you can’t pack them in your luggage, they aren’t practical in many instances, but they are awesome. We looked into it, and you can check 1-piece rods onto a plane as luggage just as you would skis or golf clubs. gloomis.com
Saltwater Fly Rods