Welcome to The Bonefish Flat

There's a stiff wind in your face as you squint in the sun trying to see what the guide sees. "Bonefish at 12 o'clock about 90 feet, do you see it, mon?" You don't and keep squinting, your hat pulled low to keep the sun out of your eyes. "Bonefish at 11 o'clock 70 feet out. Come on man, do you see it?" As the guide is calmly shifting the skiff into position, this time you spot the fish, "I got, it," you reply.

"OK, Mon, Bonefish 50 feet at 10 o'clock. Cast when you're ready."

Cast when you're ready. And with that you drop your fly, roll out a cast, false cast once, and then...

Welcome to the bonefish flat.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jonesin' For the Pull Part 3

Yesterday taught us a lesson. Fish hard until you go home because the best fish of the day can come in the last five minutes of the day. Besides, it could be 30 minutes or 30 seconds before you see your next fish. You have to stay at it.

Stanley had his tea and he was ready. We headed out in the truck with the Dolphin skiff in tow. We went to the same launch site and headed out.

My dad started fishing with Stan Man and I headed out on a different course. After about 15 minutes, I spotted 3 bones coming at me but they refused the fly. I noticed that my dad and Stan Man weren’t casting, which means they weren’t seeing fish either. The spot looked fishy and we saw feeding spots where bones had been feeding recently, but no fish.

We met up and headed out again to another flat. This time I was more confident. I had seen three fish and the wind was down. Again, dad and Stan Man headed out and I took a path along the mangroves. Sure enough, 5 minutes after getting into position, I saw a bone. I made my cast, stripped once, and fish on.

This was an important fish for me because although he wasn’t huge, it was the first bone I saw, cast to, and caught by myself. That’s a good feeling.

I continued hunting the bones down the mangrove shoreline when I heard a splash in the next cove or creek. I waded slowly and surely focusing on where I heard the noise. Sure enough, tailing bonefish right around the corner where I heard the noise and where I thought I would find fish. I cast once, stripped, and set the hook. Fish on!

The rest of the morning went this way. I caught four bones total and had blew about three more shots. But I had my confidence.

We then found a creek where the tide was going out and had a chance to walk in looking for fish leaving the flat for deeper water. This time Stan Man came with me. We found a single working his way right toward us. I made the cast and hooked what would be my biggest bone of the trip. A 7 ½ lbs. fish that made a screaming run tearing line and then backing off my reel. By this point, I was able to switch to my 8 weight because the wind was down. This means I was fishing my Tibor so I could hear that famous Tibor "song."

Not soon after landing and releasing the fish, a five foot shark was making his way up the channel right toward Stan Man and I. “Don’t move,” said Stan Man. I stood still and thought the fish would swim between Stan and I when Stan suddenly stomped his foot about two feet from the shark.

The shark darted off. I looked at Stan Man. “Nurse shark,” I asked. “No mon. Dat’s a blacktip. Dems a mean shark mon.”

I nabbed one more bone that day for a total of six fish. Dad ended up with five plus a really nice one he caught with Stan Man.


What a great trip! The wind the first two days made the fishing really tough. But what we lacked in numbers, we made up for with big fish. I also feel like I learned a lot about the bonefish game. Wading with Stan Man allowed me to start seeing fish myself and to learn how to play the fish and make the hook-up.

Even better, I had a great trip with my dad and we had a lot of fun together.

And yes, as I write this, I’m jonesin’ to catch another bonefish. As I rode home from work today on the bus, I couldn’t help but think about the grey ghost hiding next to the mangrove and making a cast, one strip, and the set followed by that famous bonefish pull which will show you your backing.

The fisherman in the airport was right. “They just don’t understand these fish at home.”

1 comment:

  1. I did a trip to GBI with my dad a couple years back. It was fantastic. Some real special memories from that, including my dad getting about a 12 pound Mutton Snapper.

    Glad you found some fish willing to play.