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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Traveling Fisherman

Why do so many of us like to travel "just" to go fishing? I live outside D.C., and it's not enough for me to pull a shad out of the Potomac, a smallie out of the Rappahanock, or a brookie out of the Rapidan. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy fishing for all these fish and do so every chance I get. But still I sit around dreaming of my next trip to the flats for bonefish. Currently I'm thinking about a redfishing trip to Charleston.

But it's not just me. Chances are if you are reading this you don't get to fish for your favorite fish species after work. Most of us don't live in the keys or right on the coast with a dock and a flats skiff in the backyard. Even guys who live in Miami or the keys travel to the Bahamas for more shots at bonefish.

Most of us take great joy in planning the details of our next trip. I know I do anyway. Right now I'm researching redfish flies and their recipes online, calling fly shops in Charleston, and consulting the great oracle better known as google for every bit of information I can get about how to score a red on fly. It's becoming an obsession. And you know, I think my general attitude on life is better when I've got a fishing trip planned.

So why aren't we content with that bass out of the local pond? Because they don't pull like a bonefish, that's why. On my last trip to the Bahamas, which seems like forever ago now, I met a fisherman from Texas who best summed it up. "They just don't understand," he said referring to people who have never had a bonefish tear off line in a violent burst of speed as the fish flees for it's life.

Steelheader's have a saying, "The swing is the thing, but the tug is the drug." They've got it right. The ferocious run of bright chrome must be similar to the bonefish.

So maybe that's why we travel, because the "tug is the drug." Maybe we travel because it gives us something to think about during the work week. Or maybe we are just seeking the next adventure to a new, unknown destination.

Whatever it is, we all will keep on traveling in search of bluer waters and bigger fish.


  1. Nice piece - totally agree about having a better outlook on life in general when you have a fishing trip booked!
    A trout rising to a dry is hard to beat, a pike smashing into a lure is pretty cool, even carp on the fly are a lot of fun. But there's just nothing to beat tailing bonefish or permit, line pouring off your reel, a singing drag and the sun beating down on your back. I live for those moments...
    It must have something to do with the feeling total immersion in fishing too - when you're in those situations you come in at the end of the day and it's all about a couple of beers, tie a couple of flies, have a few laughs with your buddies and start planning the next day. There's no need to think about anything else and you just can't touch that.

  2. I live in Richmond VA and fish the same environs you do, Flats Fisher I love the fishing for local brookies, private and public trout waters, small mouth and stripers but long for the screaming reel as a bonefish takes off! I love planning and tying for the next trip! Keep up the good work. Tight loops and lines, Fishbaydoc AKA Eric English

  3. Thanks for the positive feedback guys and thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.