: Whats your Bone Rod/Reel?
05-01-2006, 02:15 PM
I'm curious what everyone fishes for bones.
Rod: St.Croix Legend Elite 9ft 8wt 5 pc. Reel: Abel Super 8, holds 8 wt line 200yds of backing.
Bone line usually the slow int sinking SA bonefish line, its a couple of years old.
05-01-2006, 02:42 PM
TFO Proffesional Series 9 1/2' 8 weight Teton TIOGA 10LA 200 yards 30 lb backing
T&T H2 4pc 7wt, Danielsson 6nine and SA, RIo or Wulff floating Bonefish line; backup Sage RPLXi 5pc 8wt, Danielsson 7ten with same floating lines in 8wt.
05-01-2006, 04:05 PM
How do you like that TT, I've been around the Fly fish world for sometime but never have heard of a Danielsson reel. Fill me in when you get sometime.
05-01-2006, 04:31 PM
9'8wt XP + Bauer M5SL + Bermuda Triangle
9'7wt XP + Tibor Backcountry + Bonefish Wonderline
05-01-2006, 04:50 PM
8wt. GLX-Everglades-Wulff Bonefish
7wt. XP- Ross Canyon- Mastery Bonefish
05-01-2006, 05:03 PM
Hey Ken, check your old PMs and give me an update on said subject matter of my latest PM:devil:
Loomis Crosscurrent 8 wt...Tioga 10 reg arbor...Wulff Triangle
05-01-2006, 06:31 PM
Tibor Satin Everglades / Sage Rplxi 5 piece 9 weight
Tibor Black Everglades / Sage Rplxi 5 Piece 8 weight
Tibor Satin Freestone / Sage Rplxi 3 piece 7 weight
Would love to use the 8 and 7 more but eight out of ten times that nine is in my hand (especially when wading).
05-01-2006, 08:29 PM
Powell Tiburon II 8 wt rod
Charlton 8500 0.8 reel
Sci Anglers Bonefish taper line 8 wt (I almost never uplline).
05-01-2006, 08:57 PM
8wt Xi2 / Tibor Everglades / Rio Bonefish
9wt T&T Horizon / Abel Super 8 / Orvis Bonefish Wonderline
05-01-2006, 10:16 PM
If you can't make out what I use by looking at the photo above (try using a microscope ;) ):
Albright EXS 9' 3 piece 8 wt
Old Florida 6SA
Cortland Tropic Plus Lazerline 8wt
05-02-2006, 11:38 AM
Orvis Zerogravity 8wt 9ft 4pc.
Van Staal C-Vex 78.
Teeny Flip Pallot #8.
All perfectly matched.
05-03-2006, 01:07 AM
Low budget, great fun!
Wayfarer 9ft 8wt 5pc and as a back up I have a Global Fly Fisherman 8wt 4 pc
during the pike season the GFF took the overhand, and I now prefer it to the wayfarer.
Reel: SA a large arbour 79 I think it´s the 2 series, comes in a plastic display box and retails for around 35 dollars.
Line also SA, 8wt bonefish taper floating and a mastery sinking also WF-8
If someday I´ll be a big grown up veterinarian, maybe I´ll buy a sage. I would love to fish the Bones in Aruba with a SP 6wt (with fighting butt), but unfortunately the SP series is not continued. So if anybody of you ever wants to get rid of one......
05-03-2006, 06:27 AM
I too am a veterinarian who now works to fish,I have been flyfishing and tying for over 50 years and am not 60 yet, so I think I have maybe 10 -15 years of hard fishing left. The complete diversity of equipment that people use for bonefishing is exemplified by the song,"It "aint what you do, its the way that you do it , that's what gets results". My favourite rod is a 9wt Scott Heliply, 8'8", the best rod I have ever used and I have quite an arsenal to back that up.
05-03-2006, 09:21 AM
Winston 9 ' 8 wt XTR w/ old Orvis DXR 9/10, Bonefish wonderline
Sage RPLXI 9' 9 wt w/ Ross BG-5, Cortland Bonefish line
Of course, I've only really been bonefishing once, but these are what I brought.
05-04-2006, 09:35 AM
9'8wt -4 Sage Xi2, Old Florida 55
9'7wt -4 TFO, Old Florida #4
Sci Anglers Mastery Bonefish.
05-05-2006, 09:25 AM
Loop Blueline Salt 8.8 ft #8 My favourite!
Sage RPLXi 9 ft #8
Loop tradional 3W filled with SA XTS gelspun backing/ Sage Equator taper
Redington AS 11/12 filled with gelspun and Wulff SWTBF taper
Also carry some spare lines/spools, been trying the FP-line (really nice line, shoots smooooth, Tropical clouserline for other species/poppers).
Have been casting with an Winston Boron 2x something rod, i was impressed by its qualities!
05-06-2006, 09:11 PM
Xi2 9ft, 8wt. 4pc, Abel Super 8 and SA Bonefish Line
RPLXi 9ft, 8wt, 4pc, Abel Super 8 and SA Bonefish Line
05-07-2006, 06:43 PM
Scott S3s 9' 8wt
SA bonefish line
05-08-2006, 02:49 PM
8 wt. Sage Xi2, Ross Saltwater IV, SA Bonefish line.
05-08-2006, 05:24 PM
I use a Sage Xi2 7,8,9 with Charlton 8500.8 reels and either Wulff Bermuda Triangle Tapers or 3M Bonefish lines and a mountain of Tuf Line XP backing.
I use a Sage Xi2 6 with a Charlton 8450 7/8 with a Wulff BTT.
05-09-2006, 08:21 AM
For 8 years I have used a Loomis GL-3 matched with a Lamson LP-3.5 and that outfit, though not top of the line, has worked well for me.
I am upgrading this year. I spent a long time checking reels and rods trying to decide. An Everglades and a XI-2 would be nice but I just can't justify that kind of money. I wanted something light too since most of my bonefishing is as far out as I can get and is almost exclusively wading.
Here is what I decided on.
The New Sage 2580 reel. It is under 6oz, large arbor, holds 200yds, suposed to be sealed and maintenance free and I have heard good things about the drag. I know of a guide in NC that uses them and has tested them on false albacore tighteining them way down and they stood up.
I am pairing it with a TFO TICR-X 7 wt. I have a 9wt and really like it. I plan to load the 7 with 8wt line thinking it would give me good distance and help load the rod fast for those short quick casts that are so important when bonefishing.
Thats a an outfit I think should work well, weighing under 11oz total and costing under $650 total. Can't wait to try it out.
How do you like that TT, I've been around the Fly fish world for sometime but never have heard of a Danielsson reel. Fill me in when you get sometime.
Sorry I didn't see this until now.
The 7wt H2 is amazing. I cast it at the shows over the winter and could not believe how well it carries line without being stiff. I hate stiff rods, can't understand how people use them. The energy that goes into the line comes from the rod's load not the arm's forcing push, or more acurately a cooperation of the two. Some rods are so stiff the arm does all the work, like a 2x4.
The T&T H2 loads clean and progressively but gets all of the arm power into the stroke. I was especially impressed with the 7wt 4pc travel rod and that's what I bought.
I never fished any other rod the entire 7 days in Acklins, never needed to despite strong winds and some long cast demands. The problem with stiff rods is that the short game stinks, but the 7wt is supple enough to make quick casts in fact I hooked and landed a nice bone on a snake roll cast after missing one pod, 90 degree change and cast to another and bang.
With longer taper lines like the SA bonefish one can aerialize a lot of line and the H2 will take it in stride. Besides I love the aesthetics of the rod, and that matters a lot to me. As much as I am impressed with the more affordable rods I see these high end rods as more matched to my personal taste in fly gear (a very subjective thing I am sure).
The Danielsson reel is the former LOOP Evotec, they designed and built these reels for the international market for many years. Since their decision to sell direct after some turbulence in the LOOP relationship the reels are now available at an incredibly affordable price.
While working in the rod business recently I had to buy a lot of reels and I own a fair collection. Some have let me down, others have gotten me through hard duty. I can honestly say that these reels offer the price/performance balance I have been after and the sealed drag is probably the best out there. Combined with the aesthetics I am sold.
There are many great rods and reels out there as this thread proves. But as my goto bonefish outfit, I can't say enough about the H2 and the Danielsson combo.
05-09-2006, 08:17 PM
Sage Xi2 8 - 10 wt
Ross BG 5,6's
Abel Super 7
Rio lines all
05-11-2006, 11:29 AM
T&T HII 8wt, abel #2 sa wf8f bonefish line
T&T Helix 10wt #3 abel sa wf10f salt line
05-12-2006, 06:17 AM
Sage xi2 890 with an satin gold Tibor Evergaldes reel and Rio bonefish line 8 or 9 weight(it depends on how windy it is.)
Sage Rplxi 690 with an black Tibor Freestone reel and Rio bonefish line 6 weight or Rio Quickshooter 7 weight when it`s too windy
05-12-2006, 12:39 PM
Hey Juro, some of us love stiff rods...different strokes for different folks. Personally, although I can cast them, I at the opposite end of the spectrum from you - I can't stand slow or moderate action rods. Now, believe me, I don't "force" the rod to load - if you have a good casting stroke, IME, you can load any rod, fast or slow. It's all preference. I feel a stiff rod offers me the precision and response I want along with the ability to put together tighter loops and more efficient transfer of energy.
I'd also respectfully disagree about what reel has the finest drag out there. IMHO the best drag out there is on Charlton reels. Charlton reels have accounted for record big game fish far out of proportion to the numbers of them out there and the anglers who use them attribute a significant part of that success to the outstanding drag on these reels (including the record for blue marlin 297 lb., bluefin tuna 197 lb.,). Not to say other reels don't have good drags, but if you take a look at a Charlton reel's drag and how it's designed and tested, most agree it's the finest out there bar none.
I don't recall ever saying "best" drag, however I have mentioned that some are really good for the money. Charltons are really good, maybe even the best - but they should be for the money. I am not up on current prices (since discontinuation) but if not mistaken I can outfit everything from my trout rod to my Spey rods for the price of one with the other.
As far as stiff rods, you're right to each his own. I would love to have a tight loop / distance / accuracy and most importantly a flats reaction contest with you sometime, a gentleman's bet of course. I am no Lefty Kreh but I can hold my own a bit and I hope we can share a day on my flat or yours someday1
Thinking this through a bit more, much of this could be perception. What is a stiff rod, verses a fast rod? I love casting and fishing fast rods, but not stiff ones.
As a casting instructor I've learned to begin by getting the mental picture clear and synchronized. This is often an important basis for establishing the physical aspects of casting.
So let me begin by saying that my interpretation of 'stiff' rod is a rod that does not hold the energy available from the mass and resistance in the line opposed by the stroke of the arm in a comfortable place. In other words, because that compression of forces can not establish itself in the flex profile, a feeling of pressure on the wrist and forearm occurs rather than a feeling that there is a good load somewhere up the blank in a more comfortable place.
Also the interval between load and recoil is very abrupt and gives little time for correction or appreciation of the critical path of acceleration which is 50% of the recipe for a tight loop. What, in your opinion, is the recipe for a tight loop and tell me how a 'stiff' rod promotes it?
Another symptom is poor roll casting and single handed spey casting characteristics due to lack of loading from a D-loop.
I am not familiar with the Powell Tiburon but I will give it a toss. It could very well be that the rod matches my tastes and we have different perceptions of words to describe them. Perhaps you are familiar with the T&T H2 or the sage RPLXi and RPL series. How would you rate them?
Conversely I consider a rod fast when it uses it's taper characteristics and modulus to recoil the energy stored in the flex of the rod to generate line speed quickly. A rod does not have to be stiff to be fast. And not every rod that holds it's load in a comfortable location on the blank has to be slow.
Perhaps it's (as it often is) a matter of perception. So do tell, what are your perspectives on tight loops and stiff rods?
05-12-2006, 03:20 PM
tfo 7 wt (an old model)
tfo ticrx 8 wt
Okuma large arbor
Old Florida #4
Nothing special needed to fish for bonefish, yet fishing for them is very special.
05-12-2006, 03:38 PM
Juro, you caught me there on the stiff rod phrase - I put my foot in that one, too often when someone speaks of a stiff rod they actually mean fast rod and I've automatically come to think of fast rods when someone says stiff. Yes, it's fast rods I like, although I frequently find that fast rods are also stiffer than an equivaent moderate action rod as well which is another reason I think of fast rods when you say stiff.
I don't have a lot of time at the moment to expound on it but to me, a tight loop is promoted by several things but all these things contribute to the real factor: the path of the rod tip which includes the circular arc it describes when the abrupt stop occurs and the rod is unloaded. Because a moderate action rod bends more deeply for the same load, by the very nature of that bend it throws a larger loop (i.e., less "tight") than a fast action rod which bends with more of the tip and thus a smaller 'arc'. So, for the same casting stroke and load, the fast rod's tip will describe a smaller arc and thus a tighter loop results. Now, as far as I know the only way to compensate for a slow rod's tendency to throw a bigger loop than a fast rod is to do the "swoop" which Joan Wulff describes in one of her books. I already have a "swoop" which helps me throw tighter loops but I find that I have to use a much bigger swoop with a slow or moderate action rod and I dislike having to do this.
Personally I like the very short time of recoil of the rod - I find that I have plenty of time even with the fastest of rods I've tried (including TCR's) to get the loop exactly the way I like it, but I'll also admit they are less forgiving. It was observed on another board that it may very well be that I like fast rods due to my own physiology - predominance of fast twitch muscle fibres, participation at a high level in many sports that require very fast hand speed (martial arts, boxing, fencing, racquetball, race cars, etc). I just know I love the feel of a crisp, fast rod in hand and moderate to moderate fast rods do not put a smile on my face.
I think I misunderstood your statement about the Dannielson's drag - when you said the it's "the best out there" I now think you meant the best in terms of price/performance ratio - originally I thought you meant the the best out there, period...sorry about misunderstanding...
It seems we are closer to the same preferences than it appeared afterall. So often words like 'stiff' and 'fast' muddle the issue.
You do mention one aspect of controlling loop size - tip deflection. However the assumption that all loop faults boil down to just tip deflection on the stop is a bit hard for me to swallow as a dedicated student and instructor. Furthermore, I don't agree that the stiffness of the rod necessarily controls loop size, although it does help subdue tip deflection on a downward hammering stroke.
I practice with an old 5wt that is quite moderate to slow and a line that is cracked from age and scarred from parking lots and probably won't even float any more but I still frequently throw teeny loops and 100ft casts with it during practice casting. It sounds as if by stiff rod standards it would be a noodle, but because of several other important factors including tip deflection it's quite easy to throw tight loops for distance. In fact I prefer to use that rod because it's so easy to throw laser loops to the backing with the T&T H2 or the Sages in saltwater weights.
At the fly show I found it fun to throw tight loops with the new Sage 00wt rod and would encourage anyone to give it a toss if you haven't already. It's not a rod I would fish in saltwater but it's a humbling teacher for intermediate to advanced casters requiring the right balance of power and restraint to even get it to work. And then to get distance and tight loops, well that takes even more control where tip deflection is only one element.
Another good example is to take a purposely soft traditional two-hand Spey action rod of 14 or 15 ft in length and throw tight overhead loops with it. Tip deflection is a desireable characteristic for this type of rod action, not at all designed for overhead casting and by singlehand stiffie standards this rod would be on valium but it can still throw laser loops. So the question is how?
I teach tight loops as being a result of two things interacting...
A) the line under end-to-end tension in a straight path of flight
B) an abrupt pulling point as close to the path as possible, to the inside and just beneath the path
Now this might sound rather obvious, but the subtleties within are the key and the minority of casters we see have a true understanding or control of these sutleties.
The line in flight must be fully under tension and traveling straight or the stop point will not form a tight loop even with zero deflection. In fact it's easy to demonstrate tailing loops and big floppy loops with a stiff rod even if the stop is on a dime when the line is not tensioned in flight or the path is not straight. The stopping (pulling) point which creates the lower leg of the loop is only half the equation.
I would add that deflection itself is not the culprit, even a very large final deflection at the stop can produce a tight loop provided it does not sweep the bottom leg of the loop out of line. This is an important aspect of how a soft rod can throw a tight loop BTW. No special tricks or voodoo, just good casting. I would argue that a caster who must control tip deflection with rod stiffness is hammering downward at the end of the cast.
In fact if (A) the line under tension is well formed and in-line then even a rather large downward deflection will create nothing more than what some call a "shock dimple" (also have heard it called "secondary loop" which makes no sense to me) because there is so much projectile force in the elongated tensioned flyline and so much opposing pull from the final stopping point that the rest of the casting loop pulls itself back together beyond the leading wedge where the shock can be seen. I am sure I can find some video of casts of this nature on the web as examples.
Anyway, thanks for engaging in casting speak. I take casting rather seriously and appreciate the chance to delve into the topic!
05-13-2006, 01:44 PM
Hey Juro, I think we are going to have some very interesting talks by my pool after a day of flats fishing - I'm looking forward to it <grin>.
05-15-2006, 06:11 PM
Sage RPLXi 890-5, Islander LA 3.8 & SA WF8F "bonefish" line - seen here with "bycatch"
05-15-2006, 07:35 PM
Sage TCR #6 & 3400D with a #6 quator taper or the #7 SA BoneFish taper.
Powell Tiburon #8 Tibor Everglades with a #8 SA BoneFish taper.
Sage #8 xp Abel Super 8 and SA #8 BoneFish taper.
05-18-2006, 07:30 PM
Maybe this went a little sideways, no?
For whatever it's worth, stiffness is defined as a measure of deflection under a unit load. So, let's assume we suspend a soft and fast rod horizontally by the handle and hang the 30' of right-weight fly line from the tip. A stiffer rod would deflect less than a soft (less stiff) rod. I think we would all agree that a fast rod would bend less than a slow rod, and so a fast rod would be stiffer than a slow rod.
Now, if we take a weight and pair it with a two different stiffness springs, the combo with the stiffer spring would oscillate faster. That's why we get faster line speeds from stiffer (faster) rods. I would argue that higher linespeed would be preferable in fast-reaction situations bonefishing sometimes demands.
But, many rod decisions are highly subjective and personal. I had a whole set of T&T Horizons, but when T&T went from free warranty repairs to charging $40/per, I got such a bad feeling I did not enjoy those rods any more. I felt like I'd been had whenever I had one in my hand. So I slowly disposed of them and now use a TFO TiCr 8 wt paired with a Lamson LP 3 reel for 90% of my bonefishing. However, I'm not dogmatic about tackle; I think I can adapt to any adequate gear, l and prefer to focus on the many other aspects of bonefishing.
For instance, I'm now deeply engrossed in seasonal fly selections and going after that 'last 20%' of very picky fish that are masters of the 'cold snub' refusal.
Good post with valid scientific considerations. Perhaps stiff and fast are more closely associated than I would propose by such thinking. However I feel that the rate of deflection of a uniform rod with a load on one end is not an applied analysis of what happens during fly casting because of the effect of rod taper and feedback to the caster who operates the tool.
The player with the biggest arms is not the best man to put onto the mound, technique has a lot to do with it not just brute force.
I have to believe there is some critical thinking being missed with the classic stiffness model above. So how do we factor taper and it's effect on loading the rod and transitioning energy into the loop in our analysis?
Let's consider the level line verses a weight forward line - the taper makes all the difference in the world in the way the line transfers energy along it's length. And although the modulus of graphite does not change over the length of the rod, the flexibility of the rod and the way it transitions energy along changes proportionately to the taper and graduation of taper thus it is unndeniably a factor in the way a rod operates.
Where material stiffness varies little, taper varies much more between rod designs. Let's say that one rod has a very stiff butt section that tapers parabolically to a very soft tip. Another has a stiff butt section tapering uniformly (circularly) to a stiff tip. A third is a level rod as in your example. Each of these rods will have a dramatically different feel on the wrist and thumb verses the other and a dramatically different effect on the line. In fact the third one, the uniform stiff rod, would essentially be useless.
My (anecdotal) experience has been that a soft rod loads up but does not unload well unless you baby it, a stiff rod does not load well unless you drive it harder than you need to.
In the middle are several rods that I consider not stiff, but quite fast - meaning they load comfortably but recoil with a vengeance due to good taper design.
Crap there's that irony again!
06-29-2006, 12:28 AM
Like this thread and think some of the comments are really useful. I've got several rods, from budget to top-end, and as a bonefish guide I get to cast all types of rods, both American and European: Sage, Scott, St. Croix. Loomis, Powell, Redington, Cabela's, Orvis, Winston, Hardy, etc. By far and away the best bonefish rod I've ever cast has been the Winston BIIx 8-weight. Unlike almost every other bonefish rod out there, it actually does what you need a bonefish rod to do: Cast short and long. So many rods nowadays are super-fast and only load with about 40 ft of line out the tip, or you have to over-line them to cast in short (which in turn can make long casts kinda' fuzzy). I agree with Juro that stiff rods are sort of a pain (for bonefish), and unfortunately some rod companies are betting the bank on this type of rod. You have to work twice as hard to start the loading process for this type of rod and close-in casts are very hard indeed.
Before I say more, let me make it clear that my useage of equipment is fairly specialized. I wade-fish for bonefish and permit (and the occasional tarpon). I do fish from the skiff occasionally, but over 90% of my fishing is from foot. That means that you can get much closer to bones without their knowing than from skiff... they can also do the same. This means that very short casts are often required. I've had several clients hook fish with the leader in the rod tip and 20-ft casts are very common. Usually these casts take place on cloudy days in less than ideal conditions - those days where the bonefish just seem to materialize "right there, 30 feet, 1 o'clock, cast now!" Casts have to be quick and accurate in these conditions or you don't catch fish. It's that simple. First time I fished the Winston BIIx, we hit three fish in a row, bang, bang, bang: all within 30 ft and 2 over 5 pounds. Decent fish... and we'd only had 4 shots in that half-hour. Typically that type of fishing yields about 50% success rate or less. The fish just come at you too fast, too close in. But since using that rod we catch way more fish, because it just loads and handles so well in close.
Of course, you can load 'er up and toss 90 ft of line too. No worries. It just loads smoothly down into the butt and handles that line easy.
I have also fished many types of reels, from the ridiculously expensive Hardy's to the modest Orvis Battenkill. For my clients I fish Abel Super-8's (now that they have outgoing clickers), but my personal reel is a Lamson Lightspeed 3. It's bigger, lighter, faster, and I feel the smoothness of the drag rivals other top-end reels like the Abels. Best part, the price is about half what you'd drop on those pricey reels. I especially like the Lightspeed now that they've replaced the dodgy clutch with a stainless version (which they'll do for free, by the way). It also has a crazy tough anodized surface ("guide finish") which I've fished hard in the salt for over 4 years and shows ZERO sign of corrosion. (No special care; just spray it off after a day on the water and you're good.) Finally, due to the large arbor size and placement of the handle the pick-up rate on that reel is flat out the highest of any reel that weight, which can make all the difference when a bone turns and runs back at you, which they do... size does matter, folks.
I also own one of the Ross' new Cimarron LA 8-weights. For the money it's a great buy. It's light, big, anodized, and the drag is very smooth and supposedly made from a new heat/friction-resistant material that should do away with the notorious problems their saltwater line had. I've still to put it through the ropes, but it's held up to its first few bonefish perfectly.
Now we come the the section where I have very strong feelings on the subject. First, let me say that for wadefishing for bonefish by far the worst lines I've fished are SA lines. I've owned several and also several lines that they produce for other companies (Sage, Orvis, etc.) Let me put it simply: they flippin' sink! You've got maybe a week of use (if you're lucky) and then it's over... no more floaty-float. Compair that to an old Cortaland 444 TropicPlus line which I fished hard with clients for 2 years and it still floated, no problem. Bang for your buck, Cortland TropicPlus. I also fish Rio lines, which are simply the best lines out there for casting into the wind. (Due to their stiff mono core which gives them backbone.) I also just fished this new Flip Pallot line that I think Cortland makes. Anyways, it's a great bonefishing line that flies in the face of several conventions that most WF Bonefish lines adhere to. First, it's bright, dayglo orange. The idea there (which I've been thinking for years) is that to fish all lines are dark silhouettes anyways, whether they're bright orange or pale blue. About the dumbest thing is making lines sandy colored, which only hides them from the angler above... who needs to see the line the most.
Here's the logic: in order to know where your fly is sitting on the bottom you need to know where the end of your flyline is. That way you can estimate how far past that your fly is based on the length leader your fishing. If you can't see the end of the flyline (cause maybe it's pale blue or sandy and blends in with the flat from above) then you can't tell where your fly is and can't fish it properly. Day in and day out I'm looking at the end of that flyline to see where the fly is. A line that was easier to see would sure be a big advantage. Remember, the fly has to be in the zone in order for the bonefish to see it and then eat it. No zone, no fish.
The other interesting thing about this line was its very short front taper. Also, the main belly of the line was right up front. This means that the line loads the rod right away for short, quick casts. Of course, this is very different from the long front taper and belly of the Rio Bonefish line, a line obviously designed with Keys bonefish in mind. I'd have to say that outside of that very specialized fishery most bonefishing takes place 60 feet and under. A line that loads a rod very quickly would be perfect for that type of everyday bonefishing. In fact, not a week before casting this new Flip Pallot line a friend of mine was visiting to catch bones. The visability was less than perfect so most of his shots were coming very short (20-40 feet). He was having trouble loading his rod with so little line out and had a devil of a time being accurate with a partially loaded rod. When we measured it, the front taper of his line was over 10 feet. He chopped about 7 feet off and bingo, the rod loaded much better. You might think that lack of taper would make the flyline splash down that much heavier, but it's a trade-off. If you can't get the fly to fish on time, it doesn't matter how delicately the line lands.
Anyways, I'm still undecided on this new line, but a lot of it does make sense. For now I'll keep fishing my Cortland 555 Tropic Lazer Line and chop the heads off my SA lines to make cheap running lines for my shooting heads. Heck, they sink anyways.
On the water,
06-29-2006, 01:10 AM
Just a few thoughts here, with due deference to the sage wisdom above. In my experience a stiff, fast rod (they're the same, but taper does make a difference in the loading and unloading process) might not be the best choice for all bonefishing, regardless of the definite need for quick reaction time... no arguement there. Here's the thing, most situations where you need to react swiftly are those where the fish is very close to you and you need to get a shot off before he sees you or the skiff. These are the very situations where a fast/stiff rod will get you into trouble everytime. Unless you've overlined it, that fast action stick will take more false casts to load the appropriate line and therefore take longer to get the fly to the fish. Also, more false casts when a fish is close makes the likelyhood of spooking it greater. On the other hand, a softer rod will load up quicker (with fewer false casts) and therefore get the fly to the fish faster. The problem comes when you need to make long casts in windy conditions with heavy flies - fishing Andros big bones, for instance. Then a softer rod becomes a liability. (All this is unless you are a very good caster, in which case you can probably make most any rod do any thing you want.)
There is another consideration when talking about fast action rods. Certainly they generate more line-speed, which results in faster, longer casts, but high line-speed is not always a good thing. Case in point: the final presentation cast. Too much linespeed here and the fly will slam into the water as it turns over. Add a crisp double-haul to this and the flyline (and fly) is traveling at a tremendous rate which defies almost any attempt to feather the cast. Ever wonder why all those old Bahamian guides have that wide open lazy looking cast? It slows the speed of the fly and allows it to settle gently to the water instead of flipping over and splashing down.
Here's an example: 2 anglers; 1 trout, 1 stripers. Which do you think will catch more bones first time out? Almost every time it's the trouters. Sure most striper anglers can haul out tight loops and toss 80 feet easy, but the simply generate too much linespeed to present the fly quietly. By contrast the Colorado trout angler that can maybe cast 50 feet works out a wide, slow loop and puts that fly down so quiet you can hardly see it land. Linespeed.
Of course, the perfect bonefish cast is something that joins the two approaches, just like a good bonefish rod should have both the delicacy of a cane rod and the power of a 9-weight you might use to throw at stripers from the beach. When I fish I tend to put a lot of speed into the first 2 false casts and then shoot almost half the distance on that final cast. Since I'm wading the tension of the water feathers the cast and slows the line so that the leader flips over slowly and the fly flutters down. (Not every time, of course. I still spook my share of fish... like everyone.) However, with a slower rod I might not have to rely on shooting so much line to slow the cast. This is one reason 6 weights work so well on calm days. In additon to throwing lighter lines, they also typically generate less linespeed so the fly lands quieter.
So, if you're headed to the Bahamas you might take a couple rods. A fast rod for throwing lots of line from the skiff (where you need to make longer shots) and a softer, easier loading rod for wading where close, accurate shots will take 90% of your fish. Take only one type of rod and you'll definitely run into situations where you wish you had the other.
Just some stuff to think about.
One thing to note though, as an owner of two of the lamson o-ring drags... if you ever pop that thing off anywhere near saltwater you can kiss the internals goodbye as they will corrode as they have for virtually everyone I know who has one.
I don't think you can beat the Danielsson 6nine as a bonefish reel, a much higher niche and about the same price.
06-30-2006, 01:04 PM
Are there any practical reasons why a shooting head with mono running line would be a bad choice for bones? As they are shorter and proportionately heavier than comparable conventional lines, they would seem to address the short cast / quick load problem even on stiff rods.
I hope to get bonefishing, either next year or after retirement, the rod is ordered and the 6nine will be next. However, I'd prefer to go with a shooting head system on it unless there's a compelling reason not to do so.
Peter the thing is you only needs one line 98.9% of the time which is a floater.
Shooting heads also do not land as quietly as full lines do so that would be a consideration.
06-30-2006, 02:02 PM
I do realize that I'd just be using a floater and that the quick change aspect of shooting heads offers no advantage. Rather, I'm thinking more about the short cast / quick load vs. long cast problem. I have a 32' shooting head for freshwater use for my current 8 wt. that I cut out of salmon DT-9-F. Being proportionately heavier vs. a standard WF-8-F, it loads quickly but the 12' front taper turns over very nicely without a lot of smackdown. It's capable of good distance as well. I wouldn't use this head in the tropics as it would be turned to mush by the heat but something similar to it in a tropical line might work as a head.
Smooth landings can be controlled by the shooting head angler if the loop is opened up, less energy applied and/or a bit finger tip drag applied to the running line as it shoots out. Doesn't matter the species, if you're casting to wary fish, you want the cast to run out of gas above the water, just as the fly turns over and then settle down, rather than drive it into the water carrying a lot of velocity.
Thanks to the elevation in a boat, it's pretty easy to make single speyish looking cast with a head that'll turn over nice and easily out to 40' or 50' without a lot of splash. Accuracy would be a challenge but that distance is easily achievable in a single motion.
Sounds like it would work.
Personally I would just get a line size or two heavier(that high line speed stuff is shite, give me a line that loads the rod :) ) but it sounds like you have the shooting head thing figured out.
Opinions are like... well you know the rest :)
After 12 weeks of bonefishing over the last couple of decades I would have to say that my ideal line would be the one that casts in a controlled manner with good feedback no matter how much line I have out.
As you might imagine this says a lot about the rod too.
But on the topic of line, I would have to say that the taper should allow for short work in close, easy loading when you need to reach the average cast and a gradual back taper for aerializing a lot of line for those long casts.
I would say that the SH would have an advantage for long casts EXCEPT when you miss, the line is useless unless you strip back to the registration point at the back of the head.
A line with a gradual back taper let's you fudge with a sharp haul and get it all back in flight without too much strip adjustment, making the adjusted second shot which is typically better than the first if the fish did not spook.
For short work, I don't know. Shooting heads aren't known for gentle front tapers but they do load quick. I like the Rio Outbound on the flats, which is a 38ft "integrated shooting head".
The color change is a real plus. You always know where you are. However it's not as good as not caring, which a more gradual taper (e.g. a double taper) will afford. However a DT is crap for shooting line.
So IMHO the perfect bonefish line is a line with a gradual rear taper, a positive front taper that loads short, and of course if a gun for reaching out and touching a bone in it's tracks. The latter is the easiest characteristic to find, what's hard is the short game and the long line pickup for a second try.
I have used a line with an abrupt rear taper and hated it because I tend to maximize the distance I take the first shot to minimize their awareness of me. Because feeding bones don't swim straight I often take a smooth and single back second shot to adjust. This requires a long pick up with smooth continuous tension. I have to guess that a shooting head would not be right for me.
06-30-2006, 08:04 PM
Shite! Shite? You must've been hanging around with Houlding. ;)
BTW, owning two High Line Speeds, if you can't cast 'em with their rate weight you ain't castin' 'em right.
I know how a shooting head casts and I know how a regular line casts (no magic in so-called bonefish tapers) and I can give chapter 'n' verse on each but having never fished for bones, I have no idea which one would work best. The stripping back and pickup of the shooting head is a concern but how much of a concern?????
If it's a bluebird day and the tide is cranking, the big bonefish god in the towering Bahamian clouds is banging the drum loUDER AND LOUDER, almost as loud as your heart is pounding as the onslaught of the marls begins and the mangroves call their siren song to summon the hordes of silver ghosts from the sea to the shallows...
it's a big concern.
otherwise who cares :lildevl:
06-30-2006, 09:00 PM
Got it . . . .
07-01-2006, 07:43 AM
Juro touched on the reason why the shooting head would be limiting, but didn't expound on it. From a boat, many bonefish casts will be 50-70'. I can't tell you how many times I've made a 60' cast and had the guide say, "Now pick it up and put it ten feet to the right." That borders on being impossible with many of today's bonefish lines that have short rear tapers and running lines not much thicker than a flyline type running line for a shooting head system. If you have to strip back in twenty feet of line to make that second cast the bones are gone. I quit using SA Mastery Bonefish tapers because of the thin running lines and have given up on several other lines for the same reason. On a 60' cast you'll have between 45' and 50' of line on the water. If you can't pick that up without stipping in any line your guide will probably ask you to use his gear. A thicker running line means you give up a little in extreme distance. However, accuracy is far more important than distance as is the ability to recast without stripping in line. Thicker running lines also tangle far less frequently. By all means bring a shooting head system along if you choose, but bring a spare spool/reel with a true bonefish line that has a fairly long rear taper and a reasonably thick running line. I can almost assure you that by day 2 you'll be glad you brought it.
07-01-2006, 08:18 AM
Thanks, that's the sort of info I was looking for. As you suggest, I'll probably bring both and reserve the SH setup for any wading I might do.
07-02-2006, 12:00 PM
They now have a new stainless steel and anodized clutch mechanism that should solve that problem.
I had the same problem you're refering too after I had to dunk my rod/reel under an anchor line to land a bone. About a week later the reel started seizing up so I popped it open and, sure enough, the clutch was rusted over. (Not the bearings, just the housing.) I cleaned it up and it still worked for like another 2 years but I eventually thought I should send it in for service. When I did I mentioned my dissapointment in their choice of materials for the clutch and they said, no worries, they've addressed the issue.
They'll replace the old clutches for free with a few bucks for S&H. Also, if the corrosion has caused problems with the actual drag mechanism, they'll replace that for free too.
07-02-2006, 12:28 PM
I'd have to agree with JR SPEY on the thoughts about running line and SA's obsession for distance. I've quit using them as well.
99% of the time, the first cast to a bone doesn't get it done. Quick, accurate recasts are essential, especially on those all to common occasions when the angler doesn't see the fish. Over the dark turtlegrass flats we have here, I regularly guide the casting/stripping of my anglers to get them into bones they never see, until we land them. Now, I obviously would much rather have the angler see the fish - they can make a better presentation then - but that's not always possible when a fish is coming at you and you're running out of time. Shooting heads might load quickly (no arguement there) but they don't allow for quick pickups, which are absolutely essential in flats fishing (bones, tarpon, permit, reds, etc.). A good flats line (Cortland or Rio) will give you that option, although you still want to match your line for they type of fishing you'll be doing that day. (ie bright sunny day with great visabilility for bones and anglers might require longer shots, but an overcast, windy day might necessitate quick, short shots.)
The other reason I'd venture to say shooting heads would be a less than idea choice is that they generate way too much linespeed. This would make a delicate presentation very difficult indeed. Also, the sound of a flyline hitting the water does indeed spook fish, and heads are definitely heavier. That's why so many bonefish guides I've fished with love sidearm casting - the line doesn't fall from such a height so the splashdown is minimized. On calm, clear days (especially around the full moon) I regularly see bones change direction after they hear a line slap water. On those day's I've gone down to a #6 rod/line settup and started catching fish again. They just don't hear that light line hitting the water as easily.
Speaking of which, if you can cast well, don't ignore those lighter rods. Personally every time I travel to fish the weather is lousy (blowing 20-30 and cloudy) but I have had a handful of days where a lighter rod made the difference. (Tarpon in the Keys and bones in Bahamas and Little Cayman.) Carry a toy when you go, sometimes that lighter rod/line can be on the money.
07-03-2006, 09:13 AM
OK :hihi: I get the message, ditch the shooting heads. Will do.
BTW, I noticed people seem down on SA bonefish lines but reading their latest blurb it seems that they've been paying attention. Supposed to have a thicker running line, longer belly and rear taper plus a heavier front end for quicker loading and wind. Has anyone tried this version?
About floaters sinking after a few uses. Well we've all heard about water wicking up the braided core and I know I've been a bit skeptical about this as a cause. I've tried sealing some wth glue but no joy (the glue probably cracked afterward). Recently I've been fishing with an Airflo WF-5-F Ridge line that comes with factory loops molded in. Guess what, no tip sink at all. Best floating trout line I've ever used and Airflo doesn't have exactly the best rep when it comes to trout lines. From now on I'm heat sealing the ends of all of my new floaters before they ever get wet.
07-03-2006, 06:12 PM
That's an interesting cause I'd never heard of. That may be the reason SA lines start to sink... or at least one of the causes... After all, Rio lines with their mono core don't sink, so there's a logic there. Of course, if you look at Cortland, Teeny or Wulff lines (all of which have braided cores) you'll find they keep floating, so that sort of falls apart.
Also, they way I attach my leaders to flyline is by loop-to-loop. I make my own loops in both ends of the flyline by doubling the line back on itself and tying a pair of Nail knots with 10-12 lb test mono about 1/2 inch apart. These cinch down so tight that I seriously doubt water is getting in through the ends. Personally, I think it has to do with the bouancy of the line itself, and maybe the diameter. (Greater diameter equals greater displacement equals greater bouancy... maybe.)
I haven't fished SA's new line, and I won't until one of my clients brings one with. All I know is my experience with their products while wading has been disappointing, to put it mildly.
07-03-2006, 07:55 PM
When the new Mastery lines were first introduced (maybe four years ago now?) they had a thin running line. After a bunch of complaints about them, the running line diameter was increased slightly. More recently, however, they switched back to the former dimension (from my understanding it was at Bruce Richards' insistence). If they've switched again it must have been very recently. What I've been told by my contacts at SA is if a customer wants a heavier running line I should sell him the Mastery Redfish line. Evidently, there are several features of this line that make it more suitable for bonefishing than the Mastery Bonefish for many anglers. Since I now lead my customers toward the Rio (especially the 2006 version which is not nearly as wiry) and the Monic (the Tropical Opaque is still the best bonefish line I've ever used) I can't comment on the usefullness of the Mastery Redfish, but it might be worth checking out.
07-04-2006, 08:47 AM
I'm getting the info on the running line from SA's information bulletin on their website -- assuming it's current. Looking at the bulletin, it would seem to address the issues mentioned in this thread, but only so much can be gained from it -- nothing beats time on the water.
As far as wicking goes, it's enough of a problem for Rio to menition it on their site. I've found that nail knots do not prevent wicking as the end of the braided core is still in contact with water. I would suspect that better performance by other brands reflects differences in core material and construction. The only sure fire method is a sealed tip. I've heard that some use Zap-a-Gap but I haven't tried that glue -- yet.
I fish S/A, Rio and Wulff bonefish lines. I like them all.
As far as the comments on S/A, I have to respectfully disagree bonehead - perhaps you got a faulty line? Mine casts wonderfully with the taper Bruce Richards developed and floats fine. The color is great against the sky and I've been very comfortable with all types of casts from quickfire roll casts and snake rolls to head-length reactionary shots to long aerialized reaching casts over flats to distant cruisers, no problems at all.
Even if it did sink slightly under the surface film it's common knowledge that adhesion on the surface film on calm bright days spooks bonefish, I have experienced this first-hand and know it's absolutely true. However I have not had a sinking problem with this line.
The Wulff has the most well-behaved front taper, all Wulff lines seem to have that smooth turnover. While fishing Acklins with Bill Kessler, it was clear his Wulff line was a pleasure to cast and he sung it's praises which led me to order one. I was pleasantly surprised.
I fished the Rio the year before and found it to be a very assertive taper that bites through wind and shoots effortlessly for long casts. It needed some stretching to start the day, but bonefish lines often do.
I don't think you can go wrong with any of these lines, I ended up owning all three for my three bonefish weight rods.
07-06-2006, 06:36 AM
I find Cortland 444 line does just what I'd like a bonefish line to do, and have never had the urge to change.
That's a great set of points about the 'double-casting-duty' of a bonefish rod. I've always assumed that if I didn't see a fish until within 30', it served me right for missing it. I definitely need to focus more on the close-in aspect. Thanks for the heads-up.
07-06-2006, 01:41 PM
It wasn't one "faulty line", which is understandable. I'm talking 4-5 SA Mastery Series Lines in different sizes and a couple Orvis and Sage lines, which I'm pretty sure 3M makes. If not I stand corrected. All of them have started sinking after a 1-2 weeks use.
Now, most of my clients that fish SA (and there are lots) have few problems. But they're fishing those lines maybe a week a year. However, I had a good buddy down a couple weeks ago and he spent 2 weeks fishing bones, tarpon, and permit here. He always laughed at my problems with SA lines too, until his started sinking... and catching in the grass, coral, rocks, etc. He mostly fished from kayak or beach at home and never had a problem.
I've talked with other guides that do lots of wading, from Hawaii to Mexico, and many have had the same problems. One guide out of Nervous Waters Hawaii comes particularly to mind, but he did mention that there was one year in there that did keep floating... but I'm not sure which.
I want to be fair though. I'm talking about the loose loop of line sinking while you're wading: 4-8 hrs a day for months on end during the season here. I'm not talking about a line sinking after you cast it - the surface tension of stripping the line seems to mostly prevent that. I never carry my lines, nor do many of my clients (that usually results in a tangle when a fish takes off). Those lines have more than enough time to absorb water... but then other brands don't seem to have a problem.
PS I love the way they cast and shoot a mile, which is the devil of it.
07-06-2006, 06:09 PM
I want to be fair though. I'm talking about the loose loop of line sinking while you're wading: 4-8 hrs a day for months on end during the season here. I'm not talking about a line sinking after you cast it - the surface tension of stripping the line seems to mostly prevent that.
Ahhh, that's different and not a water wicking problem. Affects steelheaders too when you're casting out a load of line and the running line is two foot under . . . . :mad:
02-16-2013, 11:09 AM
just upgrading my 8wt as we speak:
9wt - sage xi2 4pc with orvis hydros iv with either rio wff or wulff btt clear intermediate
old (now backup) 8wt - okuma guide select 4pc and okuma helios 8/9 with sa mastery multi-tip system. at one point that was my only 8 or better so i needed the versatility of the multi-tip. surprisingly rugged setup that has lasted a good while. sealed drag on the helios has handled bones, small cudas, stripe and over-slot reds
new 8wt - sage vantage 4pc and nautilus ccf 8 with soon-to-be-ordered wulff btt two-tone or lost tip. gotten everything on ebay so far so the whole rig will end up being under $550 with line and backing.
i went with the vantage, b/c i like the slower med-fast action for my 8wt. that xi2 is in the quiver for when winds are belting, but i can adjust my stroke and be much more accurate/delicate at close range with a bit slower rod.
02-18-2013, 09:10 PM
Recently broke the spool on my spare reel -- a Ross Evolution 3.5. Have done some internet searching but cannot find a replacement. Anybody know where to find a spool for sale?
02-19-2013, 08:29 AM
I just got a 7wt Winston BIII-SX that I can't wait to try. I have a Canyon reel that I haven't used in a few years. Going to pair it up with that. Normally I use an 8wt Sage XI2 with my Lamson. That's going to play back up for now. Will be in the Bahamas in less than 4 weeks now.
03-04-2013, 03:03 AM
I currently run two rods that are almost the same. Both are Orvis Helios 9 footers, one an 8 wt 9.5 tip flex and the other a 7 wt 10.0 tip flex. Both have a Waterworks Lamson ULA Force LT 3X reel on them with an 8 wt line and about 300+ yards of 20 lb gel spun backing. At least one line is a Sci Anglers Mastery WF floater, but they both might be. I'm not positive of the brand on the second one! I'll rig up each rod with a different pattern so that I have a second rod ready to go if I'm casting from the boat and the fish aren't interested in the first fly I throw. It's much faster to hand the first rod back to the guy sitting in the bow than to tie on a second fly, especially since you usually tie lousy knots when you're rushing! :)
Both rod/reel combos weigh about the same as my 4 wt trout setups. I specifically went for the lightest possible rod/reel combo I could find, and this is in fact the lightest 8 wt package you can buy in the world today. The rods are just over 3 ounces and so are the reels. With line and backing, they're still only about a half pound total. Some guys that have fished for years for bones have felt my setups and don't like how light they are and want the heavy weight of their Abel reels and Sage rods, which are about a pound, or twice what my setup weighs.
I definitely go above and beyond with backing because I refuse to lose the fish of a lifetime because I don't have enough when I'm wading and can't motor after a fish. The biggest bone I've caught to date, a 10 lb 33" fish, almost spooled me even with that much, so I have real-world experience to back up (no pun intended) needing that much. I've caught plenty of 7-8 pounders and they can easily rip off 200-250 yards of backing too no matter how much pressure you apply or how heavy your tippet is (I often use 20 pound flouro btw, mostly due to seeing a ~20+ pound 45"+ bone up close and personal last year that I actually got a few casts at - and no I'm not exaggerating both the guide and I thought it was a small shark it was so big!).
I've used a lot of other setups over the years including other Orvis rods and reels, Sage, Winston, G Loomis, and others, but my current setup is definitely by far my favorite.
03-27-2013, 10:55 PM
Sage Z-Axis 7 wt., Lamson Lite speed, royal wulff triangle taper. Simply awesome.
04-02-2013, 11:23 AM
I use two primary set-ups here in the Virgin Islands. I use either an 8 or 9 wt. TFO TiCrX with either a Billy Pate Bonefish Anti-reverse with Orvis Clear Sink Tip Wonderline (8wt), or Tibor Everglades with Orvis Wonderline Gen. 3 (9wt) or Orvis DXR Anti-reverse reel with Orvis Wonderline Gen. 3 (8wt).
04-02-2013, 02:05 PM
I just got a 7wt Winston BIII-SX that I can't wait to try. I have a Canyon reel that I haven't used in a few years. Going to pair it up with that. Normally I use an 8wt Sage XI2 with my Lamson. That's going to play back up for now. Will be in the Bahamas in less than 4 weeks now.
I used the Winston the whole trip. VERY nice rod. Excellent craftsmanship and the thing casts like a dream.
04-04-2013, 08:58 AM
rise 8 wt with lamson konic 3.5
04-05-2013, 09:22 AM
Loomis Pro 4X 8wt with Abel Super 8 and Wulff Triangle Taper. I like the Pro4X because it's a little softer in the tip for close casts but can still bang out a long one. If Loomis made a Pro4x 9' 7wt. I'd have one of those as well. Rajeff says they will offer them late 2013 or '14.
Avg bones: T&T H2 4pc 7wt with Dannielson 6nine, SA bonefish and lots and lots of backing. I love this rod in the Bahamas.
Bigger bones: Sage Rplxi 8wt 5pc with Dannielson HD 710, SA bonefish and even more backing. This rod has done a lot for me over the years, and it's so compact in the OEM travel case.
They both come along, one in the luggage and one over the shoulder which never gets questioned at the security gate as a carry-on probably because of the official looking blue fabric travel case w/ reel and a few flies 'accidentally' thrown into the inside just in case of a baggage glitch.
My experience in bonefishing is it's the other stuff that can make or break your trip... shoes, socks inside them; sunglasses and garments; means of carrying gear like chestpacks, backpacks and slings; camelback water supply; etc etc etc
04-06-2013, 01:36 PM
Juro, I agree. If your feet hurt, you can't see fish, your pack doesn't feel right or you look for something and its not there you are not going to have as much success or fun out there.
I have used a lot of different rods and reels and have caught fish and had fun with all of them. Last few trips when wading I have used a Gary Borger Pro Series 8 wt with a Sage 2580 reel. Both are light weight and the rod is easy to cast. I have started using the Rio Redfish line when wading. Loads quickly and is good for anything within 60' which is usually all you need wading.
04-10-2013, 09:22 AM
I love the new Thomas and Thomas TNT rods. And my Nautilus ccf works flawlessly.
04-24-2013, 02:27 PM
sage z-axis 8wt with a riptide.
have used a orvis zero g 10wt with the same reel as well.
when we were hunting large bones and GT's in the Chagos, my buddy carried a xi-3 10wt and a gulfstream for bones.
05-15-2013, 01:58 AM
i love my gloomis nrx 8 with a tibor signature reel. perfect combination!
06-27-2013, 09:57 AM
economy package: Reddington Predator #8, Lamson Konic reel
07-06-2013, 12:26 PM
Three salt water setups. All are 9.5 tip flex.
Orvis TLS 8 weight w/Orvis Large Arbor IV & Orvis Striper Intermediate plus a spare spool with same line. Old setup but casts great. Reels should always have spools removed when storing so they won't stick together.
Orvis ZG Helios 8 weight w/Orvis Large Arbor IV with Orvis Bonefish plus spare spool with same line.
Orvis Zero Gravity 10 weight with Orvis VO2 V with Orvis Tarpon line plus spare spool with Orvis Intermediate line.
Orvis Helios 2 5 weight 9.5 tip flex with Orvis CFO reel & Orvis Trout 5WWF line. Love this setup. Feather light and casts nicely. Also love the sound of the reel for what that's worth.
I didn't know much about fly fishing but met some very helpful folks at the Orvis shop in Fanueil Hall in Boston so I went there a lot. I have no experience with any other maker of reels or rods. The Abels and Tibors look nice though. Might go there if I need a replacement.