I like to keep my skiff very simple. A lot of people believe that you can't bring too much stuff, I disagree. I prefer to have a small amount of gear that allows me to effectively target any fish in the waters that I guide in. In this article I am going to explain what fly rods I carry to fish from the Keys to the Everglades.
When choosing fly rods, I want them, if possible, to serve double duty as several of mine do. Also, I want them to be very similar in feel to each other. I fish out of a Maverick 17 Hpx-S and a Maverick 18 Hpx-v with no more than 2 clients, and prefer to have one client fish while the other sits and switch off through the day. This rod system is great for clients, or for a recreational angler. I write on the cork grip of my rods in permanent marker the weight of the rod so that I can easily instruct my client which one to grab. Further, I use Rio Ridge Clear lines on my rods.
The first rod I carry is a 9' G Loomis GLX Classic 9wt with a Tibor Everglades and a Ridge Clear fly line. This is an incredible rod, and is great for bonefishing. I use a leader tapered down to 12lb flouro and the Ridge Clear line allows me to have 15' of clear floating, and still have the color on the rest of the fly line so it's easy to track the fly.
The second rod I carry Is a 10wt G Loomis Pro 1 with a Tibor Riptide. This rod is used for tarpon and permit. On this rod I also use the Ridge Clear fly line.
The third rod is a 12 wt G Loomis NRX Pro 1 with a Tibor Signature. This rod is for big tarpon and I either use a full floating or intermedite depending on the time of year and where it is that I am fishing.
The fourth rod is a 7wt Orvis Helios 2 with a Tibor Backcountry. I have a clear fly line on this rod, as wells the others. I use this rod for smaller bonefish, or extremely calm conditions, and sometimes for spooky redfish in clear water.
The fifth rod is a G Loomis Pro1 8wt, with a Billy Pate reel and Rio Redfish flyline. I use this rod for snook fishing in the Everglades.
The sixth rod is a custom Classic G Loomis IMX 6wt, with a Tibor Tailwater reel and Ridge Clear line. This rod is slow action, and is perfect for short casts in creeks in the Everglades for redfish and snook. This rod is a ton of fun.
These are the rods I carry. The bonefish and permit rods will be left at home if I'm strictly fishing the Everglades, and if I'm in the keys, I will leave the 6 and 8 wt behind. On an average day I have 4 or five rods with me.