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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi y'all,

Wanted to hop on and see what you'd suggest for a bit heavier flats setup. Targeting snook in Florida and bonefish in Aitutaki. These are big bonefish, average is in the 6-9 lb range and they've caught record breaking fish here before. Not like fishing them in the FL Keys.

Would an 8' setup be the best bet, longer, shorter?
As far as capacity, I'm thinking 250 yards of 15 lb braid. Would 20 be better off, or am I going to lose too much distance? Thinking 250 yards or as close to it as possible because of those monster bones, not to mention we get some pretty big jacks in Florida too which run.

Rod weight - is 10-20 a good power range here? For lures I mostly fish weighted flukes for snook (1/2 ounce total), and some Mirrolure suspending/topwaters (3/8-3/4 ounce), then bonefish jigs will be mostly 1/4 ounce, some down to 1/8 some up to 1/2 ounce.
So general weight range needs to be good for 1/4-1/2 ounce lures, down to 1/8 at times, up to 3/4 at times.

Interested to hear thoughts on what you'd put together.
Tight lines,
Drew
 

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I have an 8' St Croix Tidemaster in Med/Heavy with a Penn 550 - 20lbs braid spooled and 30-40lbs flouro leader for fishing for BIG snook at the Sebastian Inlet... If I was fishing in-shore and not at the inlet or beach, I would go with a 7' rod in the medium variety... Good luck and post up some pics when you catch em up
 

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My go to for all around inshore is a 3000 stradic FL with just about 200 yards of 15lb braid, and a mojo inshore 7' 8-17lb. This handles 8lb Bonefish and 10lb Snook out on the beach and in the mangroves no problem, even landed a 20lbish jack around a bridge on it. If I were targeting monster snook (15lb+) and bonefish (8lb+) I would up to a 4000 size reel with 20lb braid and a 7' 12-20lb rod. I don't see much use for an 8' for bonefish as any fish you are going to be able to see will be within the limits of a 7' casting distance.
 
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For bonefish (even big'uns) like the one shown here... an 11lb fish on only 6lb mono taken years and years ago....

this was in 1978 within sight of Crandon marina at key Biscayne and very carefully released...

I built rods for a fair number of customers (and still use that exact formula today all these years later...) with the following specs... Graphite popping rod blank, rated for 6-12lb line, 7' long with six single foot guides on the smaller side (biggest only a #25 graduating down to a #8 plus tip top..), #16 Fuji reelseat. The design was specifically meant to be able to toss an unweighted live shrimp at least 60 feet - and standard 1/5oz skimmer jig about twice that distance... The reels we used back then had to hold a minimum of 200 yards of 8lb mono (and we actually spooled them with line as small as 4lb - and as large as 10lb... Years later these same rods, loaded with 10lb braid were perfect for fishing snook and other species up really shallow using either 1/8oz. leadheads with Gulp tails, small Mirrolures (the #17 a favorite...), or soft plastic jerk baits. We used Lamiglass, Loomis, Fisher and others - whatever we could get. These days I'm building with either Rainshadow or PacBay blanks (Loomis quit selling to custom builders after they were bought out by Shimano years ago...and Fisher no longer exists). I haven't built rods for folks for some years now - but still build them for my guiding customers to use on my skiff...

The next rod I'd want does double (and even triple) duty... It's the rod when we're fishing snook with lures, permit with skimmer jigs or live crabs, and tarpon in the 20 to 50lb range... Starting with a seven foot fast action graphite blank rated for 8 to 17lb line, I use seven single foot guides from a size 30 down to a #8 (never, ever smaller ringed guides since leader knots will hang on sizes smaller than a #8... very bad news with a big snook or small tarpon at close quarters... With a #18 reels seat meant for reels in the 4000 series we loaded them with 10 to 12lb line (once again - had to hold a minimum of 200 yards of mono...). All these years later those same rods today hold 20lb braid (Sufix preferred). These are the rods for tossing a crab at a permit, a pilchard or other white bait at big reds or snook - or a bucktail jig in the 1/4 to 3/8oz size range - or a full sized Skitterwalk... We've taken tarpon up to around 60lbs, and snook as big as 20lbs with them... Yet, they're light enough to cast all day long... On my skiff each day I keep two of each - the light and the medium rods (four out of the eight rods total each day for my anglers..). We only switch to heavier gear for either live baiting with baits in the ten to fifteen inch size range (live ladyfish mostly) or when tossing much bigger lures at sharks, tarpon, cobia, etc...

Hope this helps. I know that most don't build their own rods today - but at least if you look at the specs written on a store rod just in front of the foregrip this should provide a starting point...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have an 8' St Croix Tidemaster in Med/Heavy with a Penn 550 - 20lbs braid spooled and 30-40lbs flouro leader for fishing for BIG snook at the Sebastian Inlet... If I was fishing in-shore and not at the inlet or beach, I would go with a 7' rod in the medium variety... Good luck and post up some pics when you catch em up
<------ Agrees
I'll be mostly fishing snook on the beaches and flats, occasionally off the mangroves and docks. I think medium is the way to go, although that term is subjective depending on the blank manufacturer... I think I answered my own question with the lure rating size on that one though.

The big difference here (and Ive never been to Aitutaki) is that Snook are generally fished in heavy cover while bonefish are typically found on open flats. That difference alone has many implications for rod power, capacity, and line rating. May I suggest 2 setups?
Considered 2 setups, but most of my snook fishing will be along the beach. Fish anywhere from like 12" up to overslot, but little to no structure. As far as rod power, I think I sort of answered my own question with the lure ratings I posted up there, will probably go based off of that instead of looking for a specific line class. The snook certainly won't need too much capacity (100 yards should do, 150 much safer, and 200 would be unbeatable except by massive jacks/tarpon), but with the bonefish on Aitutaki I would be much more comfortable with 250 yards.

I've heard from guides here that world record fish have been released on a number of occasions, definitely not a 1-2 lb fishery here as far as the bonefish go.

I have considered adding a second rod specifically for hitting docks/mangroves for snook, though. I don't do it much, but it's always a fun time doing it. Would love to hear what you'd suggest for these applications.

My go to for all around inshore is a 3000 stradic FL with just about 200 yards of 15lb braid, and a mojo inshore 7' 8-17lb. This handles 8lb Bonefish and 10lb Snook out on the beach and in the mangroves no problem, even landed a 20lbish jack around a bridge on it. If I were targeting monster snook (15lb+) and bonefish (8lb+) I would up to a 4000 size reel with 20lb braid and a 7' 12-20lb rod. I don't see much use for an 8' for bonefish as any fish you are going to be able to see will be within the limits of a 7' casting distance.
Very nice, pretty close to what I'm thinking. I will probably go with a 4000 (Daiwa 3000), should hold a stupid amount of 15 lb that will have me set for pretty much anything inshore including larger jacks. The 8' length is more for beach snook, there have been times I've seen groups of overslot just out of reach of a 7'6" 8-15 lb with 10 lb braid.

For bonefish (even big'uns) like the one shown here... an 11lb fish on only 6lb mono taken years and years ago....

this was in 1978 within sight of Crandon marina at key Biscayne and very carefully released...

I built rods for a fair number of customers (and still use that exact formula today all these years later...) with the following specs... Graphite popping rod blank, rated for 6-12lb line, 7' long with six single foot guides on the smaller side (biggest only a #25 graduating down to a #8 plus tip top..), #16 Fuji reelseat. The design was specifically meant to be able to toss an unweighted live shrimp at least 60 feet - and standard 1/5oz skimmer jig about twice that distance... The reels we used back then had to hold a minimum of 200 yards of 8lb mono (and we actually spooled them with line as small as 4lb - and as large as 10lb... Years later these same rods, loaded with 10lb braid were perfect for fishing snook and other species up really shallow using either 1/8oz. leadheads with Gulp tails, small Mirrolures (the #17 a favorite...), or soft plastic jerk baits. We used Lamiglass, Loomis, Fisher and others - whatever we could get. These days I'm building with either Rainshadow or PacBay blanks (Loomis quit selling to custom builders after they were bought out by Shimano years ago...and Fisher no longer exists). I haven't built rods for folks for some years now - but still build them for my guiding customers to use on my skiff...

The next rod I'd want does double (and even triple) duty... It's the rod when we're fishing snook with lures, permit with skimmer jigs or live crabs, and tarpon in the 20 to 50lb range... Starting with a seven foot fast action graphite blank rated for 8 to 17lb line, I use seven single foot guides from a size 30 down to a #8 (never, ever smaller ringed guides since leader knots will hang on sizes smaller than a #8... very bad news with a big snook or small tarpon at close quarters... With a #18 reels seat meant for reels in the 4000 series we loaded them with 10 to 12lb line (once again - had to hold a minimum of 200 yards of mono...). All these years later those same rods today hold 20lb braid (Sufix preferred). These are the rods for tossing a crab at a permit, a pilchard or other white bait - or a bucktail jig in the 1/4 to 3/8oz size range - or a full sized Skitterwalk... We've taken tarpon up to around 60lbs, and snook as big as 20lbs with them... Yet, they're light enough to cast all day long... On my skiff each day I keep two of each - the light and the medium rods (four out of the eight rods total each day for my anglers..). We only switch to heavier gear for either live baiting with baits in the ten to fifteen inch size range (live ladyfish mostly) or when tossing much bigger lures at sharks, tarpon, cobia, etc...

Hope this helps. I know that most don't build their own rods today - but at least if you look at the specs written on a store rod just in front of the foregrip this should provide a starting point...
Very good stuff Bob, appreciate the write-up. Do you find the 7' length sufficient for walking/wading the beach for snook, or would you suggest longer? I primarily fish from the beach, with occasional trips in the boat (the bonefish will be from a boat).

Just out of curiosity - what are the four other setups you typically bring along on your boat?
 

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The only way I'd recommend longer rods is if you were primarily wading... and not just in ankle deep waters...

My bigger sticks? The heaviest on board is a seven foot stump puller rated at 20 to 40lb line - fished with 30lb braid these days on an old Penn 7500ss with an 80lb leader... The next down is a 6' 10" rod rated for 15 to 30lb line (used with 30lb braid these days but I've gone as light as 15lb mono on the Penn 6500SS reel it was specifically designed for. Extra heavy reelseats on each of those two rods.. My next two rods are a pair of seven footers rated for 12 to 25lb line that are fished with 20lb mono - with fairly heavy leaders as well (as heavy as 60lb leaders then as light as 40lb leaders...

By the way are there trevally where you're going - if so consider even a small one as tough as a 15 to 20lb jack crevalle...

Remember that any rod is just a lever - and you're on the wrong end of it...The heavier your gear is -the shorter your rods should be - unless you're on a fishing pier or a drift boat.... At least that's my take on it...
 

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By the way, super jealous, that water and those flats look incredible!
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The only way I'd recommend longer rods is if you were primarily wading... and not just in ankle deep waters...

My bigger sticks? The heaviest on board is a seven foot stump puller rated at 20 to 40lb line - fished with 30lb braid these days on an old Penn 7500ss with an 80lb leader... The next down is a 6' 10" rod rated for 15 to 30lb line (used with 30lb braid these days but I've gone as light as 15lb mono on the Penn 6500SS reel it was specifically designed for. Extra heavy reelseats on each of those two rods.. My next two rods are a pair of seven footers rated for 12 to 25lb line that are fished with 20lb mono - with fairly heavy leaders as well (as heavy as 60lb leaders then as light as 40lb leaders...

By the way are there trevally where you're going - if so consider even a small one as tough as a 15 to 20lb jack crevalle...

Remember that any rod is just a lever - and you're on the wrong end of it...The heavier your gear is -the shorter your rods should be - unless you're on a fishing pier or a drift boat.... At least that's my take on it...
I am not typically wading in waters more than about shin deep, so a longer rod may not be necessary...

As for the trevally, I'm well aware - that's the reason I'm going :). The bonefish are just some side fun while there. Massively strong fish, we're going with 100-130 lb braid on 18000 reels and some heavy heavy rods.
 

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One of my anglers from Europe is lucky enough to fish 20 days a year with guides - world wide. He likes to wade the Seychelles with fly gear for big, big bones, milkfish, and GTs. No matter how heavy your gear a big GT that just screams off a flat and over the edge into deep water will just break you off since the edges are all hard, sharp coral... but he says it sure is fun trying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One of my anglers from Europe is lucky enough to fish 20 days a year with guides - world wide. He likes to wade the Seychelles with fly gear for big, big bones, milkfish, and GTs. No matter how heavy your gear a big GT that just screams off a flat and over the edge into deep water will just break you off since the edges are all hard, sharp coral... but he says it sure is fun trying.
Definitely much tougher on fly - on spinning gear we can get a decent number of them, but there are still a good amount of breakoffs.
 
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