Fly rod weight for Bonefish???

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by H2O, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. H2O

    H2O From Parts Unknown

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    Greetings,

    I am planning a trip to the Virgin Islands at the end of the year. From the little research I have done, everything points to a 9', 7 weight for Bonefish.

    I prefer lighter rods, so would a fast action 6 weight or 5 weight suffice? Any input is appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Jordan Simpson

    Jordan Simpson Active Member

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    I would not go with a 5wt at all for bonefish. A 5wt wouldn't have enough backbone to aid in the fight to get the fish to hand quickly to be released. You can land a bonefish on a 5wt, but it would take a toll on the fish itself. A 7wt is the lightest I'd go, as it's not just the ability to steer and fight a fish, but to be able to punch out the sometimes (but not always) necessary long casts that can also be accompanied by a bit of wind (either head, tail, or cross). Most people might recommend (my self included) an 8wt (helps also in the case you come across other species like permit and the sort).
    Have fun- they are definitely a fish you will never forget.

    Cheers.
     
  3. Steve Birrer

    Steve Birrer Member

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    I agree...especially for a first time bonefish trip....at least a 7 wt. The bonefish where you are going will be on the smallish side and you will probably be throwing smaller flies so a 7 would be ok. But I would suggest a 8 wt for a couple of reasons.

    1. Its saltwater and chances are the wind will be blowing.
    2. A 8wt is a great rod for lots of other fish...redfish, small to mid sized stripers, blues, etc.

    Good luck, you will have a blast.
     
  4. Bob Balder

    Bob Balder Willing to learn anything...

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    I concur, a 7 wt. is marginal at best, a 5 or 6, in my view, out of the questiion.
    #1 It is pretty tough to "stop" a bonefish without snapping him off and when that guy does stop and is 150' into your backing it is imperative to get line back and that takes a rod with back bone.

    #2 My experience has been that when hooked, these guys like to get to deeper water, especially on the second run. If you are on a flat where there is deep water on the edges bone fish will go over the edge and that edge is generally coral. As your line goes over the edge there is an excellent chance that the line, backing or leader is going to take a serious beating. I have no idea how many fly shops there are in the Virgin Islands but it may be tough to replace a fly line. An 8 wt. will greatly enhance your chances of keeping that fish from going over the "edge.

    #3 It would be very hard on the fish for an extended battle on a 5 or 6 wt.


    #4 The wind, experience tells me that when you shell out a bunch of dollars to be standing on a flat to catch bone fish and the wind begins to blow, you will REALLY be glad to be waving around a fast action 8 wt.

    Get geared up right, you will have an absolute blast with these guys. You do not have to go lite to enjoy a bonefish, they will get your blood pumping pretty damn fast.

    Just my two pennies..

    Have a great time!!
     
  5. John Dougher

    John Dougher Member

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    8# travel rod
    All of the above reasons and a heavier rod will give you more distance in casting.
    It's a bummer when you see a fin just out of range...
     
  6. ribka

    ribka Active Member

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    Fast action, 4 piece 8 weight minimum. Would be surprised what 3 -5 lb bone will do with an 8 wt. I was the first time
    Might run into a jack, a large cuda, tarpon.

    Plus you have the winds to deal with.
     
  7. mr. bad example

    mr. bad example Member

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    i disagree up to a point.........it depends on the size of the fish. if your fishing in mexico or belize and fishing to schooling bones they are for the most part small as in 3 lbs. or a lot less.......a 5/6 wt. rod is obviusly way more interesting rod to fight these fish with.i've caught and released hundreds of these this way over the years. i haven't bonefished in the v.i. and if you did a little research you would certainly get an idea of what the average size bonefish is. take an 8 and a stiff 5/6....you'll need a back up rod anyway.
     
  8. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    A 6wt would be fine providing there is no wind and the bones aren't big. However, if there is wind, and there almost always is, then an 8wt over-lined is very helpful. In addition, you never know when you might be a shot at a permit and, believe me, you do not want to be holding a 6 or 7 wt when you hook one of those things. Be sure to take at least two rods, too. If you are going that far you want to be ready for anything including the "worst". If you are going to be using a guide check and see which patterns they recommend and buy them stateside, you'll save a bunch of money.

    Good luck on your trip and be sure to post a report.
     
  9. Steve Birrer

    Steve Birrer Member

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    If you get a 6wt as a backup make sure its the saltwater version with a small fighting butt. Much better than a standard freshwater rod. St. Croix Ultras and Sage Xi3 are both very nice 6 wts. I have one of each and love them.
     
  10. Jay Burman

    Jay Burman Experienced Ne'r do well and Layabout.

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    8 wt is the best. Bonefish are very powerful and the flies are somewhat heavy and the wind is usually blowing. You can get by with lighter tackle but but it's not ideal.
     
  11. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    Concise and accurate.

    Though you can do fine with a fast 6 weight in certain conditions, an eight weight is the quintessential bonefish rod; it hits the sweet spot for so many reasons and needs.

    A fast 7 weight would be fine for this specific trip and intended use, and if you have one already, I'd use that rod and not worry about getting another rod just for this trip. You'd be wise to upline the rod with an 8 weight line, anyway, so you are in essence fishing an 8 weight.

    Make sure your line is high quality. You can skimp on the rod, IMHO, and even a Pflueger Medalist reel would work fine, but in these conditions the line is a huge factor contributing to your success. Just my opinion . . .
     
  12. Loren Jensen

    Loren Jensen Active Member

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    Listen to Denny ^
     
  13. Jim Darden

    Jim Darden Active Member

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    I concur with the 8wt, maybe even overline it. You can be casting #2 flys with heavy eyes and it is just more pleasant with a heavier line. Even a whimpy 12" Mayan bone can pop a 12 lb tippet. Don't go undergunned and I think you will be happy. You can probably fight a 100lb tarppon to the boat with a 5 wt but you will never get closer than 30 ft. without some backbone in the rod. It just makes your life more miserable to try and use super light tackle for warm salt water fish.
     

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