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Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

Thread: Rod Recommendations? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-01-2007 05:38 PM
jfasiten Really is a personal choice and will be driven by how much you want to spend. I've had very good luck with the guys at Feathercraft -- they've been super recommending fly rods, reels, line and particularly flies. They can sell you the right pattern for the water you'll be fishing -- they've been right on target for me several times.
I have absolutly no affiliation with them -- just very good service.
Good luck.

Non-sponsor link removed.

12-31-2006 10:38 AM
JR SPEY Yep, Bionic Braid and PowerPro are the best, at least when used for flyine backing. The main use of GSP is on casting tackle and there some other brands are also highly regarded. I only use it on reels designed for big fish that run a long ways, like sailfish, large jacks, and the like. I still prefer standard dacron backing for my bonefish and even tarpon reels. I think the biggest disadvantage of GSP is the difficulty of tying secure knots. I'm a bit of a knot freak and practice tying various knots almost every day, and yet I still have more knots give way on me with GSP than with dacron. And many knots just plain won't work with GSP. The stuff is so dog-gone slippery. It also takes planning to get the back end of it secured to the reelspool. The standard two times around and then an arbor knot or uni-knot doesn't work. Many guys wrap about 6 or 8 turns around the arbor and then tie a uni-knot, but that can be tough to close down tightly. If your arbor is ventilated, some guys tie the knot right round the metal part of the spool by inserting the backing through a ventilating hole. I think the best method, and the one I now use, is to wrap a turn or two of electrical tape around the arbor and then proceed the same as you would with dacron. The idea is to find a way for the GSP to bite down well enough that the whole backing/flyline combination doesn't spin around on the arbor. I laughed, too, when I first heard about that, but then it happened to a friend of mine. He still had some flyline and all his backing on the spool and the whole mess was spinning round the arbor. A couple of additional points. Getting GSP backing on tightly when sitting in an easy chair and spooling it on is one thing. It's a lot tougher to get it spooled on that well when fighting a fish, and if you don't it will cut down into the layers below and get pinned there. Also, I do not recommend using any GSP for backing under 50# due to the thin and abrasive nature of the stuff. Touch some 30# GSP as the fish is peeling off line and it's like sticking your fingers into a running bandsaw.
12-31-2006 08:28 AM
jimS GSP is polyethylene gelspun line that has the advantage of being smaller in diameter than dacron. Thus, more can be loaded on a spool. The downside is that it has a slick finish, and combined with the small diameter, it can easily cut you, if you're not careful on a running fish. The other concern is that it has to be carefully wound onto the spool to insure that it doesn't dig into itself. Great stuff, but be careful. It varies in quality from one brand to the other. Bionic Braid from Australia is the best, but pricey.
12-31-2006 06:41 AM
josko Yes, I use GSP for backing on all my reels, from trout to bluefin. I think there's no reason not to, as long as one learns to spool up tight and is careful about line cuts. I was able to fit a whole 300 yd spool of 50# Powerpro on a TFO 375 and have plenty of room for flyline.
I like the 375 a lot, although it gets sticky right after you submerge it, (I've dipped mine occasionally while unhooking fish.) and pay attention to the one-way bearing. I've heard some rumors of it rusting, so now I store mine between trips off the reel in a film canister full of oil. It takes about 15 seonds to put it back on, and I know it'll be OK.

My Lamson 3 was able to take 200 yds of 50# Powerpro.
12-30-2006 08:08 PM
Trevor B

Exactly what is GSP? and if you can get that much more of it on a reel as backing compared to Dacron then why is not everyone using it ?
12-30-2006 06:14 PM
JR SPEY Josko,

I've looked all the way through this thread to see if you mentioned using GSP for backing. I only found just the one post by you. Unless you're using 30# GSP you aren't getting 375yds of 30# Dacron on a TFO LA 375. At least not with a flyline on top of it. It could be your measuring is off when installing the backing. TFO lists it as holding a WF8F and 250yds of 20#. That means it would hold 375yds of 30# GSP but nowhere near that much in 30# Dacron. While all bonefish and their environments are different, I've only had one fish, which was well into double digits, take out anything close to 200yds of backing. Some of it has to do with drag settings, which is one reason I like to use more than a minimal drag on bonefish. The less resistance they have, the farther they'll tend to go, but in most environments it would take a huge fish to go much more than 200yds. Do you like your TFO LA 375 as much as I like mine?
12-30-2006 01:59 PM
(unlike Orvis Battenkill large arbor which only holds about 150 yds of 30-pound dacron backing with an 8-weight line). Trust me, I've seen folks come within a few wraps of getting spooled on reels that didn't hold enough backing.
I used to think 150 yds of backing was enough, but after running 'for all I was worth' a couple times with ~3 wraps left on the reel, I've spooled the 375 with 300 and the Lamson 3 with 200 yds and hope I won't have to run for it again anytime soon.
Seriously? For bonefish?

I've never had a bone run further than 100 yards. Yes, no trophy sized one (yet!), but I would have thought 150yards would be plenty even for a 15 pounder, as the 7-8 pounders usually only go about 80yards on a good day (per my estimations at least). Also, for bonefishing I would think there is no need for backing stronger than 20lbs.. Am I completely off or are you planning for special circumstances?
12-30-2006 08:30 AM
josko I went from a Sage Rplx to T&T Horizon to TFO TiCr and think each rod was better (for me) than the one before it. I used a Sci Angler II (with leather drag pads) for years but now use a Lamson 3 (6-7 wts) and TFO 375 (8 wt) and think they're just fine. Gold Cup reels from Basspro seem to be a great 'pricepoint' reel. I see several Bahamian guides using them daily, and they're holding up just fine.
I used to think 150 yds of backing was enough, but after running 'for all I was worth' a couple times with ~3 wraps left on the reel, I've spooled the 375 with 300 and the Lamson 3 with 200 yds and hope I won't have to run for it again anytime soon.
12-29-2006 07:14 PM
Broaden your options,

Of course there's no arguing with the above posts, and rods are indeed a personal preference (for example, I've only cast 2 decent Scotts in my life, but folks swear by them). However, the only rod I didn't see mentioned was Winston's BIIx, which is by far the best bonefishing rod I've ever cast... bar none.

I guide only part-time now (about 6 months of the year) but I used to guide full-time... almost strictly bonefishing. Most of my clients that missed fished missed them because they were simply too close to make an accurate presentation, not because they were too far away, like all the magazines lead you to believe. With the fast-action rod revolution some makers have seriously strayed into the realms of fantasy and have produced rods that are ideal for casting the whole string, but hardly function at all as fishing tools. Here's a tip: if you can't feel the rod load easily with about 20-feet of fly line out, and just as easily cast 60-feet, your going to have holes in your game.

The BIIx does both, with ease, and it's the only rod I've cast that does. On the one hand you can delicately present that fly to a bonefish that's materialized 25 feet away, or you can load 'er up and toss 70+ feet with one backcast, no worries. There are lots of rods that can do one or the other, but not many that can do both. If I were to mention other rods I've cast that are also worth considering... Loomis GLX, most any TFO (though the TiCrx might be too fast for some folks), and of course almost any Sage (I'm partial to the TCR myself).

As for reels, check out Ross's new CLA, the Cimarron large arbor. It's light, fast, and has a great drag system that is built of previously top-secret military materials that have extremely high heat/friction resistance, which means it performs consistently over time. Best thing is it's really affordable.

My personal favorite reel is Lamson-Waterworks' Lightspeed. I've got one that's about 5 years old and it looks brand new. I've fish it hard in the salt year in and year out. All I do is spray it off at the end of the day. No greasing the drag, no worries. It's got a smooth drag system (with a brand new anodize aluminum and stainless clutch) and the deepest anodization on the market (their "guide finish"). It's also the lightest and largest reel in its class that holds enough backing to matter (unlike Orvis Battenkill large arbor which only holds about 150 yds of 30-pound dacron backing with an 8-weight line). Trust me, I've seen folks come within a few wraps of getting spooled on reels that didn't hold enough backing.

Bottom line, if you're looking for a deal, go with a TFO Professional and a Ross CLA. If you want a little higher end stick, go with the Winston BIIx.

Whatever you choose, don't buy it until you cast it. Good luck.

Tight lines,

PS, I'd have to disagree with the notion that the reel is more important than the rod. I think it's about 50/50. I mean, sure, if you can't land the fish (your reel blows up, locks up, or the drag slips) then that's bad. But, not being able to reach the fish is just as bad... and I don't mean "not being able to reach them" because they're too far away. If you can't accurately present a fly (with control) at short-medium distances then you can't reach them. The 80+ foot cast that's so common along the striper shores of the Northeast (I've got a buddy lives in Virginia) is pretty atypical of bonefishing. 30-50 feet is the norm and plenty of fish are hooked closer.
12-07-2006 09:35 AM
Geordie Shanks
So many choices

As has been mentioned, the choice of rods is very personal and I would definitely recommend going to your fly shop and throwing a few rigs to see what you like. I have a Scott 8'8" HP (old rod-I believe it got replaced by the SAS) that I absolutely love. Rigged up with a Bauer MX4 (used to be the M4) reel, that is by far my favorite setup. I also own a Sage SP and a Winston Boron, but find myself reaching for the Scott almost everytime I'm on the flats (which isn't often enough) for bones. Keep the Sage rigged up and handy for anything else that might come along. The lightspeed reels are exceptional for the salt. Go throw some rods and take recommendations with a grain of salt and have some fun.
12-04-2006 11:18 PM
A2theO Hi, Rods I'd say is definantly a personal choice. I love scott rods. I own a 10wt sage xi2 it is nice, but the xi2's are a bit stiff. The scott s3 and s3s's are very nice. I prefer the s3 8 wt. Reels are very important (more important than the rod) in your saltwater angling. I have a ross canyon big game wich is amazing and rather afordable compared to others. Ross reels, sage, and nautilus are good choices. You are going to need a good drag and a large aarbor for fighting these fish. One recomendation is not to go cheap on a reel. Best of luck.

Tight lines,

Aaron O'Leary
12-04-2006 07:24 PM
arubaman went to Aruba last month, had 3 eights with me, one stolen, two broken....
A friendly store-owner in the Netherlands was so kind to send a new rod to my granny who was traveling to Aruba. he didnīt wait for the banks to clear the money, send it right away and it was right in time for my granny to take with her to Aruba.
Apart from this service I didnīt know what to expect, it was a TFO TiCrx Left Kreh-rod. It looked terrible when I opened up the rodtube. The color is not my color (blue). Little yellow dots on it to make sure you put the pieces together and align them. This rod is defintely differently styled compared to the usual.
But it weighted not that much, it was lighter than a wayfarer and when I went out to fish with it I was surprised by itīs action. Although it wonīt be a real substitute for the sage thatīs missing and the redington is about the same price, I can say it casts perfectly. It fishes fine and has a nice bent when you hook up a fish. I casted harder into the winds than ever, making it one of the best rods I ever cast/fished with on Aruba.
Back in the netherlands it surprises me every day how well it casts the bigger streamers i use for pike. Considering the price and the pleasure to me it is the best deal at the moment.
12-03-2006 06:01 PM
Originally Posted by teflon_jones
You don't mention how much you're willing to spend. That will make a big difference in what can be recommended...
Price is not really a concern, and since it would be my first salt-water rod I'm willing to pay for quality.. Appreciate all of the suggestions!!
12-03-2006 01:05 PM
teflon_jones You don't mention how much you're willing to spend. That will make a big difference in what can be recommended...
12-03-2006 12:38 AM
figen I've fished for (small) bones with a broken drag-less reel without any problem. My palm is my drag. But your point is a good one. I really wanted to say that once up in the high-quality range of both rod and reels, there is a greater personal preference determining which rod to pick than reel. All $300+ reels designed for saltwater will do the (simple, but important) job nicely, but the rod must match your casting stroke and "feel right".

Well, I might be a bit special, my motto has always been "you can never have too many 8 weights" and I got a closet full to prove it, yet I've never owned a reel that cost me more than $150 until last month
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