Bruce Chard’s Bonefish Rig


On this page we’ll periodically be profiling the gear setups of world-class anglers, to let you know from top to bottom how they ready their equipment when they head to our fisheries. Our first installment comes from Captain Bruce Chard, legendary Keys guide and teacher of our bonefishing schools at Andros South.

Here’s what Bruce would fish with on a typical day on South Andros Island.

The Summary

The Detail

  • 20 pound dacron backing in a high-vis color like chartreuse or orange
  • 2 wraps around the barrel of the spool, attached to the spool with a 6-turn Uni Knot
  • Bimini twist on the line end of the backing with a doubled over closing knot to provide double loops
  • Teeny / Bruce Chard Bonefish Taper, 7 weight or 8 weight. “I’ll throw a 7 on a light wind day and an 8 on a heavy wind day, but both on the 7 weight Essence FW”
  • Loop whipped with fly tying thread on the backing end of the fly line, sealed with superglue or Zap A Gap
  • Another similar whipped loop in the leader end of the fly line
  • Tapered leader hand-tied with Rio Saltwater Hard Mono
  • Perfection loop tied in fly line end of leader
  • Leader tapered with blood knots, starting with 27 lb Rio Hard Mono, going to 22 lb, then 17 lb, then 13 lb
  • Tippet section of leader is 18 lb Seaguar Grand Max Fluorocarbon. “It’s actually smaller diameter than the 13 lb mono, so the taper is perfect”
  • The go-to fly on a typical day would be a Bruce Chard Bahamas Mantis shrimp, tied on with a Lefty Kreh Non-Slip Mono Loop.

Plan Your Trip to the Bahamas
More On Bonefishing Gear

Comments

  1. Dan says

    So, what is or how do I do a doubled over Bimini twist? Are there instructions on the web somewhere?

  2. Snagly says

    For a straight doubled Bimini in Dacron or gelspun, double at least 5′ of line. You can use sports tape to hold the two ends together: it’s a temporary join that you’ll undo after the Bimini is done. So now your line is doubled. “Fold” the doubled line in the middle and tie a Bimimi as per normal. Full strength is 70 turns and 30 turns is the minimum recommended. You need the two loops in the Bimini to be identical, so make certain that they are anchored the same way while putting the twists into the line. (Find a big toe works fine, as does a boat cleat.) If the Dacron or gelspun is coated, the twists “take” very nicely but you have to use extra pressure to get the twists moving smoothly away from you.

    The trickiest bit is in the tie off as this is a place you can add a lot of bulk to your knot if you put unnecessary twists into the Uni-knot finish. Trim the tag to 1/8″ and coat with your favorite sealant. Cut off flush the tag end of the double line (the one made with tape at the outset).

    You now have a single strand backing, doubled Bimini twist (with two and not one loop, each identical) that can be used for loop-to-loop connections with fly lines.

  3. Snagly says

    Subsequent to the post, I swapped out backing on a few fly reels and can offer the following refinements: a 1/2″ length of vinyl electrician’s tape is a good way to create a temporary doubled line, and easy to remove. You can finish the Bimini with 3-4 turns in 30lb Dacron (vs. 5-6 turns in gelspun or 20lb Dacron).

    FWIW, I was using 30lb Cabela’s Prestige from a new spool. This breaks at 41lbs fresh. A 30 turn doubled Bimini broke at 23lbs (not good!). A single 50 turn Bimini broke at 31lbs and a doubled 50-turn Bimini broke at 36lbs. (The line was too bulky to make a 70 turn Bimini on a solo basis.)

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