What I have learned is that I love big fish and tails glistening in the sunlight. Below is the rig I have come up with for just those things.”
- Sage 691-4 TCR
- Sage 3400D reel
- Sage Equator Taper 6 weight fly line or Teeny Bruce Chard Bonefish line in 6 weight
- 250 yds 30 lb Micronite backing, attached to the spool with an arbor knot
- Double bimini twist in the fly line end of the backing
- Fly line attached with a loop-to-loop connection, with the loop in the back end of the fly line created by doubling over the fly line, whipping a loop with fly tying thread, and sealing it with AquaSeal
- Tapered knotless leader 8 – 14 feet long, tapered to 10 to 17 lb depending on conditions, tied directly to the fly line with an Albright knot, treated with Zap-A-Gap and AquaSeal (more on this below)
- Large bonefish fly in similar color to the flat, tied on with a non-slip mono loop
“I love the Sage TCR 6 weight for a few reasons. It is light in hand and therefore easy to hang in your hand for long periods while scanning the flats. Even though it is a 6 weight, the bottom of the rod has incredible lifting power and can really put the hurt on a big bone when he is headed into the mangroves. Finally, nothing gets me going like a big bone tailing in mega-skinny water and I feel that I can make a much more delicate presentation with a 6 weight line.”
“The Sage 3400D reel has never failed me and has proven to be corrosion-free even after residing at the beach in Andros for 5 years….enough said.”
“I tie on 250 yds of Cortland Micronite backing to the spool with a double arbor knot. I like the Micronite because it is a happy middle road between Dacron and gel-spun. On the business end I whip on a double bimini that will then be looped to the fly line.”
“I have two choices for flylines. When conditions are calm and I plan on making long casts and delicate presentations I go to the 6 weight Equator Taper by Sage. If the wind is blowing or I am throwing heavier flies, I switch to the Teeney Bruce Chard Bonefish Line in a 6 weight. It has a shorter, more aggressive front taper and turns flies over better in the wind. It’s manufactured to be one half line weight heavy, therefore loading the rod better when making shorter casts.”
“I knot my leader directly to the flyline with an Albright Knot and treat it with Zap-A-Gap and the Aquaseal to give me the confidence it will stay put. I like this set up because it is a smooth sleek connection and has never failed. When it is calm I go with a long 12 to 14 foot leader tapered to 12 or 10 pound test and when it is blowing I will cut back a 10 foot leader to 8 or 9 feet and about 17 pound test to improve turnover and accuracy. I like the knotless leaders because there is no way they are picking up any salad. I curse enough when my hook picks up salad when I am in shallow and a tailer blows up because a piece of seaweed just started dancing!”
“At the end on the leader I am attaching my fly with a non-slip mono loop with a very small loop to allow freedom of movement without fouling.”
“My fly selection will vary but I will say that I am sure to be mindful of using the right amount of weight for the situation and I am not afraid to throw some big morsels to entice those bonefish. I am also sure to include in the fly colors that are present in the area I am fishing at that moment. The critters I am trying to imitate are certainly doing the same which makes it all important.”
“Finally – always rub some weeds or muck on your fly before you fish it to get all your nasty stink off it. You will be glad you did!”
Mike Opitz has been fishing at Alaska West on the Kanektok for years. He’s a great angler and an even better guy, so we’re always particularly happy to see him playing with some Kanektok chrome.
Nice fish, Mike.
Why is that?
- Lots of fish
- Big fish
- Ocean-side flats
- Inland flats
- Huge fishery
- Few anglers
- Incredible guides
- Solid infrastructure
Maybe it’s not such a mystery after all.
Many bonefish anglers in the Bahamas think of barracuda as that not-so-desirable species that you sometimes troll for when the weather is bad. At Andros South we disagree.
We regularly see barracuda on the flats, and in fact trolling for ‘cudas is very unusual on South Andros. If you’re poling down a flat, have that ‘cuda rod rigged and ready– if there are bonefish around, their predators are around too, and throwing a popper at that 4-foot-long critter makes for some pretty good sport.
We like a 10 weight, a floating line, and a wire leader (Rio’s Toothy Critter Leaders and TyGer Wire both work great). Big baitfish flies (4″+), crease flies and poppers all work great. Land the fly well in front of the fish, start stripping the instant it hits the water (or before)…and you can’t strip too fast! Be ready and don’t mind the explosion– that’s just flats fishing for ‘cudas.
The lower Kanektok River holds some fat rainbow trout, and Rick Sisler has gotten up close and personal with more of these slabs than anybody.
Rick started guiding at Alaska West in 1998. He spent 8 years guiding on the river, and we’re now lucky enough to have him as a core member of the Deneki Outdoors team, managing the operations at Alaska West in the summer and heading to Andros South in the winter.
Big rainbows in the lower Kanektok love hanging around snags. These jumbo trout get a steady diet of salmon parts all summer, and big snags provide them with the perfect combination of cover and easy access to the protein conveyor belt that the Kanektok becomes once the salmon start dying. Abrupt drop-offs are great targets as well, for the same reasons.
Here’s Rick’s rig of choice for the pursuit of lower Kanektok fatties. This is the big leagues – leave your 4 weight and 5x at home.
- Sage 796-4 Xi2
- Sage 3400D Reel
- Sage Performance Taper II #7 line
- 200 yards of high-vis 20 pound dacron backing attached to spool via an Arbor Knot
- Bimini Twist on the fly line end of the backing to attach to a double nail knotted mono loop (20lb) on the end of the fly line. For added security and durability use Aqua Seal on the nail knots.
- Same double nail knotted mono loop in the leader end of the fly line
- Tapered leader hand tied with Maxima Ultragreen mono
- Perfection Loop tied in the fly line end of the leader
- Leader tapered with Blood Knots, starting with 3′-4′ of 20 lb, then 3′ of 15 lb
- Tippet section of 2′ of 12 lb Maxima Ultragreen
- Depending on depth the overall length of leader may be bumped up to as much as 12′ (if you can handle it)
- The meat is some variation of the infamous Cotton Candy tied by longtime Alaska West guide Matt Hynes, tied on with a non-slip mono loop.
- “This rig can be fished with or without an indicator, but whatever you do make sure to fish the snags and drop-offs hard. “
More On Gear For Rainbows
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Deneki Outdoors.
Our Thanksgiving gift to you is a picture of a giant rainbow trout, caught a couple of years back at Alaska West by our guest and friend Tom Rueping, with Ramsey ‘Rainbow Magnet’ Smith as his guide.
Lower Kanektok. Flesh. To learn more, come on up and join us.
Nice fish, Tom.
Although our primary focus at Andros South is on bonefishing, we’re located right next to the Tongue of the Ocean, a giant oceanic trench that ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 feet deep. ‘The Tongue’ presents some pretty incredible opportunities for bluewater fishing, which we offer as an option by the day.
Yesterday’s bluewater report was not bad at all– 4 wahoo, up to 70 pounds.