overline bonefish rod?
I'm doing bonefish for the first time this fall and was hoping for some advice:
To overline or not to overline?
The weapon of choice will be a 9'6" 8wt Powell Tiburon 2 which is a very fast rod.
I usually overline all of my saltwater rods for northeast salt-chuck. I have read that this is not wise for spooky bones that are tailing in a foot of water however.
Also does anyone have first-hand experience using floating coldwater lines in the tropics? I've heard mixed opinions on this as well.
I just went on my first trip this spring and had the same question. I found that it was situation dependent. I ended up not overlining my rods but in retrospect would have due to the heavy wind I experienced. Where are you headed? If you are going to Mexico, Belize or someplace with smaller fish the 8wt is probably a good option but for the Bahamas I ended up using my 9wt especially considering the wind. It blew 25 every day. The one advantage I found was that the flies are generally much lighter than the stuff I fish for stripers on the flats which made casting easier. The harder part was seeing the fish and not spooking them which I found was more an issue of line shadow and fly placement rather than splash but again it was blowing hard. I guess what I am saying is if you can bring both and change with the situations.
If you believe the propaganda put out by the line companies, you will have a problem with the coldwater line tangling on the deck or a boat, and you won't get the distance that you would with a stiffer line. If you are wading, the tangling may not be a problem. If you are a long distance caster, maybe 5 or 10' less won't bother you much.
the guides I have been working with recommend overlining. The splash or noise may be more dependant on the taper. I've been using a SA Windmaster which has a short front taper, and I haven't noticed any problems.
As others have said, it is site dependent - I generally do not overline but many of my friends do. If you have an idea that most shots are going to be close, I would overline. I generally have about 30 feet out the tip and hold the fly so you can roll cast the line and make one false cast. You should practice this maneuver and not just normal casting. Boat fishing for sure I would have a salt water line. Wading not as critical but still a good idea. Also a good idea is to mark your lines at 10 foot increments starting at 30 feet so you can better judge what is going on
I have only 9 bonefish trips under my belt but I have learned a lot just the same from these few trips. The answer is "it depends" :lildevl:
When fishing from a boat you have a different set of circumstances than when fishing from shore. The 20ft shadow keeps you further from the fish and you need to make longer casts, using more of the head in the air. You are fishing with an extra pair of eyes, which are almost always better than your own so you will approach pods further away than you would wade to. The guide can reposition the boat to deal with wind, where you can't do that with a mangrove stand to your back while wading. You are going to make longer shots from a boat than on foot most of the time. Long head, aggressive front taper if windy.
When wading, the average shot distance depends on the structure. If you are fishing a very broad flat in the evening for tailers, you will probably make long gentle casts several feet ahead of the direction the fish are pushing. 60 or more ft casts are called for.
If you have staked out a dead coral foundation creating a little current on an otherwise uneventful flat, 30-40ft casts to fish spotted on the approach or at the last minute (like Monomoy) are the rule. Short length head, loading quickly is best. The Rio Clouser taper might be the ticket for this, or the Wulff Bermuda Triangle (30ft head, two-tone tropical).
Since I was using a two-hander in Exuma I chose lines with a short head (30ft) and two-tone color between head and running line. I like the Rio Windcutter (not spey) on the Atlantis All-around, nice aggressive taper. I had a Wulff Bermuda Triangle line down there, nice line and two-tone for fast re-casting.
As far as line shadow, I heard Monic makes a tropical clear floater. In calm mid-day conditions when the tide was not moving I have had some trouble with line shadow as well. In fact I much prefer fishing conditions that are low angle for tailers, windy but not ridiculous, or a faster tide flow which gets the fish too excited to care about the little things.
In any case, have a great time Dave! Your Monomoy training will come in very handy and you'll be that much better on the cape flats next year as a result of the tropical "off-season training" plan.
Interesting question, and I like to think of it this way;
An 8wt line is probably made for all 8 weight rods, slow, medium, fast, and extra fast actions,
If that's so then they are probably all made for the medium action rods,
Therefore they may not have enough weight for the extra fast rod,
And I don't see the line companys making an 8 1/2 or an 8 3/4, etc. line sizes, so overlining or even underlining a rod makes a lot of sense. I really wish there was a 12 1/2 wt line for Tarpon.
I don't have as much of a problem with the line splashing as I do with the fish seeing the line in the air, the shadow it makes during the cast. And I don't think clear lines help this situation, they both seem to make about the same shadow.
But a very important consideration is in using tropical lines for tropical conditions. The soft coldwater lines I use for Steelhead just won't cut it here in Florida, even during the winter.
Good Luck Dave.
half weight lines
There are some half weight lines. The Rio Saltwater taper 12 weight weighs about half way between a 12 and 13 weight tarpon line.
Although I cannot find it now, I at one time read that the SA Windmaster is about a half line heavier than the SA tarpon
Thanks for the info. I no longer have access to the SA spec sheets and their web site dosen't have the needed details but as I remember there was a concern with the running line breaking strength of the Windmaster?!?
I used the Rio lines a couple of years ago and I liked them, not as well as the SA, but maybe it's time to check them out again this next spring.
Thanks again, Mel
I think that you should probably overline. You need to be able to load your rod as rapidly as possible and often without too much line out. It sounds like you like the feel of overllining to begin with and often the heavier line will be an advantgage in windier situations. Without quite a bit of experience it is difficult to see bones farther than 70 ft, so real long casts aren't usually necessary.
I usually have 9 to 12 ft of leader and try to drop the fly well in front of the fish, so the 'splash' from the flyline shouldn't be an issue. The are sensitive to the shadow, however. Some guides recommend dropping the fly right on top of the fish and I have had this work; the fish bolts but comes right back and grabs the fly.
I haven't fished cold salt water lines but I have tried bone fishing with a cold water bass taper line and it didn't work very well. The air and water temp turned it into a noodle. I have used SA bonefish taper or tarpon taper in a 9 wt, but the RIO bonefish taper in a sand color may be better. Wonderline is quite good as well.
I tried fishing with a Rio line with a clear section at the tip on a recent trip, but the guide found it unacceptable--he could see the fish, but he couldn't see my line, so he had trouble finding the fly in relation to the fish, as well as redirecting my cast if the first one missed. Most of the spooking I've experienced has resulted from the splash of a too-heavy fly in calm conditions--not from line splash or shadow or a leader that's too short. If it's calm and the water is shallow, lead eyes will spook fish--if it's deeper, lead eyes may be necessary to get the fly to the bottom within the count of 3. I don't overline, but I wouldn't think it would be a problem if that's what you want to do. I don't use cold water lines in the tropics; they get too sticky. The line is susceptible to tangling and it doesn't shoot as well either. I prefer SA Mastery Bonefish lines, but have also used Wonderline, Rio and Teeny Flats Taper lines. The Teeny has a shorter, more aggressive taper for quicker loading on casts from 20' to 70', which is where most of the fish are seen. I rarely use leader longer than 9' or smaller than 12 lbs. Bahamas bonefish are not leader shy. You want enough breaking strength to land that rare really big one or to have a chance to survive a run to the mangroves.
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