Bonefish Fly Lines: Beyond The Cast

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By Louis Cahill

Does having the right fly line mean catching more fish? Absolutely.

Having the right fly line for the species you’re targeting and the conditions you’re fishing is key for a successful day of fishing. You can buy a line from almost any manufacturer bearing the name ‘Bonefish’ but that doesn’t mean it will be the best line for the day you are on the water. It may do a great job of loading your fast action saltwater fly rod, but not catch you a lot of fish.

When shopping for a fly line, we focus almost completely on how the line casts. Of course it’s important to have a good cast but often it’s too late when we stop to think about how the line we chose fishes, and there are some big differences. This, of course, applies to all types of fishing but is especially pertinent to bonefishing, so I’m using that as an example.

It’s very common these days to see anglers over-line their fly rods. Putting a 9-weight line on an 8-weight rod absolutely makes it easier to load, but that ease of casting may come at a price. I fished recently with an angler who had paired his Sage One 8-weight with a 9-weight RIO Outbound Short. He liked it because it felt like his Winston trout rod. The only problem was, he couldn’t catch a fish.

There are three things wrong with this setup. First, the head diameter on that line is huge! It casts a huge shadow and makes a thunderous racket every time it lands on the water. It spooked every fish on the flat. Secondly, the short head meant that he had to strip the line in completely every time he recast. There’s no time for that in bonefishing. You need a line you can pick up and recast quickly. Lastly, by slowing the action of his rod down to that of a trout rod, my friend had lost all of the benefits of having a fast action rod.

I’ve seen this problem go the other way, too. I tarpon fished with a buddy a while back who had chosen a RIO

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Sunday Classic / Light, Composition and Action

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A technically perfect image is worthless if it doesn’t capture the eye, and the imagination, of the viewer. Unfortunately, most new photographers get so wrapped up in the science of photography that they totally miss the art. There are as many aesthetic choices to be made when shooting a photo as when building a house but a hell of a lot less time to make them. It takes time and experience to master designing a photo on the fly but to help you get started there are three element so crucial to a great photo that they deserve your attention every time you lift the camera. They are: light, composition and action.


Light sets the mood. When you sit down for a romantic dinner do you turn on the overhead fluorescents? No, you light a candle. When the police interrogate a suspect do they do it by candle light? Probably not. Of all the choices you make, light has the biggest impact on the emotional tone of the finished photograph.

You may be thinking, “How is light a choice?” I have been a studio photographer for more years than I like to discuss. In the studio I control my lighting by moving the position of my lights and changing their intensity. Shooting on the river you don’t have that luxury but you do still have choices. You can’t move the sun, but you can

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Saturday Shoutout / Nomadic Amazon

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Watch the Video!

This is a trip which has been on my bucket list for quite some time now.

Peacock bass, way up the Amazon in Brazil, it doesn’t get much better than that. I’m pretty excited to be making this trip later this year with my good buddy Bruce Chard, thanks to Nomadic Waters. Last year Bruce made the trip for the filming of this episode of Seasons On The Fly. It’s a good look at some hot Amazon fishing action.


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Garner’s White Trash Bass Fly

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How about really big bass? Striper fishing rivers in the south during the summer can be off the hook but it can also be challenging. Those big bruisers can get pretty damned selective and you a pattern that will get them moving.

Nobody knows this game better than Garner Reed. Today Garner is going to share a pattern he developed for catching big striped bass and spotted bass on the Etowah River. He calls it Garners White Trash and it gets the job done.

Watch the video and learn to tie this great bass fly.

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Cool Shots at Bonefish

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It’s hard to fly off to an exotic location for a week of fishing without having a goal, or at least some expectations. The first can be dangerous and the second disastrous. Still, one or the other is generally present on a fishing trip and the more the trip costs, the higher they usually are.

I’ll never forget my first bonefishing trip. My expectations were to actually see a bonefish and my goal was to not make a complete ass of myself when I did. (It’s good to have goals, right?) That trip did so much more than exceed my expectations. It was an awakening of sorts and the beginning of a life long obsession.

On subsequent trips I adjusted my goals. I wanted to catch a lot of bonefish. I wanted to catch big bonefish. I wanted to increase my hookup ratio. I wanted to catch bonefish on my own. I wanted to develop my own fly patterns. Eventually I just wanted quality fishing with good friends. One by one, all of those things went in the done column and I kept going bonefishing.

There’s not a thing on that list that I don’t still enjoy doing. Who doesn’t want to catch a lot of fish, or a big fish, or have a great day with a good friend. With the exception of the friend however, they all become less important with time. Most days all I really need is to stand on the bow and glide across a beautiful flat.

So what makes a day of bonefishing exceptional?

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Two Anglers Are Often Better Than One

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By Kent Klewein

You can’t enjoy camaraderie on the water by yourself.

There’s no high-fives, no passing the victory flask around, and worst of all, it’s awfully hard to snap a quality photograph of you and a prized catch. Wait a minute, I take the latter back. It is possible to get a good photo by yourself if you’ve figured out a way to strap a tri-pod to your back and you’re also willing to lug it around all day. That being said, the main reason I think two anglers are often better than one, is because it allows you to work as a team, and that generally makes it much easier to find success on the water.

Louis and I have had pretty consistent success fishing together over the years. Even during really tough fishing conditions we generally find a way to put enough fish in the net during the day to call it a win. The biggest reason for this is because we’re always working together to decipher the fish code. Fishing as a team, we figure out what the fish are feeding on, where they’re primarily located, and what are the hot fly patterns. We make a point to never tie on the same patterns first thing in the morning, and quite often, we don’t even start out fishing in the same water column. This allows us to quickly eliminate what’s not working and adjust our fishing tactics to what is.

It’s a pretty simple concept, more common sense than rocket science, but it works well, and we stick to it. Even in situations where only one of us can fish at a time, like on a flats boat, the non angler will stay

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Hell Razing Cousins

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2 Great Videos!

By Bob Reece

On the whole, leech and crawdad patterns typically land in the medium to large size range in the world of flies. These offerings have proven their worth. However, their vast success in these profiles has led to an oversight on the productivity that they offer in much smaller variations.

Matt McCannel is man of details. The quarry that he frequently pursues with his clients demands the utmost attention. Double digit trout, in pounds, don’t accidentally make their way into your net. Applying tactics that land outside the typical box of thinking help the process of capturing these aquatic unicorns. Matt’s Hell Razor Craw and Leech depart from the norm. They display a small silhouette on a size 12 Tiemco 403 bl jig hook. The dumbbell weighting system in the neck of the jig hook adds the needed weight to get the fly down, while blending into the visual profile of the pattern. Additionally, the construction of these flies results in a highly durable offering that can hold up to a full day of fishing.

Matt runs these offerings under an indicator throughout the majority of the year. Yet, during terrestrial season they make for an outstanding dropper under foam terrestrials. The combo of hopper-crawper, with the Hell Razor Craw, makes for a varied and deadly bank side offering. A quick twitch just after landing gives both flies a burst of life that is often followed by vicious strikes.

As you continue to prepare for another season, take time to think outside the box.

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Men and Their Adventures

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“Cuba is two weeks from today!!! Got to admit I’m a little nervous going where my phone and credit cards don’t work, and taking some ancient helicopter.”

That’s the text I got from my buddy Geoff this morning. He’s had this Cuba trip planned for almost a year but it’s only now sinking in. He’s fished all over the world, and in places a hell of a lot farther than a sixty-mile, ancient helicopter ride from a nice American hospital, but Cuba is an unknown and the unknown is scary.

“You can give my contact info to your wife,” I replied, “I can be there in a couple of hours.”

“Plenty of help here. She just worries.”

“It’s good for them to worry about us once in a while,” I answered.

I think my wife gave up worrying about me a long time ago, but there was a time I scared the living hell out of her. There is something in a man’s soul which needs adventure. Something which requires a bit of risk, the sneaking suspicion that everything might not be alright. Take it away and he becomes something else. A “man” only in description.

All of you women who are firing up your keyboards to tell me how sexist I am should calm down for a second and listen. This has nothing to do with you. I’m not making a judgment or a comparison. I’m talking honestly about what goes on in the head of the male specimen. I can’t tell you what it’s like to be a woman, but I can tell why we men do some of the stupid things we do.

“I didn’t want to tell you about this in the first place,” my mother told me “because I knew you’d do it.”

I was twenty years old and had taken a job, my mother had told me about, photographing archeological sites for the Israeli Department of Antiquities. I landed in Tel Aviv on the first plane to arrive after a bomb threat and unpacked my luggage with two M-16 rifles pointed at my head. I rode a bus to the site of the ancient city of Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. It was April of 1982.

“Everything is fine,” I shouted to my parents through a scratchy phone connection, which had taken the better part of twenty-four hours to make. “That was just a sonic boom.”

“I’ve been to war, son,” my father answered, “I know what a damned bomb sounds like.”

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Sunday Classic / Streamer Fishing – Hands on the Line at All Times

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Streamer fishing is a great way to catch both numbers and trophy class fish, but it doesn’t come without some negatives. One of the biggest negatives with streamer fishing is you don’t always get solid hookups every time a fish eats your streamer. One of the biggest contributors to this is when a fish slams your streamer in between strikes and you’re caught off guard. Sometimes, the timing is so bad there’s nothing you can do about it, while other times, it’s 100% the anglers fault due to lolly-gagging around with their stripping hand.

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Saturday Shoutout / Gone Missing

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What’s the point of even owning a fly rod if no one ever files a missing persons report on you?

Maybe I just love this because I have been that guy. Dry fly season is time for us all to go missing, even if only in our own minds. Who hasn’t pushed the envelope a little? Josh Greenberg, writing for Gates Au Sable Lodge, sums the feeling up perfectly.



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