The Ultimate Catch!

Thursday, 27 January 2022  |  Sarah

The Ultimate...
BONEFISH!

How to catch one
What to use

 
Bonefish
Although alien to our shores, many fly fishers perceive Bonefish as the ultimate quarry. It’s easy to understand why when you study the anatomy of these creatures.
Streamline, muscular and lightening fast they’re highly prized. Add that they reside in tropical climes and it’s obvious why they top the species list.

Furthermore, they’re sought in clear water situations, so sport is extremely visual, very much like nymph fishing on a pristine chalkstream.
Surprisingly, chasing Bonefish needn’t cost the earth as there are many destinations where they can be found at reasonable costs, chief amongst which are Mexico and Cuba. 

Whilst hiring a guide will provide you with instant access to these ‘ghosts of the flats’, there’s no reason why you can’t DIY along shallow shorelines or sheltered coasts.
 
How To Fish Bonefish
Bonefish prefer to forage in shallow water, often knee depth and less.  With that, it’s best to focus on the shoreline by wading 10-20ft out from the margins.


The secret is to go ultra slow and scan 30-50ft in front of you. 

Sunny days are best as these light up the sand, making Bonefish that bit easier to see. And that’s why fishing from a boat / skiff is better in cloud, as you’re more elevated now.

Once you sight fish, try to stay calm as so long as you’re quiet they will continue feeding, allowing you to get close.

It’s a myth too that you need to cast 30 plus yards for bonefish, as often they are taken within 30-50ft range.
More important is to lead them with your fly by a good few feet as not to alarm them with a plop from the landing fly. 

A signal that your fly has been accepted is a gentle tug on the line, very much like trout taking a lure / wetfly.  Rather than lift the rod to set the hook, it’s vital you use a ‘strip strike’, which is a sharp, foot long pull on the line

This ensures your hook is driven home into the hard mouth of Bonefish as lifting the rod only takes up slack without the required impetus or tension to set a hook.
As Bonefish have an incredible turn of speed, on hooking a bonefish, keep your hands well away from the reel and simply let the fish run.

At the end of the first run, gather back line until the fish decides to run again.  Repeat this until the fish tires and you have total control of your quarry. 
 

In all, Bone-fishing is about as exciting as fly fishing gets and if ever you have an opportunity to fish for them (even on a family holiday), we highly recommend this experience.

 
What Do I Use?
Naturally, as you’re fishing in saltwater and for a species that can easily take yards of backing within seconds the first thing then to consider is a disc drag reel that takes at least 200 yards of backing plus fly line.

The Redington Grande Reel is ideal for Bonefish!

At least 20lb backing is recommended though 30lb will give you better piece of mind where larger specimens occur, or you run into permit for example.
Generally speaking, a 9’ 8-weight rod is considered the ‘go to’ outfit.  This has sufficient backbone for punching heavy flies and coping with stubborn fish.

We recommend the Vision Meri Saltwater as the rage has been specifically designed for coastal fishing with a powerful progressive action and fast recovery it makes fishing  a breeze.
15lb 9ft tapered leaders with an extra 3ft tippet of 12lb fluorocarbon will cover most situations though this tippet might be extended by a couple of feet in shallow water.

Rio Products have your covered with the specially designed Saltwater Bonefish fly line and leader!

The Bonefish QuickShooter has a short head, and loads a rod quickly. It is an ideal line for low light conditions and for the angler wading flats when fish are hard to spot and close range casts are required.

A fantastic line choice for the novice bonefish angler.
The original Bonefish line has a long head and rear taper to smooth out the loop, to make long efficient casts, while the mid length front taper produces great turnover and easy presentation of typical Bonefish flies.
A Great line for the more experienced flats angler,
Bonefish leaders are designed and built to match the needs of the bonefish / flats angler.
• Medium-stiff material for turning over larger flies
• Easy knotting, high strength leader
• Hand tied perfection loop in the butt for quick rigging
The leaders are made of a medium stiff nylon and have a powerful taper design that easily turn over typical bonefish flies, and cope with tough winds. The copolymer material is easy to knot and retains high knot strength.
A couple of other essentials include a decent pair of polariods for spotting fish and a peaked capped.
Some sort of footwear should be considered too and whilst flats boots are designed for this, a pair of watershoes / sandals are often adequate to protect the soles of your feet from coral and rocks.

 
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