George Cook recently spent some time with us beating up on bonefish at Andros South. George is the Northwest manufacturer’s rep for Sage, Redington, and RIO along with many other great brands. He’s fished all over the world and has probably forgotten more about rigging up for just about everything that swims than most of us will learn in a lifetime.
He usually rigs up more rods than the rest of our guests combined, but when the money’s on the table, here’s his bonefish rig of choice.
- Sage SALT 890-4 Rod
- Sage Domain 8 Reel
- RIO 8 wt. General Purpose Tropical Floating Fly Line
- 25 yards of 20 lb. Dacron tied to the spool with an arbor knot (yes, only 25 yards).
- 150 yards of 50 lb. Gel Spun backing connected to Dacron using a double uni knot.
- 25 yards of 20 lb. Dacron (yes, again) connected to Gel Spun backing using a double uni knot.
- Loop created in the fly line end of backing using a perfection loop.
- Backing connected to fly line via loop to loop connection.
- 10.5 foot leader constructed from, 9 foot, 16 pound RIO Bonefish Leader (see details below) attached to fly line via loop to loop connection.
- For a fly of choice, I’m currently super hot on a new pattern called Shea’s Bonefish Buttah’.
- “I like the SALT rod because it’s proven to be a wonderful tool in the bonefish theater both near and far. It’s great for close casts which so many of these fish are hooked at, but you can still punch it out there when needed.”
- “The General Purpose Tropical Taper is an extremely overlooked line. A lot of people hear ‘general purpose’ and think ‘well I’m not doing a general purpose trip, and think maybe a bonefish line might be THE bonefish line,’ whereas this line with a 40 foot taper is truly a universal line for casters of all levels.”
- “The Domain reel is new at Sage. It’s a full caged frame which means no line can slip through, which is obviously nice when re-rigging for spey and switch applications as well. It has an extremely smooth drag and a no nonsense design.”
- “My leader of choice is a 10.5 foot leader made from cutting back 1 foot of tippet off of a RIO 9 foot, 16 pound bonefish leader, and attaching approximately 30 inches of 16 pound RIO Fluoroflex with a blood knot. 9 foot leaders are the standard, and many experienced guys like 12 foot leaders for bonefish, but I find 10.5 feet to be a great middle ground. It seems to give a solid turnover, even in the wind”
Tom Provost says
I especially like choice for backing, however I like to add to the bit between the fly line and the 20 lb. Dacron. I like 30 feet of 30 lb Rio Slickshooter to the flyline before the backing. This makes for a more tangle-free arrangement for casts of over 120 feet. The wind can play hell with that Dacron on the bow of the skiff. The stiffer medium of running line makes casts of only 100 feet a breeze!
John MacDiarmid says
Thanks for sharing George Cook’s Bone Fish set up. Why not use a full Fluroflex leader instead of a Nylon leader with a 30″ Fluro tip added?
John MacDiarmid says
Why does George Cook use a nylon leader with an added 30″ piece of Fluroflex instead of a full Fluroflex tapered leader?
Just curious as to the reasoning for why the backing is set up the way it is? Thanks.
Kyle Shea says
George prefers to set up his backing this way because he likes to know ‘where he is’ in relation to how much backing he has to work with while fighting a fish. When he sees the last of the gelspun, he knows it’s time to start putting the wood to ’em. Also, dacron does not ‘bite’ into itself like the thinner gel spun does, so by starting off with 75 feet of dacron, it allows a smoother transition into the tightly wound gel spun. Hope that clarifies Billy, have fun out there!
Gary Davisson says
Kyle, Have you posted your Shea’s Bonefish Buttah’. pattern?