Travel Log: Andros (Pt. II)
April 26, 2005
A few notes about Andros bonefishing. If you’re after the big girls, forget light tippets and #8, weightless flies. Standard gear for big bones here is a 9-weight rigged with 9 foot, 16-20 pound leaders and #2 forged saltwater hooks, double strength preferred. (I straightened two #4 stainless Mustad 34007’s  on smaller fish—fish under 6 pounds—and the big fish there are serious.)
And by big fish I mean big. Charlie said the biggest caught from his boat was 43 inches long, to the fork! About the only thing I can say to that is no $#!t? I personally saw fish there that looked more like baby tarpon than bones. How big? Well, bones are one of the few fish that look smaller in the water than out, they seem to bend light around them somehow. A 6 pound bone can appear half that size before you hook it. Hook one of the real trophies and you’d better have strong hooks, heavy tippet, and plenty of backing. A strong guide to pole after the fish helps too.
The standard fly is a big rangy Clouser tied with heavy lead eyes in Gotcha colors: white belly, tan wing, pink thread and plenty of gold flash. They’re simple to tie and deadly on big bones, and anglers. Have one of these suckers nail you in the back of the head on a windy day and they’ll be flying you back to Miami, Med-E-Vac style. So, keep those casts low and to the side, well away from the old noggin. It’s either that or a helmet… which I think just looks silly.
1 You’d be surprised how big of a deal hook selection is when dealing with bonefish. The venerable 34007 stainless steel saltwater hook from Mustad has been one of the mainstays for fly-tiers for years because of 2 simple facts: 1) corrosion resistance and 2) price. But let’s be honest, they’re cheap hooks. The temper is soft, the barb is way too big, and the points often need sharpening before you can fish them. On this trip we fell back on the more expensive Mustad Signature Saltwater Big Game Light hooks, in #2. With 16-lb tippet and drags cranked down we were able to subdue double-digit bones and not worry about the hooks at all. In fact, the materials on our flies—eyes, wing-material, thread—were regularly stripped clean off the hook or so badly mangled that we had to retie. But, back at the lodge I’d clean the remains off and tie another Gotcha Clouser on the same scarred, beat-up hook. No worries. Furthermore, years after this trip I got an email asking about full-proof hooks for monster bones. He was headed to a little place called Aitutaki and was worried about bent or broken hooks on the monster bones they have there. Good worry. Well, I recommended Mustad Big Game Lights and he sent this pic and the following report: “I took your advice on those hooks and was glad I did. I heard of two hook failures while I was on Aitutaki. One on the 34007 (bent) and one on a Tiemco (broke). [The Big Games Lights are] solid hooks for sure.” [back]