At a recent fly show, Lefty gave a knot demonstration. A question that frequently came up was:Q: “What is the best way to test a knot?”A: Many years ago, I witnessed high-speed photography of knots breaking at DuPont’s lab in Delaware. It was evident that when a knot slips, it begins to fail. So the first lesson learned was to tighten a knot as firmly as possible. Properly made, a Bimini twist in mono won’t slip, which is why it has been used successfully for so many years.
Q: “I’ve caught a number of bonefish on several trips, but none were more than 4 pounds. I would like to catch a really big one but understand that Florida Keys bones are really difficult to fool. Honestly, I am only a fair caster. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can go to have a good chance of catching a bonefish of 7 pounds or more?”
Q. “Is a full or new moon best for flats-fishing?A. During a full moon, tides rise and fall greater and are referred to as spring tides. The weeks between have neap tides, and the water doesn’t rise or fall as much.
During the late 1950s and 1960s, I used Fenwick FF85 rods. There was no question that after long and hard use, the blanks would soften and the action would slow a bit. I had Temple Fork Outfitters check with legendary rod builder Gary Loomis, who replied that modern fiberglass rods will not soften or change in action simply from being cast. Nice to know.
Q. When the water is calm on the flats, I find that a leader of 12 feet or longer is necessary to prevent spooking fish like bonefish and permit. For years I’ve used either a nail knot or a whipped loop to connect the fly line to the butt section of my leader. To land a fish with a longer leader, some of the butt section must be brought inside the rod guides, and if a fish surges away, the nail knot or whipped loop sometimes catches on the snake guides. I’ve lost two big bones because of this very problem.
Q. “I take good care of my fly rods, yet over the years, I have broken three. In each case, I didn’t know why. Some manufacturers have a great replacement policy, but during the repair lag time, you are still without your rod when you might really need it. Can you offer any tips on preventing fly-rod breakage?”
Rupert Leadon, creator of Andros Island Bonefish Club, passes away at 67.
Q: “I travel a lot and fly-fish in both fresh and salt water. Many times I start very early or take advantage of a late evening bite — both of which are low light situations. Would it be a good idea to have clear polarized lenses like those we use on cameras to eliminate glare?”
Q: “I put 50-pound braided line on my reel for backing, but I’m having trouble with it. On two occasions I’ve hooked good size fish off an oil rig in Texas. Both times the line dug deep in the backing and broke my leader. I like the idea of being able to put much more of this thinner line on my fly reel, but I never had this problem with the 30-pound Dacron I’ve used for years. Any suggestions?”
Q: “I’ll be in Miami, Florida, late this fall or early winter. I have never caught a big tarpon. Are any around this area that time of year?”