Q __I am new to saltwater fly-fishing and would like to ask your advice on choosing three fly-fishing setups. I will be fishing mainly in Baja for tuna, dorado, etc. (no billfish) and in the Florida Keys and Cape Cod. What weight fly rods/lines from which manufacturers should I choose?
For the tuna, very large dorado and the giant tarpon in the Keys, choose a 12-weight outfit. These fish require a powerful rod that will ”lift” fish from below the boat. A 10-weight would be ideal for many species in Baja, including all but billfish, very large dolphin and big roosterfish. It would be excellent when throwing big flies in the Cape Cod area and for all but the very large sharks and tarpon in Florida. My third choice would be an 8-weight rod. In fact, with these three rods you can go virtually anywhere in salt water and be well-armed.
As for line selection, you will need several. I would purchase a billfish line from any of the major line companies for the 12-weight. With its short head you can make a quick cast right behind the boat and still use it somewhat like a shooting head. Even better: Get someone to make you a lead-core shooting head (the lead-core head should be 27 feet of Cortland LC-13 trolling line.) Because of its air resistance, a 12-weight floating line proves difficult to cast for all but real pros, so avoid a floating line for this rod.
For the 10-weight, you can use the lead-core shooting head for deep fishing, along with a conventional weight-forward floating line. For the 8-weight, I would suggest a 300-grain sinking line accompanied by a standard weight-forward floating line.
I’m afraid I cannot fairly offer specific manufacturer recommendations. You’d be hard-pressed to find bad tackle manufactured today for saltwater fly-fishing.