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Does anyone have experience using a doublehander wade fishing for bonefish? If so, how did you enjoy the experience as compared to a 9' single-hander? It seems to me a Sage 5120 would be a great tool for bones if you could live with the line management issues while wading and could get close enough to the fish for the release at the end of the fight.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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After working extensively with two-handers in saltwater conditions for over a decade I've become (admittedly) opinionated. I will spare you from any hardline statements but to summarize there is good and bad in two-handed flats fishing IMHO.

Although two-handers are a staple in my striped bass fishing whether on flats or surf, I fished many days for bones in the Bahamas and eventually concluded that a single hander's more suitable especially when compared to 15 ft lengths mentioned above.

When visibility is poor, shots are short and quick. A long rod makes the close game cumbersome. What could be more frustrating than a cumbersome short game in bonefishing?

When visibility is very good, distance buys you more good shots. However in sight fishing for bones rarely does this distance exceed what a capable single-hander can reach for bonefishing.

Stripers on the other hand... are several times larger than bonefish and in migration mode can be as black-backed as coal. We use stripping baskets to hold large amounts of slack line while walking. This means casting 120ft to visible schools on a Cape Cod flat is feasible, in fact productive and fun. Wind is a real factor on the beach, and casting over the opposite shoulder is a piece of cake with a twohander, and you don't have to turn your back to the surf (a big mistake). The ability to throw high grains effortlessly all day is a distinct advantage. I could go on and on :lildevl:

Bonefish are as ghostly a fish as exists, except maybe for flounder or some legged fish in the Sargasso sea. They are mirages on a chalky flat and most shots are tight and require a quick reaction. In between shots the line should be kept at the ready, which is not as easy without a stripping basket.

I still bring two-handers I designed specifically for SWFF along for jacks, cuda, and someday trevally and roosterfish. But for the grey ghosts I opt for the single hand weapon, your results may vary.
 

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Its a bit of a stretch here. But I use my T&T 1107 for carp on the flats here in West MI alot. Laugh if you will but carp can be pretty spooky prey, the long casts, overhead, or a quick snap/spey can get be a big plus.

Starting next winter I have a place to stay in the keys and plan to take both My T&T 1107 and my LGL9116 with me when I go.
 

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Or

Meiser 11'7" 5/6. You can single hand nicely or overhead to 100' plus. It also spey casts nicely. If I ever go for bonefish, this will be one of the rods that goes.
 

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well it's not for bonefish but i use a two hander all the time for redfish, speckled trout and the like. when blind casting the extra distance seems to help. i've never had a particular problem when sight casting at relatively close range but we are mostly stalking instead of just waiting for fish to appear. i do notice that sometimes fish that i don't see will spook from the shadow of the line. when this happens i switch to clear lines too bad they don't make them in spey lines but one works with what one has.
 

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The Monic Tropical Phantom Tips are ideal for two handed over head applications....As good as the Rio Outbounds, only they are totally suitable for tropical water applications.

Search: Monic Fly Lines <> Boulder, Colorado

We refer our two handed Tropo salt water clients to them all the time, and have always gotten kudos back for these lines.

Meiz
 

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tropical spey lines

Thank you Bob -- that answered a question this newbie had.
And while Juro raise some good points about flats fishing with a two-hander, I find myself limited to using 2-handed rods over a certain weight because they are easier for someone with a bad back and neck to cast a reasonable distance. Single handed rods just beat me to death and shortened my time on the water.
Joe
 

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Hey Gunner,

Yep two hands can be an asset in many regards for the salt.

The ease in which one can acheive distance is I think one of the most logical reasons to have them in the quiver, especially if the single hand double haul has become a physical burdon in one form or another.

Distance is always good, regardless of how far the delivery....But ease of distance is better.

Slyfox,

We do build quite a few light 10'6" switch rods for the Bone, Snook and Permit guys every season.

5/6 or 6/7 wt for the Bones, and 6/7 or 7/8 for the Snook, Permit, and baby Tarpon.....The 7/8 wt. mostly to beat the wind.

No complaints so far, in fact all my anglers seem to love em.....Both for flats wading and for shooting from the deck.

My wife and I like to use the switchers for Bones and Permit in the Yucatan.

We self guide the Boca Piala Flats just east of Tulum, and hunt Permit in the shallow bays down the Boca Piala Isthmus on the ocean side....A really beautiful place....};^)...!!!!

All my anglers have found the 10'6" single/two handers to be very sweet and functional tools for this application: Light, quick, and powerful.....And landing the fish is not a problem.

The Monic Phantoms work great on these rods in Tropical waters for both single and two handed deliveries.

Meiz
 

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I fish the flats for bonefish a good bit and have for many years. With all due respect IMO the double handed rod is a complete waste of time in the wading bonefish situation. Infactthe two hander is counter productive to catching bones, and unless you want to jsut spey cast or use the two hander in warm water, it is better left at home. Learn to cast quickly and on target a single hander 6 weight with 15 plus feet of leader and you will catch far more shallow water bonefish than with any other set-up. You could have some fun (and I have..once...)casting a head with a two hander in to mudding fish in deep water. But you might as well be crappie fishing with it....
 

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Gunner said:
Thank you Bob -- that answered a question this newbie had.
And while Juro raise some good points about flats fishing with a two-hander, I find myself limited to using 2-handed rods over a certain weight because they are easier for someone with a bad back and neck to cast a reasonable distance. Single handed rods just beat me to death and shortened my time on the water.
Joe
Joe -

That makes perfect sense, and is a great reason to go two-handed on the flats. I've single-handed cast twice as long as I've two-handed cast yet I still feel much better after a long day working the long rod than with the single hander.

Some have felt the long rod beats them up, but this is only before the caster learns to work in concert with the rod's inherent power, usually during the learning curve. The impact on the body is dramatically reduced once the efficiency in two-handed casting is discovered.

I do agree with Bee that all things being equal there needs to be some rationalization going on to want to use a two-hander on a tropical flat for bonefish IMHO (and I am a big fan of two-handed rods in salt), but this a very good reason to give up response in the short game.
 

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Ahh come on Juro this was just getting fun <>

Just for the sake of friendly debate, and also kinda curious:

Why do you think a snappy little 20 gram lined 5/6 wt switcher type rod (say 4 oz in hand weight ) would not be suitable for the Bone flats ?

Meiz
 

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Robert Meiser said:
Ahh come on Juro this was just getting fun <>

Just for the sake of friendly debate, and also kinda curious:

Why do you think a snappy little 20 gram lined 5/6 wt switcher type rod (say 4 oz in hand weight ) would not be suitable for the Bone flats ?

Meiz
Hey Bob -

Hope the holiday season is best ever for you!

As posted above I religiously use a two-hander on the northern flats and love it. On tropical flats, I found that on bright days when the sighting was good you could take advantage of the easy long shots with the two hander provided it was like your sweet switcher, a fine tool for the task indeed. In fact I can't wait to own one.

Another aspect of the long rod was the ability to hold the line up out of the marl better than a single hander. At long distances that angle is diminished and less of a factor but certainly as the turbo tails of a hooked bone gets going it's a plus.

Your 5/6 switcher sounds perfect - they sure aren't overkill even in a 9wt... if you find big fish. We snuck onto a flat in Exuma after the guides headed back to P&P just as the tide started to roil up hordes of tails in skinny water. I hooked a bone that ran 12# or more and it was all I could do to hold it on the 11ft 9/10wt two-hander. The smallest I hooked that eve was 6# and it was not overpowered. I ended up losing the fish to a popped tippet on the umpteeth lighting run, line foaming up in the reel from such vicious speed and acceleration. I've since replaced all my saltwater reels with Danielsson reels to prevent such problems in the future.

But when the light is lower or the wind puts a chop on the water the fish aren't usually seen until they are jammin' your legs and the short game is critical to success. Here's where casting with two hands just doesn't have the quick-draw speed, and the extra butt length and rod length slows down reaction speed and fine-tuned agility. Two-handed rods typically load with a more specific length and grain range than a single handed rod, and that means it takes longer to make the cast work from the split-second that fish appears to the nanosecond it takes off in flight.

The short game makes the heart pound like nothing else, it's a huge part of the experience for me.

While teaching I use a lot of metaphors so here's one I think fits...

Picture a wild west showdown at high noon. Two varmints face to face waiting for the steeple clock to click 12 high. One guy has a hand up ready to grab the six-shooter, the other a rifle in a leg holster...

Earlier that same day the rifle-slingin' honcho shot an antelope on the plains at 300 yards for practice, while the six-gunner plinked cans on a fence. Back to the present... >click< BANG - different situation. Even with a 'sawed off' version he'd not win that contest.

Now this is clearly an exaggeration, and I think the use of the stripping basket on striper flats, the visibility and more frequent long casting situations, and size of the fish makes a switcher perfect for northern flats. When the vis gets too low the blind casting distance advantage and ability to fare better in surf is well worth it. However these situations aren't really common to tropical flats.

On a related note bringing a big two-hander for the bad boys on the reef is a good approach - like trevally, rooster, jacks, etc. for a multitude of reasons. However this stick would be a whole different animal than the one we'd bring onto a flat.

These are just my opinions, results and preferences may vary. Certainly there are those who will find true bliss out there with a switch rod as I do on the northern flats. Maybe it's just a stripping basket issue.
 

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I have a scary statement...this morning I was thinking about this discussion and the exact image of a quick draw gunfight came to mind , the image on a long rod in a holster is exactly what I was thought of as an analogy.......juro is precisely correct imo ...
 

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Some of this is us, and our want for speed... a relaxed underhand flick would probably do just fine, if we could keep our socks from rolling up and down as the vee wake of beating dorsals bears down on us at teeth-grinding speed. A lot of this is just our own security blanket of feeling the short wand cut thru the air with half the line needed, slipping the rest in a game where split seconds don't so much count to the fish as they do to us.

God I need a bonefish fix bad.
 

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Yea baby now we're talking...This is getting fun.

I agree <> There really are very few things more exciting in anticipation then looking over a broad expanse of flats just chuck full of Bone pods scattered about.

And if a guys' got all day Robin Egg blue skys and glassy flats: Stalking, and leading the pods, or shotgunning individual larger fish is one of the finest fishing experiences to be had anywhere with a light single hander.

No doubt <> The 9' stick is ideal for this close in detailing...And probably the better tool.

But things can change on the flats real quick: From glassy morning calm, to 11:00 AM nervous water .... To 3:00 PM full chop <> And this on a good day.

...Or you can get just plain stuck for days on end of your flats fishing vacation with gusty winds, or at best only sporatic sun to illuminate the flats caused by quickly scutting clouds.

When the clouds and chop minimize the windows, a guy can go to the down wind side of the mangrove islands and hunt and pick the narrow windows of glassy water along their edges for indidvidual fish..... This works <> But this is pretty limiting, and I think kinda boring.

Or one can try to spot the mudding tails of the larger pods out in the ruff... But they don't always do this.

...And I'm sure you guys have seen all this, so I ain't telling ya nothing new here...};^)...!!!

Anyways.....When I find things getting tuff on the flats with sporatic sun windows and a choppy top, I just kinda kick back, make a stand next to a mangrove clump, and play a wait and watch game <> Checking out all the water in my down wind horizon with the sun at my back.

With the sun at my back, the sporatic sunny windows can for just a moment often reveal the fish pods in a big picture....With sometimes several pods coming into view for a moment or two all at once.

It gets real tuff to stalk the individual fish in these circumstances on the open flats, or you can blind cast.

But the sited pods can be lead with a fly if you can get a head of them by anticipating their feeding path.

In this case, I try to pick out the nearest pod; make a good guess of their route....Run the flats to lead them, then hunker down low and wait.

Again, I'll always try to do this by positioning myself on the flats in such a way that the sun and wind are at my back.

I'll generally not get closer then 60 to 70 feet of these fish......

But with the wind at my back, I can actually use it to my advantage to acheive a greater distance with a very lofty two handed delivery; power cast diagonally into the up stream wind: Allowing the wind to carry the line towards the down wind pod <> Then with the tip of the 10'6" rod, direct a slow decsent and allow Mr. Charlie to soft land in front of the moving pod without spooking them.

No back casting, and no trying to power double haul low under the wind....

Rather <> Using a quick two handed overhead snap shot, allowing the shooting head to be carried by the wind into the bucket.

A well balanced clear line shooting head like the Monics will do this very well with a light weight 5/6 wt two hander.

Even with total clouds and tuff chop, a pod of Bones can be spotted fairly easily because they will push a very sparce tell-tail bulge of water in front of them.

You can't actually see the fish for the lack of sun and present chop, but you know they're there because of that little bulge on the waters' surface right in front of them gives away there location, and more importantly: the direction their heading.

Kinda hard to pick this out, as it is a very subtle different top water image from all the water around....But the bulge is often moving against the top water grain, so looks unatural to the normal chop.

I'll lead and hunt these pods the same way: Utilizing the wind as an asset with my switcher in two handed mode, using a quick powerful lofty shot into the upstream wind, and a soft descent in front of the pod.

It's amazing how far you can actually reach doing this, with absolute minimal effort; and with paractice you can get ole Crazy Charlie to alight with pin point accuracy, and only a whisper on the water.

No doubt this could be done with a single hand double haul and a 9' 6/7 ~ 7/8 because I used to do this way.

But like you said Bee: You simply gotta want to use a two handed rod on the Bone flats...

Call me crazy, but I guess I'm one of those guys and sure have a heck of a lot of fun doing it....};^)...!!!

Meiz
 

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I guess it goes without saying that there are bonefish and then there are prick bonefish. The ones that have been hammered daily in popular spots probabaly would bolt at 60 feet of line hitting the water in any conditions. The innocent , however, might just keep coming on the same path with 80 feet of line hitting the water. In other words, there are places where the flash /shadow of a lot of line in the air, or the flash/shadow of a long rod or the spalsh/impact of a lot of line hittng the water would not impact the ability to take a bonefish. Those places must exist somewhere . I have not fished many of those since the early 80's when the world seemed to to discovered bonefishing with a fly. fun discussion though....
 

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Getting back to slyfox’s original post, you mention using the Sage 5120 on the flats. While this is one of my favorite light 2 handed rods for summer run steelhead, I think it would make a rather poor flats rod. It has a very slow action making it rather cumbersome for overhead casting and it handles the wind very poorly. I would think you would want something a bit faster, like the overhead jobs Juro developed for striper fishing for CND. Keep in mind that is just my opinion based on my casting style and personal preferences.

Charlie.
 

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Bee,

The Boca Piala ithmus East of Tulum is part of the Sian Kahn World Wilderness Preserve, so it is protected from commercial fishing, and gamefish will be released by sportsmen.

Need to go through a check point to get in.

The Poca Piala Lodge does try to hold claim to the Poca Piala flats at times....

<> But with experiance or good instruction...The adventureous angler can find the right walk-ins onto the flats along it's entire length to self guide.

Been doing it for years.

Very seldom ever see anyone.

The Bones are small but plentiful, most ain't pricks <> Permit are the bonus, and wading the Mangrove channels will produce Snook.

An inflatable Yak and some bi-noks will come in handy for the Permit.

We're planing on going there this Spring again, but I fear for the damage that Katrina may have caused....Sure is a nice place, hope it survived.

....The long distance shots to lead the traveling pods as described are done over chop top / covered sun or both, so the Bones are not often spooked by the line. That's why it works most of the time.

Bright skys and glassy top is definitly another story.

PM me if you wish

Meiz
 
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