Your fishing location will have something to do with choice. Generally, a seven or eight weight, nine foot, fast action rod with a matching floating bonefish taper is a good start. A multipiece travel rod is my preference. Orvis makes a nice Frequentflyer model, TFO has some really great rods, and are very cost effective. Sage and Loomis are more expensive and excellent quality. A quality reel with good line capacity will compliment the above. There are many available. Always best to go to local fly shop and try different models to see what feels right.
I agree that an 8 or a 9-weight is perfectly suitable for Bones particularly if Mr. Wind is on the scene; if he isn't, go to a 6 or 7-weight. As for maker and models, it depends on you casting storke.
G. Loomis, St. Croix, and Sage all have their following. For a lighter weight, take a look at St. Croix's Ultra in its Saltwater "6" configuration. The St. Croix Elite is superb and so is the Cross Current by G. Loomis. But, of all the rods I've cast for the Bone's environment, my favorite is the G. Loomis GLX Mega, 8.5- foot, in 6/7-weight. The trouble is it is no longer available ... except Canada. It is indeed a fast gun, fully capable of meetinhg Mr. Wind stright on. (SEE Son of Horse, http://www.activeangler.com. Reviews of the ultra and Elite are also available.)
The reel becomes a matter of opinion, bias and experience. My choice for the Mega is/was the Waterwork's Force, s great reel in my view. The Waterworks also builds the G. Lommis reel, as of the last time I checked. Let me hasten to add that it is increasingly difficult to buy a "bad" reel given the competition.
You guys have pointed me in a good direction. The good thing about it is that all the rods you mentioned are available to me locally so I can ask to test cast them. I've already test cast a few of them in the parking lot. But that’s very different from standing knee deep or trying to balance on a casting platform with the wind blowing. It’s sometimes scary to make that type of investment without a few good recommendations from guys like you who I consider experts in the field. You’re certainly more knowledgeable than myself.
They all seem like good quality rods. As far as looks go, the G.Loomis Crosscurrent tops them all. I really like what they've done with those rods. If they cast as good as they look then I'm sold. Doug, do you think the present Cross Current models are somewhat close to your GLX Mega?
While I have thrown the Cross Current, it is my opinion that the Mega is faster. I further believe that faster is the need in wind fighting as long as your casting stroke can handle it. As you might expect, the faster the rod, the more the lifting power in the butt. If you like the faster action, the Cross Current shouldn't be a bad choice.
Believe it or not, the rod I most recnetly reviewed that reminds me of my belove Megas is the Stream Dance GLX Maximum Line Speed. It is the first 5-weight I would consider taking to the salt.
If you asked me to demonstrate wind fighting or long casting today, I would use a Mega 8.5-foot, 10/11 weight.
As I am certain you know, the weight of rod, reel, line & backing can and does become a fatigue factor over a long fishing day.
PS. Always remember that what's good for Bull Moose is not necessarily good for you.
Regarding the Mega ... If you are interested, there is a new 8/9 Mega 3-piece at http://www.grindstoneangling.com. Grindstone Angling is a very good Canadian firm ... Check their clearance section and remember they speak in Canadian dollars. For your approximate cost, divide by 1.23 (I think).
Thanks for the Mega info Doug. I think I'm going to get the 8wt G.Loomis Cross Current from The Full Creel fly shop. Steve let me cast one and it really feels good to me. Now I've got to decide which reel and line to get. Do you have and suggestions? I'd kinda like to get the whole outfit at the same place. They carry some reels that I like, G.Loomis, Hardy and Solitude. They only carry Cortland fly lines though. Is that OK? Do you have any thoughts?
This is another thorny subject. It's hard to buy a "bad" fly reel. The competition simply doe not permit that to happen. On the other hand, it certainly is possible to pay more than the reel is really worth ... I say that hoping you will understand I speak from experience since I own somewhere around 50 fly reels.
If you were here with me, I would lay them out and let you do a hands-on comparison of the pros and cons of each But you are not here ... so let's look at what The Full Creel stocks. I am not familiar with the Harris or Echo reels but the remainder I have either thrown or own. For example, I own three of STH/Cortland high end Turbines that I love. I also bought into STH's high end cassette concept with two salt-capable reels and bunches of cassettes. My FlyLogic Optimum has done nothinbg but hard works without a peep. The G. Loomis Synchrotech is a fine reel made, the last I heard, by the Waterworks.
Any of these reels have differences - pro & con- and, yes, I feel blessed to have had these experiences with so many great products. The best reel for the money I ever owned was the Mastery series by Scientific Anglers: fantastic drag, great weight to capacity ratio, and tough. Unfortunately, they were not pretty. Some MBA made the mistake of finishing them in a dull black as opposed Abel's Gloss. It made no difference that they were of solid bar aluminum -- the dull black finish suggested to folks that they were cast. Sad to say they are gone from the market.
Here are a couple of thoughts that might help you. (1) the cost of the reel isn't necessarily the biggest expernse; consider the price of spare spools and it's my guess that you will need two. A spare for an Abel costs about 2/3 of the cost of the reel itself. My bank account has never allowed me to say, "And let me have an additional 4 spools along with that Abel." Instead, my approach has been to backup my primary reel with a second reel like the STH Cassette ... changing out lines on the water is not my bag. Salt can do some funny things, particularily with all the holes being drilled into the reel's frame these days. If something can go wrong, it will! (2) Even if you spring for the expense of extra spools, if the reel, itself, goes down the apare spools will be of little comfort.
You can mitigate the difficulties of changing lines in mid-stream by going with shooting heads ... when you switch out, you deal with about 30-feet og line, or less, as opposed to lengths of 90 to 105-feet. I did a series on the shooters that includes a couple of the multi-tip lines now available. Hard to go wrong with any of these.
As for Cortland? They build excellent lines and are now surging with the new 444 Classic Sylk, the 444 Preciskion Taper, and the 555 Hi-Floating Dyna-Tip. Sci-Anglers is also great. My personal opinion is that SA had the lead with AST and are now tied ... It's sort of like Ford & Chevy. My favorite line for almost anything in the heavier weights is/was the SA Bonefish -- didn't make any difference to me or the largemouth bass I was after. However, I recently reviewed both the Sylk and the 444 Precision and I must confess that for my casting stroke, the Sylk is my personal choice for freshwater.
Hope this helps in making a decision...
PS. If you buy both rod and reel from Steve, twist his arm for both a line and backing...
Thanks for your advice. I went ahead and bought the G.Loomis Cross Current 8wt, Synchrotech fly reel and the Cortland 444 Tropics Plus fly line. I got it from Steve. I took your advice Doug and twisted his arm real hard and he gave me the line and backing. This is a sweet outfit!