There are two main differences between fresh and saltwater gear. The first is size. Probably 95% of the gear sold for fresh water is smaller than a size 7 wt. And 95% of the gear sold for saltwater is heavier than a 7 wt.. The overlap is in the 6 through 10 wt. sizes.
The second major differences is in the corrosion resistance. There is a bigger effort to put more money into corrosion resistant materials on the saltwater gear. However sometime it is less money: they use more plastic on the saltwater.
In the overlap area there is lttle difference in the construction of the rods. Scott sells the same rod in a freshwater version( or they did a few years ago) and a salwater version. The only difference was the fitting.
Almost all of the larger reels are marketed as "salwater resistant". I don't know of any reel where they say "fresh water only".
Your gear will rust if you only use it in fresh water too. I use the same gear for fresh and saltwater, i just spend more time in maintaining it when I am fishing saltwater.
That's no joke concerning Nevada Caster's reply, and for my money your own as well. Thanks to you both.
Before addressing your all too pertinant 'species' question though ... my experience amounts to a couple of trips (Colo. and Wyom.) for what I was told were stocked rainbows and browns, but primarily farmpond panfish in Kansas.
What I'm headed for now is a two-year trek through both Asia and Latin America. I'll be both inland and costal all over, but the only boat I plan to fish from will be an Amazon dug-out, for 'peacock bass". Is it wishful thinking, as I'll be backpacking, to hope for one rod and reel to be versatile enough for anything 25 or so pounds and under?
You can catch big fish on a small rod and small fish on a big rod. Unfortunately, sometimes the disadvantages are so great that it is not satisfactory. When I was fishing for Altantic Salmon on the Ponoi Penn. of Russia, I was using a 10 wt 2-handed rod. I ran into a guy who was using a 2 wt and catching the same fish. He knew what he was doing! Almost everyone else would break the 2 wt in 5 minutes or less. Also if you fish for small trout witha rod big enough to catch large peacock bass, you will not enjoy catching the trout; well, I would not enjoy it for long!
If you can only take one rod , I guess that I would take a 7 or 8 wt. However, they now have multi-piece rods, like 7 pieces, that are very easy to carry. Check into them, you might be able to take two.
I usually tell people to buy the best rod that they can afford . However if you are not an avid fisherman, and will not spend much time at it, perhaps look at something cheaper. But for sure, get a rod with a lifetime warranty.
Most companies now offer multi-piece rods. They only weigh 3 to 4 ounces. If I were backpacking, that is what I would take. Easy to carry, less likely to bust in transit. Less likely to get stolen. If money is an issue, look at the Redington Wayfarer, Cabelas catalog on the web, St. Croix. If money is not an issue, look at any of the premium rod builders and the others listed above.. They are all good.
One of the first thing that you should do is go to your local fly shop. They probably have just what you need. For sure they will be able to give you the same advice that you are getting here. Perhaps better!! you are going to need a lot of advice on which line to take, what kind of tippet and leaders, etc. also you will have to carry your flies. You cannot count on being able to buy flies anywhere once you leave the states! You better take EVERYTHING that you will need!
Were I off on such a dream-saga, I'd consider taking two or three bargain-price multi-section rods of the same model. Also, some replacement tip loops and guides, a spool of rod thread, and all-purpose glue. I'd match them with a pair of larger Pflueger Medalists and at least two extra spools; tougher than a hocky puck.
If this seems too redundant, consider that graphite is, after all, a brittle hollow tube. If something goes pop south of Ulan Bator, you'll appreciate the backup.
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