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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 02-16-2014, 02:24 PM
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Default Bonefishing setup

Hey everybody. This is my first post and I had some general questions about my saltwater setup. I live in WY, so saltwater fishing will be at best a couple times a year thing. I mainly plan on targeting bonefish, but I'm not too picky.

I bought a TFO BVK 8# rod ($220) and a Sage 1880 reel ($70). These performed well in reviews especially considering the price. I already have full sinking line on it for lake trout, but would also like to make it my bonefish rod. Another spool is pretty cheap, but my main questions are, Is this adequate/overkill? Whatever fly line I get for bonefishing, is it pretty much only going to work for bonefish/saltwater? and, any budget line recommendations? A $90 line would represent 1/4 of the total price of the outfit. If I can get a well regarded budget line that performs adequately I'll be happy.

Thanks.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

I was using the SA Mastery Bonefish line until it got torn up on some coral. Worked well in hot weather, but I thought it was a bit stiff. I fish in Hawaii and it really never gets too hot there. I'm wading, not having it lay on a boat deck, though. My backup line was a BPS Worldwide Sportsman Extreme line. I am very happy with it. I also use it for bass fishing in OK because I'm too lazy to change up. It's good in the summer, but when temps cool off, I change. I found it on sale for $40, so I got another one for a spare.

An 8 is perfect for bones. I don't know anything about that reel. Just make sure you can put @ 150 yds of backing on it. A good drag is a must. They'll make a reel scream.

Welcome....

Last edited by fr8dog; 02-18-2014 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

I did a fair amount of reading and asking around before my first salt trips this past year. I, too, have an 8wt (Sage Approach, in my case) rod that is doing double duty- for steelhead and big streamer work in freshwater, and light duty saltwater work (think sea trout, bones, baby tarpon, etc.)- and so far it's working out fine. I have an Orvis Hydros LA IV reel paired with it, and an extra spool for an alternate line choice, and I really like having that flexibility.

For bones, you will most likely want a full floating line with a WF head, if you are fishing the shallows and flats; if you are going bigger/deeper an intermediate might be better, or maybe have that on a backup spool if you are able. I was looking to try an Airflo Ridge Clear Tropical, or Ridge Clear Tip Tropical, based on recommendations from a guide in S. Florida I've used, but couldn't find one locally in time for the trip (poor planning ). Ended up going with a lt. blue FF/WF Royal Wulff Bermuda Triangle line that ended up working fine; I also have one of the Wulff BT's in a clear intermediate that I had really good luck with from a previous trip in the Everglades, but I never used it for my (later) bonefish safari. As Fr8dog mentioned above, also definitely 150-200 yds of good backing, as bones will definitely take you there... These are tropical grade lines, which are designed to perform in the heat of the tropics, so unless you live in such an area, I can't see you using them for anything other than this type of fishing- but well worth the investment as your casts must be solid and well placed for success. I think I paid ~$70 for the Wulffs, but the tropical lines will generally run in this neighborhood; you might try surfing Florida fly shop websites for sales or clearance markdowns, but I would advise against going cheap on your line unless you absolutely have to. As you mentioned, if you're only going to spring for this trip once or twice a year, bringing a knife to a gun fight is a recipe for frustration at the very least; you've spent for a decent rod and reel, finish the deal with a good line, leader and some well tied flies!

Anyhow, I paired the above-mentioned Wulff BT with my 8wt and got 5 bones wading the flats on the north end of Cozumel the first day, then 9 more the next day from a boat in the Turneffe atoll area the next day (cruise ship stopovers ). Looking forward to doing more bonefish/permit/tarpon hunting in these waters in the future; I think my next rod purchase will be a 10wt- for musky in freshwater, and tarpon/permit in the salt...
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

Thanks, guys. That really helps out. I'll look over those lines you mentioned. Looks like I'll get a dedicated spool just for the bones. The reel took 200 yards and an 8 weight sinking with a ton of room to spare. I know the floating line is thicker, but it should be fine.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

A couple things to add...
The floating line will take up MUCH more space than the sinking line. I prefer using power pro or tuf line xp for my backing rather than flyline specific backing. It is extremely thin per break strength and you can always get much more of it on than the reel specifies. Great abrasion resistance and knot strength too.
You are going to spend plenty of money on your trips. Don't skimp on your gear! the money you spend on a good flyline, good bonefish leaders and high quality fluorocarbon tippet is a drop in the bucket in comparison to your trip costs. Plus, you MUST have a system you can deliver to a fish accurately. I save my money on my everyday beater rods and gear and splurge on the stuff I plan to travel with. It's just too much of a risk in my mind to spend all my money on getting to fish in a remote location and have shoddy gear.

A bonefish line on your 8wt can multi task with carp and bass. be sure you get a tropical line! you do not want to be fiddling around with a cold water line on a bonefish flat.

there have been very good quality bonefish lines produced by Rio, SA, Airflo, Orvis and Wulff. Many of which were made some years ago and can be found at good discounts now at places like Sierra trading post or Cabelas bargain cave. Ebay too of coarse. I personally recommend Rio products.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

I kind of typed fast on my reply. I was happy with the SA line. It DID work well. Not picking on it. Whatever line you decide on, spool up and practice with it. Normally you have a bunch piled up in a stripping basket. When you see the fish, it's one or two quick false casts and then let it fly. Bonefish flies usually use lead/brass eyes so your timing may change on casting. The guys that showed me the ropes in HI typically use @ 13 foot leaders, so that was a change for me also. Do some research on the places you are going to fish. It's not rocket surgery, but it takes a bit of preparation, and have the right equipment.

I'm in Ohio now. I will shut up and dream of tropical water. And palm trees. And sand. And flats. And Mai Tai's. And Longboard lagers. (I have found that these are important parts of the whole bonefish experience.)

Last edited by fr8dog; 02-18-2014 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

Thanks, jbird. The reel is recommended for 7 to 9 weight. I actually think I may take the sinking line off the 200 yards of backing spool and put it on the new one with maybe 300 yards and put the floating with the 200 yards.

---------- Post added at 03:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:12 PM ----------

Thanks for the tip fr8dog. I'll definitely need some practice with that new setup.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by qacwac View Post
Thanks, jbird. The reel is recommended for 7 to 9 weight. I actually think I may take the sinking line off the 200 yards of backing spool and put it on the new one with maybe 300 yards and put the floating with the 200 yards.

---------- Post added at 03:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:12 PM ----------

Thanks for the tip fr8dog. I'll definitely need some practice with that new setup.
You didn't say where you're going, but (regardless) the majority of your fishing for bones will necessitate floating line. In Belize or the Bahamas especially, bones are in VERY shallow water, often in seagrass. Sinking line is a nightmare in seagrass.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

Lots of good advice, so far.

If you get a chance, test cast your rod with an eight and a nine weight demo line from your local fly shop on a windy day. In some bonefishing situations, you need to drop a cast within 20 feet. Sometimes the wee bit of extra mass in the line's head can help load the rod for those shorter casts.

After you figured out your line configuration, practice your casting like a mad man. You may be required to cast accurately up to 70 feet. In some cases, you may have to drop the fly on the fish's nose within 20 feet. I already mentioned the wind thing.

As for your rod, it will do fine.

As for your reel, I'm interested on how it holds up.

As for fly lines, I'm with JBird. Get the best that is available. I'm a big fan of the Rio, Scientific Anglers, and Wulff saltwater lines. Many of my friends are using Airflo saltwater lines.

Another line option is to find new old stock Sage Equator Taper fly lines. The later generations of these tropical lines were made by Rio. You can find them on the big auction site. The prices are so good, that you could pick up a backup line. I used a nine weight line on my Hardy ProAxis eight weight last October. It stayed slick throughout the whole week.

Let us know how the trip goes.

Dennis
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Bonefishing setup

Put a trash can lid on the ground and practice hitting it from 60'. The best practice is to circle it on a windy day so you can get experience hitting a target with the wind coming from all quarters. It is almost always windy on the flats...
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