Leland Sonoma Traveler 8ft 5 Weight 4-piece Fly Fishing Outfit:
This is the outfit that Leland used on his days off!
Efficiency is the secret of any well-crafted fly cast. A balanced fly fishing outfit, like the Leland Sonoma Traveler, embodies this commitment. Our rod, reel and fly line compliment one another and amplify your body's movement, transferring your effort through the fly rod and into the fly line. The result are casts that celebrate our sport by providing you with controlled distance, accuracy and a subtle presentation, all with astonishing ease.
Our Leland Sonoma Traveler fly rod is designed to respond to the short, compact casting stroke we teach in our Leland Method casting classes. The five weight Sonoma Traveler will help you cast any trout fly with astonishing accuracy and efficiency. This eight footer tracks true, is balanced in hand, and will make you a better caster by rewarding the right stroke with brilliant results. Designed as the ideal beginner's rod, this portable four-piecer ended up as one of the finest dry fly rods we've ever cast.
Adorned with our special Leland grip, the Sonoma Traveler fly rod literally fits like a glove into your hand, adding intimacy that other fly rods often lack. Our intuitive grip provides you with added purchase and control of our already well-balanced fly rod. This rod is truly and extension of your body. Of course it's finished with all the right components, including a highly-figured wood insert on our double-uplocking, anodized reel seat. Our non-glare blank finish combined with and our darkened guide set provides a stealthy approach when on the water.
Fly lines too often are a secondary consideration. Not with us at Leland. We searched and tested high and low for the perfect fly line. Our goal was to find a fly line that combines casting efficiency with fishing function. We did our job. Our Leland weight forward, five-weight floating fly line casts like butter and floats like a cork and very noticeably compliments the efficient taper of our Leland Sonoma Traveler fly rod.
To store the perfect fly line, we obviously needed a fly reel. Again, we worked hard to design a fly reel that balanced correctly with our fly rod, both physically and aesthetically. The Leland Classic Trout fly reel is the answer. When combined with the Leland Traveler fly rod and our fly line, the whole is much greater than the sum of parts. With an adjustable and proven click and pawl drag system, this fly reel nods to the great fly reels of the past, while employing better contemporary materials and manufacturing process, ensuring a fly reel that will last a lifetime. Your grandfather would approve of this reel's quality and he'd certainly approve of the celebratory sound it makes when your fish heads downstream.
Finally, you can store your Leland Sonoma Traveler fly fishing outfit handily in our nylon-covered rod tube. With its integrated, padded reel pouch, you can leave your Leland Classic Trout fly reel mounted proudly on your favorite trout rod for easy storage and more importantly, quick rigging when it's time to hit the water.
This is the outfit that our instructors use to teach casting classes at the Leland Ranch!
Designed to be the best fly rod to use when learning how to fly cast, it's also the perfect outfit for most anglers, as they head for the hills to fish smaller streams for trout. It will make fans of experienced casters as well, packaged in a cordura tube with a Leland Classic Trout fly reel and a proprietary fly line that aids casting and fishing. This outfit is impossible to beat.
To go with our Sonoma rods, we wanted a reel that was affordable, durable, and classic in appearance. In the Leland Classic Trout, we've used anodized, machined aluminum, proven click-pawl drag system, and quick, easy spool interchange to produce a reel that's as cosmetically beautiful as it is mechanically sound.
With an easy-casting weight forward taper, our fly line turns over fly and leader well and loads the rod appropriately at both close and intermediate distances. At our Sonoma Ranch, and across the fly waters of Northern California, we’ve seen how this line casts and mends exceptionally well, and helps new and returning fly anglers put the fly where it needs to be.
Also included in this outfit are fly line backing and a cordura rod/reel case. We will rig this outfit for you to the Leland Standard, wherein all connections between the leader, fly line, fly line backing, and fly reel will be assembled and tested to the greatest strength and reliability before arriving at your door, ready to fish, right out of the box.
Six hundred dollars of fly fishing Nirvana to someone thatappreciates owning and using the finest fly tackle sounds like the bestthing since Christmas. Well, Christmas comes once a year, so thisLeland Gift Card will also serve to say "I love you" or "Thank you verymuch" any time of the year.
The $400 Leland Gift Certificate goes a long way to equip your recipient with some fine tackle from the best supplier in the business. Eager fly fishers love fly fishing gear for presents.
This "smooth acceleration to a stop," happens in two opposite directions for the
basic overhead cast. The basic overhead cast results in the casting loop
going away from the target and towards the target in the air.
The StopThe “stop” releases the bent rods stored energy into the fly line. This bend of the rod is transferred in into the line in the same shape that the path of the rod tip takes while unbending, this rod tip path creates the formation of the recognizable, classic casting loop.
The Loops direction, that looks like a U shape or elongated candy-cane unrolling in the air, dictates where the fly is carried. The tighter the loop the more accurate the fly is carried.
Pull the line straight in the air with the rod. Stop the Rod. Watch the Rod release the energy into the fly-line. Watch the fly line loop drag your fly to the target. Enjoy.
Want to get started casting Master Casts today? You can, and you don't even need to a "real" fly fishing outfit. In every one of our beginning fly casting classes, we always start with our Master Cast Practice Rod. Although it might look like a cat toy (and it is the greatest cat toy, by the way) our Master Cast Practice Rod is truly the best tool to initially learn how to "pull fly line to a stop" and efficiently form controlled loops. You can even learn in the comfort of your office or home any time you wish. Check out our Master Cast Practice Fly Rod.
Archille Valenciennes, 1847
- Zane Grey, “Byme-by-tarpon.”
The tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish.
Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and
release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons,
estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern
North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America.
The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet
in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds. The Megalops atlanticus is astonishingly powerful
and is famous among anglers as the mythological silver beast that can
walk on water. Tarpon, once hooked, are known for jumping and thrashing
about, sometimes longer than 3 hours, their tails skitting across the
The silver king, although caught by indigenous tribes in the Florida
Keys probably as early as the 1700s, was officially discovered and named
in 1847 by the French parasitologist Archille Valenciennes during his
work with Georges Cuvier on their Natural History of Fish, a whopping
22-volume work published between 1828 and 1848. Valenciennes placed the
tarpon within the genus Megalops (Greek for “large eye”) because of its
prominent and daunting black eyes. Since the turn of the century, a
great body of literature, historical and otherwise, has been developed
on the subject of tarpon. Fly fishing for tarpon is now a wildly popular
sporting pursuit among anglers from Georgia to the Florida Keys, and
tarpon are also highly sought after throughout the coastal waters of the
Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Recently, giant tarpon in the 300
pound class have been caught on fly tackle off the southwestern coast of
Africa. Tarpon have been so popular in the Gulf region of the United
States that in 1955, by act no. 564 of the Alabama state legislature,
the “fighting tarpon” became the state’s official saltwater fish.
Rolling and dashing through skinny saltwater flats and estuaries tarpon
inhabit a range of 49°N - 44°s, 99°w - 14°e, but they have been recorded
as far north as Nova Scotia, along the Atlantic coast of Southern
France, and as far south as Argentina. The tarpon uses the thin water of
the saltwater flats to feed on smaller baitfish and crustaceans. The
deeper water of the open ocean is the tarpon’s spawning grounds. The
tarpon does have a counterpart native to the Pacific Ocean (Megalops cyprinoids or Indo-Pacific tarpon), but this tarpon is a much smaller fish and not prized among fly anglers.
Tarpon are an ancient fish that has survived 125 million years of
evolutionary tumult. One of the oldest living species in the ocean, the
tarpon carries an almost otherworldly
presence. Just catching a glimpse of a rolling school of giant tarpon
is an intimidating sight even to the most confident fly angler. The
tarpon’s huge bucket-like jaws and large black eyes compliment its
thick, powerful body. When tarpon clear the top water during a jump,
their massive set of mirror-polished scales clatter and clack audibly
with the tremendous force of the maneuver. The tarpon’s fins are a dark,
steely gray and the tail is deeply forked, providing the silver king
with a tremendous amount of underwater leverage and speed.
According to historical accounts dating from the late 1800s, anglers
have been able to catch tarpon on artificial flies with reasonable
success. Since then fly fishing for tarpon has steadily increased in
popularity owing to rousing tales of madly fighting fish from such
popular authors as Zane Grey and, more recently, Lefty Kreh. The rising
interest in saltwater fly fishing, coupled with tarpon-specific articles
and books by other fly fishing greats have fueled the rush to master
tarpon on a fly. Today, there is now an extensive network of guides fly
fishing exclusively for tarpon from Florida to South America, and a
number of tournaments and other competitions celebrating fly fishing for
tarpon have also cropped up in recent years.
Fly anglers should understand that there are three classes or sizes of
tarpon: baby tarpon, midsize tarpon, and giant tarpon. Baby tarpon range
from 5 to 40 pounds, midsize tarpon fill the 50 to 80 pound class, and
the giant tarpon weighs in at an astonishing 100+ pounds. Anglers
looking to chase tarpon on the fly should think seriously about which
weight class they are after before they gear up and head on that tarpon
trip of a lifetime. Smaller tarpon are often found cruising on the edges
of saltwater flats and in brackish inland estuaries and mangrove
swamps. Larger tarpon are usually found cruising and rolling in
Baby and midsize tarpon offer quite a fighting challenge on an 8 weight
or 9 weight outfit. Giant tarpon, however, require much heavier 11 or 12
weight outfits. Fast action fly fishing rods are popular among tarpon
anglers for their ability to assist the caster in creating the long,
accurate casts (often into heavy wind) required when sight casting for
tarpon. It’s important to have top-notch fishing tools when stalking
tarpon of any size in the saltwater flats; an angler, even on the best
day, may only get 3 or 4 good casts at fish!
Loop Cross S1
Loop Cross S1 12 Weight Tarpon Rod
As with any saltwater flats game fish, spotting a tarpon can be a challenge. Sunny conditions on saltwater
flats can produce some of the world’s most visually taxing conditions,
and the sheer brightness of the glare on the water can be overwhelming. A
good pair of polarized sunglasses with copper photochromatic lenses can
– on some days – be considered the saltwater fly angler’s most useful
fishing tool. Yellow photochromatic lenses can be useful for morning
light conditions, so if you plan to fish from dawn until dusk, consider
two pairs of shades. (Experience in spotting tarpon, or a guide perched
atop the polling platform of a specialized flats skiff will also help!)
All Day Polarized Sunglasses
Low Light Polarized Sunglasses
There is a recent movement among saltwater fly anglers who chase tarpon
to “dredge” deeper channels and estuaries for tarpon of all size
classes. This dredging method is anchored in common blind casting
techniques familiar to striped bass fly anglers of the North American
coasts. Dredging for tarpon with a sinking line can be productive, but
remains a relatively new and unproven tactic in the quiver of tarpon fly
Deep Water Fly Line
Perhaps the easiest way to recognize the location of a single, pair, or
school of tarpon is by the characteristic “rolling” action the species
exhibits. The tarpon is equipped with a swim bladder, allowing them to
survive and thrive in brackish swamps and saltwater flats as well as the
open ocean. Tarpon will periodically appear at the water’s surface to
take in a breath, filling their swim bladder before rolling back into
the salty depths. This process, although graceful, can cause quite a
stir. Fly anglers should be on the lookout for large boils and bubbles
in the top water accompanied by a silvery flash – this is likely a
Large tarpon in saltwater flats will aggressively chase and take a
well-presented fly, adding to the species’ storied place in saltwater
game fish mythology. Tarpon will respond energetically to a fly moving
directly away from them. Creating this effect can be achieved with a
hook cast or a reach cast, both practiced techniques used by freshwater
fly anglers. Saltwater flats can offer a fly angler some of the most
challenging casting conditions on earth. Long, tuned, and accurate casts
of 60 to 70 feet are often necessary. Once the fly is properly
presented to the tarpon, the stripping game is on. Anglers will invariably
disagree on which are the most effective methods for retrieving the fly
when fly fishing for tarpon in the saltwater flats. In one conversation
on the subject, one might hear “fast, slow, smooth, jerky” … often in
the same breath. Never fear, a local guide will often know just how to
play and move a fly to produce results; listen to what they have to say!
Be patient though, as tarpon have been known to chase a well-presented
and retrieved fly all the way to the boat before striking!
Brackish inland estuaries and mangrove swamps offer saltwater fly
anglers amazing chances to cast to, catch and release baby tarpon. Some
canal systems – especially in southwest Florida – provide excellent
shelter for juvenile tarpon, even through the slow winter months. When
fishing these environments, work streamers as close to the mangrove
roots as possible. As the tide goes out, more and more of these mangrove
roots will be exposed, leaving behind an excellent feeding shelf for
baby tarpon. Remember: well-presented flies will move silver kings!
Simply hooking a tarpon can be an operatic experience in itself. The
tarpon’s mouth is extremely hard and has been likened to tough
construction-grade concrete. Subsequently, successful hook sets are
almost more challenging than actually getting an aggressive tarpon to
take a well-presented fly. Practice in firm and confident strip setting
techniques is extremely important when fly fishing for tarpon. When a
tarpon finally chomps the fly, and the hook is set, the fish will put on
an impressive aerial acrobatics show. Seasoned tarpon anglers, when
trading notes on a day’s work, will often proudly include the number of
“fish jumped” as well as the number of fish landed. Tarpon are
consistently observed jumping 3 or 4 feet above the water after a hook
up. During this aggressive jumping and thrashing, fly, fly line, and
tippet are at their most vulnerable point. It is extremely important to
protect rigging and tackle by keeping the rod tip as low as possible
during the initial few jumps. This process is called “bowing” to the
fish, and it’s no secret, bowing to the silver king will minimize the
chance of losing a tarpon to a snapped line or leader.
Tarpon fly anglers presented with the challenge of keeping a
tail-walking silver king on the line have developed a number of rigging
techniques designed to stand up
to what many think are the toughest and wildest fighters in the salt.
Taking a nod from the rigging standards employed by bill fish and tuna
anglers, anglers in hot pursuit of monster tarpon have experimented with
extremely complex, heavy rigs. The standard 9 foot tarpon leader,
however, consists of a heavy 60 pound butt section, a section of 16 to
20 class tippet, and finally a short, one foot section of 60 to 100
pound mono shock tippet. This rig is the standard for many medium to
large tarpon, but there are other options for the really large fish. Be
sure to ask your local fly shop about the leaders you should have ready
to go before you board the plane for your chosen tropical tarpon
destination. Keeping this general rigging rule for tarpon fishing can be
helpful: When traveling to far-flung destinations, bring your rigging
with you. When traveling to the Florida Keys, a good guide should
provide all you need to jump and land the tarpon of your dreams.
Do not head to the saltwater flats in search of tarpon armed with a
sub-standard fly reel. The stress a tarpon can place on even the
strongest rods, lines, and leaders is truly impressive – to say the very
least. The fly reel is the mechanical link for your connection to the
fish and if it goes south, so does your time on the water. Be sure to
find a reel with an iron-clad drag system and a large arbor for easy
line pick up. The reel should also be large enough to store between 200
and 250 yards of backing; if you find yourself connected to a rolling
fish, you’ll use it.
Ultimate Tarpon Fly Reel
When at home along the saltwater flats, tarpon will hunt and feed mostly
on baitfish. When migrating and spawning, tarpon are more likely to
feed instinctively on smaller crustaceans. Regardless of the situation,
however, tarpon will aggressively chase a well-presented fly. Large
streamer patterns are the most effective flies for tarpon of all sizes,
but some smaller crab and shrimp patterns will yield good results on
days when the silver kings are on the move or in a more selective mood.
A favorite classic tarpon fly from Florida to the Bahamas is the
Cockroach, developed by saltwater fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh. Other
proven tarpon flies include Lefty’s Deceiver, the Clouser Minnow, and
the Sea Habit. When tarpon are migrating or on the spawn, the Tarpon
Shrimp, Tarpon Crab, and the Seaducer are another trio of useful tarpon
flies to have on hand, and the Campeche Special is a brilliant fly for
baby tarpon in the mangroves of Mexico’s Gulf Coast.
Tarpon offer fly anglers a unique challenge; discovering the proper
blend of power, strategy, concentration, and finesse is crucial when on
the flats or in the brackish water in search of rolling tarpon. The
majesty of the tarpon survives in a heap of literature from Grey to
Kreh, and with good reason. Holding court, the tarpon truly is the
silver king of the flats, offering excited anglers throughout the
tropics the sport, the drama, the epic struggle, and the joy of the
great kings of mythology.