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Downsize Your Rod for Spooky Bonefish

Posted on November 23 2015

Fly fishing for spooky bonefish by Kyle Shea
This was a 7-weight day.. Photo: Kyle Shea. 

It’s generally accepted that when fly fishing for bonefish, a standard 8-weight rod is the most versatile weapon of choice. Under most conditions, an 8-weight offers the best of both worlds – the back bone to turn over clunky flies in windy conditions AND the finesse to present a fly somewhat delicately to bones cruising in skinny water.

Alongside their trusty 8-weight, many of our guests at Andros South also like to rig up a spare 9-weight rod for a little more ‘oomph’ when the wind kicks up. It’s no secret that it can be a little breezy on the flats, and for most casters, bringing along a stouter stick is a good idea.

However, while most folks prepare for the days when the wind is howling, few prepare for those rare days when the wind is down and the water is glassy-calm. During these times, bonefish can be extremely spooky, requiring the most delicate presentation possible. Couple that with difficult light conditions and you’re stuck with the challenge of presenting a fly to weary fish at medium-short distances, making for some of the most challenging days on the flats. For these situations, dropping down a rod size can make all the difference.

Most saltwater fly rods today are available in 7 and even 6 weight models, and although they’re not typically looked at as your run of the mill bonefish rod, these lighter rods can be a valuable tool under the right conditions.

Could you get by with your 8-weight alone? Of course you could! But on those rare days when the wind dies out and the fish get finicky, a lighter rod just might save the day. Plus, it’s a good excuse to pick up a new toy.

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