Find the Right Fly Rod Weight - Saltwater

Part 2 of our Rod Breakdown focuses on Saltwater fly fishing. The 8wt rod is arguably the most common saltwater rig, providing a load of versatility for different species and techniques. Many anglers start with targeting bonefish and redfish, and as they progress to targeting bigger species, it's imperative to match the proper weight rod to target larger, more powerful saltwater fish. Bigger fish mean heavier lines, heavier flies, supported by larger weight rods. Many saltwater destination trips can be supported by an 8wt, 9wt, and 10wt rod. Continue reading to get a deep dive on our breakdown on rods for all things saltwater fly fishing.

8 Weight Fly Rod

The gateway rod to all saltwater fly fishing, the 8 weight stands as the most versatile and most used rod of all time across all saltwater species.  Chasing redfish, drum, trout, or sheepshead on the Gulf Coast?  You will need an 8wt.  Traveling to Mexico, Belize, or the Bahamas? An 8wt is mandatory for bonefish, triggers, or even small to medium sized permit.  This is the rod to invest in, and then grab a backup or two.

Favorite 8 Weight Rods for Saltwater:

9 Weight Fly Rod

To consider yourself a savvy saltwater angler, a 9wt rod is a must have for your bag of tools. This weight rod is designed to give you the ability to cast quickly, especially for fast moving fish, however it packs enough beef to easily handle fish within the 15-20 pound range, and in the hands of a skilled angler, can handle much bigger fish without creating the wrist fatigue of a larger weight rod. The 9wt class has underestimated versatility and is useful in both fresh and saltwater. 

A perfect rod for bull Redfish, Permit, juvenile Tarpon, Pike, Musky, Golden Dorado, Peacock Bass and King Salmon.

Favorite 9 Weight Rods for Saltwater:

10 Weight Fly Rod

Many anglers begin their saltwater journey with an eight weight rod. While the eight is a fantastic rod for Bonefish and slot reds, the time comes when you start thinking about Permit, bull Redfish, or maybe jacks and Tarpon. This is when you should consider adding a 10 weight rod to your arsenal. 

The 10wt rod excels at casting bigger flies and handling the power of bigger flats species. High winds and long cast are also easier with the 10. Many shore-bound anglers, either surf casters or jetty rats like to use the ten matched with an intermediate line to deliver flies to stripers and jacks. The guides at the Woodlands Plantation in Louisiana love the power of the ten to land big winter time bull reds. The ten is also a perfect windy day permit rod and has saved the day many times in Mexico.

Favorite 10 Weight Rods for Saltwater:

11 Weight Fly Rod

An 11 weight has become a staple for anglers used to throwing a 12 weight at a range of species. With improvements in graphite technology, fast-action, saltwater fly rods are able to deliver the same if not better action when throwing large flies, are lighter in the hand, but also have a stronger construction for fish pulling power. A perfect rod for large Tarpon, Jack Crevalle, Cobia, Barracuda, Giant Trevally, and other pelagic species.

Favorite 11 Weight Rods for Saltwater:

12 Weight Fly Rod

The rod that sets the bar for chasing migratory Tarpon in Florida, Texas, Mexico, and beyond, a 12 weight is a must for anglers after the “big one.”  But it’s not just a one-tune show.   A 12wt also covers anglers traveling to Christmas Island or the Seychelles for Giant Trevally, or places like Magdalena Bay for pelagic species.  These rods pack a massive punch and offer the backbone to fight the 100+ pound fish. 

Favorite 12 Weight Rods for Saltwater: