My Favorite Bonefish Reel

10 comments / Posted on / by

Bigger is Better Photo by Louis Cahill

Best of all it only cost $285

I remember standing on the beach at Andros South watching my buddy Bruce Chard teaching his annual bonefish school. Bruce was illustrating for a first timer what he should expect when he encountered a bonefish. He held the line and let the student feel how hard he should strip set, then he took off running down the beach a fast as he could. The student did a good job of clearing the line and getting Bruce on the reel but I’ll never forget the look on his face when Bruce turned and ran straight back toward him. He stood slack jawed, line piled up at his feet while Bruce and I laughed.

That’s exactly what a bonefish will do to you. They can swim thirty miles per hour and at some point, as they go ballistic and criss cross the flat they’ll head straight for you. You had better be ready to pick up some line in a hurry. The first time it happened to me I struggled. My reel wouldn’t pick up the line and I resorted to stripping it in by hand. My guide told me to, “get rid of that trout reel.” Of course, it wasn’t a trout reel but it clearly wasn’t a bonefish reel either.

The next time I went bonefishing I had to be better prepared. I knew I needed a reel with a really large arbor but didn’t relish the idea of dropping the cash on another new bonefish reel. Fortunately there was another solution. I had a Nautilus NV Ten-Eleven, a great salt water reel. I bought the Nautilus G-8 spool for it. The G stands for Giga. This spool turned my Ten-Eleven into a super large arbor eight.

It’s a brilliant product. The spool is fast and easy to change and really gives the reel some power to pick up line with it’s 4.25″ arbor. It’s highly vented so the line dries quickly, which cuts way down on the chance that you spool will corrode from holding wet line. It’s light (7.2 oz) and holds 225 yards of 30 lb backing with an eight weight line. It lets me take advantage of the awesome Nautilus drag and cuts down on line memory so less tangling on the deck. Best of all it only cost $285. Of course you can buy the reel with the G-8 spool for $670 and it’s worth it. It’s quickly become my favorite reel and I’ve had no trouble out of those bonefish since.

Don’t forget to soak you reel photo by Louis Cahill

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

10 thoughts on “My Favorite Bonefish Reel

  1. Gee, my Okuma SLV-1011 holds 300 yards of #50 GSP and a Orvis 125ft WF-10F Spey line and there’s about a 1/4″ of room left on the spool for more backing. It only cost $60.

    • NYCflyangler,

      How many bonefish trips to the corrosive saltwater will it take before that reel seizes up? 1? Will that drag blow out on a big bonefish that rips off 125 yards of backing in about 5 seconds? Probably. That is a good deal on that reel though for $50, I’ll give you that. Glad you chimed in. We had not heard from you in a while. Hope all is well.


      • Okuma is a large Japanese machine tool manufacturing company. Their main business is CNC lathes, milling machines and CNC grinders. They’ve been in business since 1898.

        In their fishing equipment business they also make big game rod and reels for tuna, marlin, sailfish and shark.

        They’re certainly capable of engineering and building a decent fly reel.

        • Yes, I know who Okuma is. They are most popular in conventional fishing gear. My main concern is that it costs $50-60. If its as good as your saying, capable of handling the most corrosive salt waters, it would make since they would be charging more. Just a red flag thats all. Also, I am not saying they can’t make a quality fly reel, just saying this might not be the exact model you want to depend on, fishing for a week in the salt. A backup reel probably would not be a bad idea.


          • Typical American consumer… Just because something is cheaper in price doesn’t mean it poor quality or won’t work for the job! You should not use the price point as an argument, you can talk about the fact that it’s cast, or it doesn’t have an enclosed drag system, but ‘it’s too cheap to be good’ isn’t a valid argument…

  2. What is the significance of soaking reels in a cooler? Does that help with the performance of the line, etc? Is it something you suggest doing in any warmer climate? What about one that is very humid? Any tips?


    • LOL! The significance of the cooler is just that I always have one on hand for the beer. Water at any temp works just to get the salt out of the reel to stop corrosion. I sometimes take the gear in the shower with me and wash it all with soap, even stripping the line out in the shower floor. That’s good to do at the end of the trip but you may run out of hot water.

      • Yup, I used to fish on saltwater almost every day, in season, and the hose/shower is your best friend. A well made reel may be more important than your rod. I wouldn’t want a jammed reel on a great fish, or on the first fish of the day. Instant Bummer…

  3. Pingback: Picking the Perfect Bonefish Reel and Converting Others for Double Duty | MidCurrent

  4. I own an NV-G8/9 with 2 spare spools and it is an awesome reel. I have used it extensively for bonefish without a single issue. I try to buy all American made products and am proud to own a Nautilus. I recently purchased a CCF-X2 in 10/12 weight for small tarpon and permit on a 10 wt and can’t wait to use it on my next trip to the Bahamas. I have used Abels, Ross and Loop and they are all good reels but love the sealed drag and ease of maintenance on my Nautilus reels and now use these exclusively for saltwater fishing. I highly recommend Nautilus reels. One note, my NV G9/10 is slightly heavier than the published 7.2 oz and went to Hatch PE 68# backing to get 240 yards on it. I now use Hatch PE on all my saltwater outfits and it is fantastic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...