Jordan Sly is back with another segment of our ‘expert rig’ series of posts, where we give the skinny on how the experts rig up, all the way down to the bitter details. Jordan is our operation’s manager at Andros South and spends a substantial amount of time stalking the flats for hungry bonefish. Here’s his rig of choice!
Jordan Sly’s Bonefish Rig
A setup that can load quick, cast into the wind, and shoot line accurately is a great bonefish rig. Bonefish don’t stop moving, so in order to get the fly in front of it, you need something that can load fast with as few false casts as possible. Wind is almost always a factor here on the flats, so something that can punch through the wind will help tremendously. The final presentation is more important than one might think when hunting these torpedos of the flats. Therefore, a setup that can put your fly gently, but more importantly, accurately in front of the fish is key.
Casting to fish is only half the battle however, and once a fish is hooked, that’s when a good reel comes into play.. and hopefully your knots hold because you are going to see your backing..
- 200 yards of orange 30 pound Dacron tied to the spool with an arbor knot.
- Bimini twist in the fly line end of the backing with a drop of Loon’s UV Knot Sense to create a loop.
- Fly line attached to the backing with a loop-to-loop connection.
- Leader is RIO’s 9 foot 16 pound Fluoroflex Saltwater Tapered leader, attached the the fly line using factory loops.
- My fly of choice is an unnamed, sand colored, shrimp pattern that I tie with medium dumbell eyes on a size 2 saltwater hook.
- “The first thing I know people are going to comment on is using a 7WT for bonefish instead of the standard 8WT. Yeah, it is light, but mainly in the hand. Anyone that has cast this thing knows it casts more like an 8WT than a true 7WT. It’s super fast, tracks amazingly, and so light it feels like a 5WT or 6WT when holding it. It has enough backbone to punch into the wind, and when over-loaded with a line size heavier, it loads quick and at short distances.”
- “I feel like the RIO 8WT Quickshooter and the Sage Method 790-4 were made for each other. It’s a dream setup to cast. The short, yet heavy, 35 foot head on the Quickshooter loads the Method great, and with one, maybe two false casts if a change in direction is needed, can shoot into the backing as long as a strong wind is not in your face. I have only found two downsides with this setup.. One of them is when trying to pick up the line after a cast over 50 feet is made. The running line is so thin that it cannot load the rod unless it is stripped almost entirely back to where the head of the line is just outside the tiptop. The other downside to this setup occurs when trying to carry more than 40 feet of line outside of the tiptop during false casts. The easy solution to both of these problems is to shoot quick and accurately. That way, you won’t need to re-cast, and it is best not to waste time on multiple false casts anyway!”
- “I love a really stiff leader when fishing for bones. I feel it helps turn the fly over in really windy conditions, and keeps shape better in warm temperatures. Because of this, I prefer to use RIO’s Fluoroflex or Alloy Hard Mono. I really like RIO’s 9ft 16 pound fluoro leaders, because they are fairly stiff and have a small diameter relative to strength. On South Andros however, using fluorocarbon is not necessary. I often use sections of RIO Alloy Hard Mono, tied together with blood knots, tapered down to about 12 pound tippet. Our bonefish don’t seem to be leader shy here on South Andros, so I would stop at 16 pound Hard Mono, but the diameter is hard to work with and doesn’t knots as well when attaching to the fly. I feel the diameter, stiffness, and strength combination of the 16 pound fluoro to be just right.”
- “As far as my fly of choice, I have not named this fly, but it is kind of similar to Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp with a little larger profile. I normally tie it on a Gamakatsu SS15 size 2 Saltwater Hook, but Daiichi 2546 saltwater hooks also work great. I use 6/0 UNI-Thread in fire orange, medium black bead chain eyes tied in near the eye of the hook. I then use tan colored extra select craft fur as the tail, and as dubbing for the body. A tuff of fire orange rabbit fur tied in under the tail as a “egg sack” or “hot butt.” Two strands of black flashabou tied over the top of the tail as antenna. Two groups of two rootbeer colored rubber legs tied in on each side of the fly. A tan colored rabbit strip underwing, followed by a tan colored craft fur underwing, and finished off with a couple strands of root beer colored crystal flash in the tail and underwing.”