Boga Grips and Bones [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Boga Grips and Bones

03-19-2005, 09:01 AM
My wife just gave me a Boga Grip as a gift. Question: Will this device be less
harmful to bonefish ? It is obvious that less handling equals better and cleaner released fish, but I am wondering about the lower jaws of these fish.....I welcome your thoughts......It is the 30lb model.....

03-19-2005, 12:46 PM
I carry/use my Boga to "control" toothy critters while leaving them in the water.
I think it SUCKS as a scale since the fish must be hung by the jaw...very concentrated forces at work there!
While leaving Mr Bone in the water...slide wet your hand under the mid-section to cradle him while the water suports the weight and use as little control force as possible while quickly removing the hook.
Never any need to hold it up vertically...a horizontal photo-op/send off and you're both better off and on your way to fight another day...
IMHO...Save the Boga to control the Cudas and Blues...

03-21-2005, 08:59 AM
Hi Mark,

I don't think it would be a problem if you supported the fish with your free hand and kept them near the water. I agree that it seems harsh to pick bonefish up and hold them in a vertical position. Since I use barbless hooks, releasing the fish is a simple task and like you, I don't pick up every one for a photo.

Bogas are great, however, for toothy fish, such as cudas. They're also great for carp, which make excellent practice targets for those times when you're not on the flats but want to hone your stalking and casting and fish-fighting skills.

These fish are so big and strong, and slippery, that you might have a hard time picking them up after fighting them for 10 or 15 minutes. Your hands might be tired and so the boga offers a great way to subdue these strange but fun targets.

That's a great gift your wife got you. Hope you get the chance to release many many nice fish with it.



03-21-2005, 11:59 AM
Very well said in the regards to avoid holding the fish vertical. Any stress you can avoid is better for the fish. Especially bones that have many enemies, less stres on them the better. Fresh water fish like carp I would say could handle the stress more, the also don't have any real enemies (not mentioning gators). I hate it when on tv I see a big fish like a muskie or pike held up by his head. I also think a fish when held hortizontal looks better in pics.

Geordie Shanks
03-22-2005, 11:56 AM
When I worked in a fly shop a few years ago, I had a customer come in with a picture of a big bonefish he had caught at Acklins. In the photo, he was using a boga grip and had the fish hooked through the TOP part of the mouth- essentially speared it right through the snout. When I asked him why did that, he told me that the boga grip kept "sliding off" the bottom of the jaw, so he pinched it through the top. Unbelievable. Anyway, the scale only registered it as a five pounder, but it looked a couple pounds heavier to me and I have always questioned the effectiveness of the tool on smaller (under 8 pound) fish. I have only used the grip for pike in Canada, and have limited experience with the device, but I would tend to agree that they are not ideal for bones and might be better used on the larger, toothier fish. It is a damn cool gift though, and I hope you enjoy it fully. Anywhere you are fishing where you have the possibility of using it is not a bad place to be.

03-22-2005, 12:42 PM
I'll bet Mr Boga catches the eye of the x-ray tech at passenger screening... :Eyecrazy:

03-22-2005, 02:25 PM

The Boga is a great tool for big stripers and toothy bluefish and barracudas. But you won't need one for bones. Hand cradling in the water is usually sufficient or if you get a really hot strong fish, you can just use your thumb and index finger--like a human boga--with one inside the lower jaw and one under it, to hold the fish steady in the water while you extract the hook. The fish may put pressure on your finger with its crusher-plate tongue, but it won't hurt you and you can hold it securely with out damaging the fish.


03-23-2005, 08:07 PM
Good stuff, gentlemen. I appreciate the sensitivity express in these posts. I have to agree that this tool is not a great way to handle bonefish (although, predators aside, saltwater fish are actually tougher than freshwater when it comes to handling them).

Just a couple things, though. First, this tool is pretty accurate. I've used it for testing knots and it will show consistent results, to within a fraction of a pound, which I put down to variations in my knots. Also, you can get them IGFA certified, you're not going to get that if it's a lousy scale. Unless an angler has caught hundreds of bones, it can be very hard to tell the weight from a photograph. (God forbid we use Saturday morning TV as a standard, else every 2-pound bass would be "an easy five pounds".)

Secondly, I have personally used these tools to weigh bones, but only a few medium sized fish, and never had trouble with it sliding off. I weighed these to check my own estimation skills, not get bragging rights or records. Medium fish don't weigh enough for their body weight to damage their lower jaw (you actually put more pressure on it while fighting them) and then you can use that reference to judge bigger or smaller fish. (By medium fish I mean 3-4 pounders.)

Turns out I didn't need to check my estimates (I was less than half-pound off every time), but now I know. The worst thing is to be out there with someone who knows and grossly over-estimate a fish. Makes me look amateurish and bring all my honesty into question. Fishermen have enough trouble with that as it is.

As always,

PS Loved the comment about taking pics of bonefish horizontally, barely out of the water. Vertical pics make a fish look dead and robs them of respect.