I mistakenly posted this in the section about fly rods then moved it here...my apologies to those folks who took the time to respond there. Anyhoo...
I have a trip planned to Andros (Mangrove Cay area) in late April. It's my first foray for the grey ghost after the lion's share of a lifetime spent in SW Florida a stone's throw away from a number of epic bonefishing destinations. I can't say why the little guys never intrigued me exactly, except to say that I love my snook, redfish and tarpon so much I never considered catting around. But I am excited about the trip which is partly a romantic getaway with the wifey and partly a mostly DIY bonefish outing punctuated by a single day aboard a skiff with a guide.
In preparing my gear, I've spoken to a few fishing buddies (some of them guides) and I've read quite a few threads on fly fishing sites. While there are differing opinions, the consensus seems to be that I should bring an 8 wt for bones given the prevailing breeze and probably a 9 or 10 wt on the off chance that I encounter permit or tarpon or big-time winds. In fact, some folks go so far as to say that 6 and 7 wts have no place on a bonefish flat in any context. To which I say: please. I do concede, however, that big wind in open spaces can put a real damper on things and prove challenging to anglers with, well, smaller rods. The problem is that I shuttled my 8 AND 9 weights a few years back and replaced them with 7 wts. In fact, the two rods I'd planned on taking for me and the missus are a TICRx and an Echo Ion, one spooled with WF 7 line and one with 8. The Echo, especially, is a tough-ass/heavy rod, and with the #8 line adds up to, in my mind, essentially an 8 wt outfit. As for my casting abilities, I do devote time to the long rod between long bouts of spin fishing so I'd say they're average to above-average. I can double haul nicely and shoot 80 or so feet of line accurately without issue. OK, so maybe 60 into a breeze. So, question: do you bonefish vets think the 7 wts will be fine, or should I pick up an 8? (I've lusted after the TFO Axiom, and this might be just the excuse I need. If you have one you want to part with let me know).
Also, I've read a lot of what I perceive as breathless hyperbole when it comes to backing for bonefish. Some folks say 125 years is plenty, while others swear that at least 250 yards of heavy backing are needed and that, short of that, I risk losing my rod, my pride and a good portion of my manhood to a feisty bone. Given that I've beaten large snook in tight quarters on said 7 wts, I (perhaps naively) do not fear any bonefish. However, I've never tangled with a large bone, so I am open to the fact that they might just kick my ass (which, so it's said, would make me inexpressibly happy). My Galvan Torque 6 reels are spooled with 150 yards of braid backing apiece, and my beefier Torque 8 will come along for the ride. Is that plenty? I can't imagine that it is not.
Truth be told, I tend to be a seat-of-the-pants type so I'll likely wing it with what I have regardless, but I'd be interested (and obliged) to hear the opinions of the seasoned bonefishers in the crowd, including any legit stories of joy-inspiring ass kickings.