JTB, Whats your tackle budget? I ask becasue there is no sense in me recommending what I'd take vs what you can afford. How do you want to fish? Bait? fly, lures? Do you want food fish or catch 'n release fish? DO you want to hire a guide/local and use a boat or will you be simply casting from shore?
In the bay west side of AC, you can get snook, tarpon, bonefish, small barracuda, small snapper, to name a few. Bait is typically used for the barries and the snapper.
Most guide gear I've used is of the "economy" class equipment, dont expect graphite or even high quality fiberglass rods; UglySticks are common. Reels? Shimano economy models are considered high end and most use spinning gear not conventional reels. Deeper water and bigger terminal gear you start to see Penn Senator series. The gear I've used has been well maintained but check your drag for proper tension after being handed a rig.
If youre taking your own, I'd recommend a 15# rig (spin or cast) using 65# braided line and flourocarbon leader, or if youre not into typign knots just use Berkeley Big Game 15#. Get a two piece rod, medium heavy with a fast action. You'll want a sensitive tip but backbone to set hooks and pull their heads out of the bommies. Lures, silver spoons, jigs, feathered or not your call, I use rubber baits and jig heads frequently and go through quite a few becasue of the short strikes from barries that usually lop off the tail. For hooks and weights? Spread some of your cash and buy locally. I usually have bait and circle hooks in a variety of sizes. I dont recommend bait fishing if youre going to catch & release, you'll just mess up the fish more often as not.
I should qualify my use of guide here, I like to use the older guys with smaller boats and motors, usually a Mexican panga. Hill Gonzales and his nephew Tino (They usually hang at Chuck and Robbies Dive dock) are good examples of these guys. Mr Hill, is old school and Tino is a bit more progressive. Depending on your price range and what you want to do I would consider my statements about guides and their tackle typical of what most visiting anglers want to do. Personally, I dont have a problemm dropping $$$ on a bigger boat and chance for game fish using good tackle when I want but ecomonmy is what most people end up looking for....
Edited by Bear (05/30/11 10:54 AM)