Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Craft Fur

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I have previously noted my absolute disdain for Wapsi’s fly-tying “Premium” craft fur, as it requires a lot of work to create a fly, there is a lot of waste, and it still is lifeless once you are done.

As a person who likes to research and experiment, I did not abandon a traditional wing “gotcha” for bonefishing, so I continue to look at other craft furs that would be suitable to fly-fishing.

Now, I like to take (for me) the unusual step to link to another blog, as Holger Lachmann has done a fine job analyzing Craft Fur as supplied by Wapsi verus Fair Flies, and like Holger I will also keep Fair Flies Fly Store in my stores to use.

In keeping with previous notes, for bonefishing, I am looking for fur from white to tan, and currently working with 3 fake skins.

fake fur_DSC5497.jpg

  1. Fair Flies Fly Fur Tan. Suited for flies with wings 2.5-4″. I do need to get a couple of white skins to dye-paint.
  2. Beige and Cream Latte 2″ Pile suited for wings <2″ from Etsy’s FurBoutique in Arlington Texas.
    Note this craft fur has a denser base with the associated “crinkle” and heavier base, relative to Fair Flies Fur. This denser base leads to a much larger bump-rise at the tie, while the material has a greater tendency to hold into a single pile, versus the fly fur. These differences are illustrated below.

Moving to sample , though the first 3 flies are not gotchas, as the weight is at the bend.

white gotcha_DSC5486.jpg

Cream Latte wing and rabbit fur under on a Daiichi 2546 4.

cream gotcha_DSC5487.jpg

Beige Fur Wing with a Coyote Tail under on a Daiichi 2546 4. As an experiment, I place the coyote wing higher up the bend, and still not sure if I like this.

kraft fur _DSC5483.jpg

And the tan wing with a coyote tail on a larger Mustad 34007 2.


And some gotchas on kraft paper to simulate the tan soils under the mangroves.

gotchas on white_DSC5517.jpg


close in _DSC5483

And for fun, a close up look at the above tan fly.





Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/11 at 07:03

tan bonefish flies for Bahamas – Exumas

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As previously posted, white and light flies are the standard (for me) in the Exumas to match the predominant white sand and ground that bonefish move over.

fiend 2_DSC4382

We really like Polar Bear, whose translucency allows the fly to blend to the sand, and much of the water we have fished in the Exumas.

to th Mangroves IMG_3674

This clear white sand is clearly visible in this Exuma channel. The water was teaming with turtles, sharks, and barracudas, and the dolphins keep the bonefish high into mangroves on this particular day. Watching all threats around added to the appreciation of this world.

Though it is not a great image of the Mangroves, we did find under the mangroves themselves, the sand-mud that has a higher organic matter and was a tan colour with hints of yellow or red, depending on specific spot.

tan no weight DSC5522

Think no darker than kraft wrapping paper, but consider tints to yellow and red.

So we need to expand out kit with a few more tan flies in our kit. The flies shown here, have the simplified recipe of:

  • Daiichi 2546 > Size 6
  • Light Pink Butt > Senyo Intruder, but I like seal to.
  • Veevus Tan thread body with Midge V-Rib.
  • Tan Deer Hair Wing
  • With a wing accent of small long flashbou and Indian Rooster Badger feather.

As the waters are thin-shallow, I have two versions with no weight and lightly weight (smallest bead-chain eyes possible).

It was nice to see the bonefish cautiously chase the fly out of the mangroves.

tan no weight DSC5525

Same fly, but with some back lighting.

tan wing DSC5532 2.jpg

Another example, but with a small weight (and top-front lighting).


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/07 at 04:33

Winston BL5 9wt Bonefish Line Match – preliminary

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I am still experimenting for best fit, though I have been using this rod for nearly 5 years. It is a forgiving rod, and one that allows for quiet presentation. In short, it has been able to cast everything from a Cortland 8wt (limited power) to RIO Bonefish Quick Shooter 8wt (fine) to Airflo 9wt clear taper (a little harsh). But, I am zeroing down this rod is a true 9wt that likes to bend to the grip.

I am incline to look at the settling down, when Bonefishing – Tropics with ….

  • Cortland Bonefish 9 wt (or RIO Bonefish), alternative would be …
  • RIO Permit 9wt -> right color and good profile, but a lack of data on weight says this is not the best place to lay down another 100$.  Given reviews that suggests this as a good line match to Sage Xi and Salt, indicates this is a heavy line.
    A 10wt RIO Permit line may be best suited for my Guideline RSi 11wt, who also prefers a light line for those long into the wind casts.

So I have a 20yr old rod carrier from DB Dun (I believe this was a division of 3M Scientific Angler then), that allows me to carry 4 rods on a plane. If I am bonefishing (with Judy), my four rods are:

  1. Scott Meridian 8wt – mine
  2. Scott Meridian 8wt – hers
  3. TFO BVK 8wt – when we want more power into the wind
  4. Winston BL5 9wt

Though, I have considered rod 3 or 4 should be a faster 10-11wt, such as the Guideline RSi 11wt, to give me a little more power in windy days.




Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/04 at 22:10

TFO BVK 8wt Bonefish Line Match

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Quick Answer > Airflo Short Clear Tip 8wt defaulting to a short leader (7.5′), used when I want a little more punch into the wind.

airflo clear tip

Wow, it appears I never “blogged” that I built-assembled a TFO BVK 8wt. It is a nice fast rod, but with less feeling that my Scott Meridian, so it became my “backup rod” after I bought the Scott.

The TFO BVK is known as a good fast rod that may benefit from over-lining that is low cost – with complaints on cheap components guides and cork. So I acquired a blank 4+ years ago and put on quality single foot strippers-guides and turned some quality cork. It is a fine rod that has landed some large bonefish.

Caveat emptor > I am sure there is variability in line and rod construction, which contributes to the other variable, what do you (I) prefer may not produce the same results. So mileage will vary with user.

My testing and ranking, in order of preference (highest to acceptable):

  1. Airflo Clear Tip 8wt – I believe this line to be heavy and maps well to the stiffer BVK. The long rear taper allows for longer pickup and the shorter tip clear tip promotes use with a short leader for winder days.
    I have not weighed the line, so I cannot confirm it is “heavy”, but it does behave as it is a heavy line on my rods.
    Without testing, I would state the Airflo Bonefish line would be “light”, but castable, but disadvantaged with the shorter rear taper, while the Tropical Punch would be aggressive and would want a stiffer longer leader.  As I am happy with this Clear Tip, I am not willing to buy more lines to test.
  2. RIO Quickshooter
  3. Cortland Tropic Series Bonefish – a true 8wt – and though it was accurate, it took a little more energy to get it out.
    As the RIO Bonefish is similar to the Cortland, I did not test this line.

So yes, I would suggest a heavy 8wt, but a good caster can adjust to the line, so lets say this is a good match for Judy and I.




Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/04 at 19:07

Bonefish Leaders

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In short: Tie your own or the next best action is to add 4′ of Seaquar Blue 12# to an Airflo Polyleader.  Control of the fly is important, but having a fine tippet is not.

As noted in a recent (April 2019) posts, I would carry in my kit for backing:

  • Spare spool of 20# 200yd (m) 3M Dacron backing
  • A small spool (minimum) of 30# backing to make line
  • UV Epoxy for securing a knot.
  • Line cleaner.

I would add, for tying leaders:

  • RIO Hard Mono – 30#, 25#,  20#, 16#
  • Seaquar Blue – 15#, 12#

I have tweaked my leader recipes as previously posted, as my starting point is a 13′ leader with a 15+ Tippet (Formula 3).

Written by raspberryfisher

2019/04/18 at 23:31

Meridian 8wt – Bonefish Lines

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Continuing from my earlier review of Bonefish Lines, here I look at what lines suit the Scott Meridian 8wt for Bonefishing.

One of the common questions ask on forums, is “What line should I use for my rod?”.  Aitflo and others historically maintained recommendations for 2H (Spey) Rods, and recently Scott has also posted their recommendation for their – including Scott Meridian – focusing on the big three line manufacturers – SA, Airflo, and RIO. Specifically,

  • SA Mastery WF8
  • RIO Bonefish 8
  • Airflo Bonefish 8

Interesting to note in an 2018 Jim Bartschi (Scott Rods) interview with April Vokey, Jim noted they design their rods to be “true to weight” and does not recommend heavy-aggressive lines.  This is also reflected and stated, in the aforementioned Scott line recommendations.

After this season, I concur with the assessment, and though you can use the more aggressive taper lines, my recommendation for fit are – in order of preference >

  1. Cortland Tropic Series Bonefish 8wt – provide the best delivery (straight with a great unroll for delicate drop, and providing accuracy). If there is one dislike, I wish the head of the line not as “pure” white.
  2. RIO Bonefish 8wt – A close second, and a fine choice.
  3. RIO Quickshooter – 8wt – heavy, but acceptable for casting on windy days and where is chop et cetera. Though more testing is needed, I believe this is a better line for my TFO backup rod.
  4. Airflo Ridge Clear Tip 8wt – I found it a little heavy, but I would keep this on a reel with a shorter leader 7-9′ for windy days. Its clear tip adds in stealth, but you may find it hinders you tracking the fly and fish.

This testing was done on the flats, casting to Bonefish, in wind, with 12′ leader and a fly.

Update (at the urging of my wife): You (I) cast all of the above (with some adjustments in my stroke), but some cast better than others.  Never-the-less, do not overline this rod.

I utterly rejected the use of a Phoenix WF8 Silk.  I thought its finer line for wind and intermediate sink properties could balance the disadvantages of care and cost, but it does did not cast well on this rod (had no authority to lay down a fly).  I may try it one more time in the freshwater this summer, to better understand it, but as of this moment, it is in my bin to sell.

Update: There are other lines I did reject. One of which was a surprise, and makes me wonder if I got, what I thought (and labeled as) (but as I have not put in on the scale, I will say no more).  I rather NOT trash a product, without through analysis, but only recommend what I have proven with actual use.  As there is little (to no) information on using a silk for bonefish, I choose to include my negative comments.

Santana’s (Exuma) – Grouper Lunch


Incoming Turtle



Attack of the Turtles





Written by raspberryfisher

2019/04/17 at 00:23

Posted in Bahamas, Fly-Fishing, Saltwater

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(my) Bonefish Backing Notes

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Backing – Selection – 3M Dacron

  • I have always used “colour” too differentiate my backing.  20+ years ago, so I know what I had on and to signal when I was in the backing. In short:
    • Orange (original) and Pink (now) for 30#
    • Yellow (original) and Green (now) for 20#
  • I have used gel-spun when I thought I needed more backing, but the cost and negative implications (complication in rigging, accidental cuts, et cetera) are such that I do not use it  (any more)).

dacron spool_DSC5437

How much backing?

  • So in 20+ years of pursing many fish (not open ocean), few fish have taken me into the backing. And may of those that could or did take me into the backing, there were limits that would impose distances. Common of these:
    • Rock, river bends, et cetera (steelhead, salmon)
    • Mangroves (bonefish)
  • To date the largest bonefish Judy and I have landed were on the edges of the mangroves.  Yes, we have had bonefish run on the open flat (and I lost one that went deep over the flats’ edge (lost it do to coral, not distance)), I have yet to experience a 100m run with a bonefish.  So while a 200m (or greater) run is possible, I have come to the conclusion it is a rare event. As such, I no longer  fret on not having the often recommended 200 yds of backing.
    • 100m minimum of 20# for Bonefish
    • 200m minimum of 30# for Steelhead and Salmon
  • This relaxation has allowed me to “ditch” gel-spun.
  • As I want to achieve all of the practical gains of a large arbour reel, I do “fill it up”. So though, 100m is the minimum, I am constantly spooling 150 to 250m on a reel for Bonefish.


  • 20# for Bonefish
  • 30# for Steelhead and Salmon.
  • In general
    • Single Hand Rods – 8wt rods or smaller 20#
    • Two Hand Rods – 5wt or smaller 20#
    • Everthing larger – 30#

Are there any other considerations?

20+ years ago, fly lines did not come with convenient loops, so you used an Albright Knot to form a firm connection from backing to line. One can cut off the loop an do this, but as I like to change lines to suit the need, I like loop to loop connections.


But 20# loops are too fine and subject to collapse when loop to a fly line!  So what do I do? Simple and has last a few years …..

One > Blood knot a 3-4m section of 30lb Dacron onto the 20# Backing.

blood knot_DSC5422

Two > Create a large perfection loop.


Three > Secure knots with a very fine application of UV Epoxy (Loon Knot Sense or ProTube Flexible).

As Braided Dacron ages better than mono or fluorocarbon, I prefer Dacron.  I admit that 25# Maxima Chameleon, Amnesia and Seaguar Blue works well, but I would secure the mono-FC to the 20# backing with an Albright Knot.

Another good alternative, if you fine the 30# is too fine, use Miracle Braid.

miracle loop_DSC5424

But consider that knots will be bigger (but will still clear) the rod guides.

knot comparison_DSC5428

So what do I travel with, for field repair, et cetera?

  • Line Dressing – yes, clean your lines
  • 200m (yd) Spare Spool of 20# and possibly 30# Backing
  • Small spool of Orange 30#  Backing
  • Loon Knot Sense (alternative is ProTube Flex UV Epoxy)
    • Use sunlight to cure the knot.
  • Optional Miracle Braidas my fly bag has scissors and a nail knot tool, all is good.




Written by raspberryfisher

2019/04/16 at 22:07