Bahamas Islands Online Travel Guide

The Bonefish

The bonefish, known by some as the grey ghost fish, stands out as a highly sought after game fish.  These aquatic denizens weigh up to 22 pounds and rate among the fastest fish in the world. This gives the prey two distinct qualities that make it challenging and hence fun to catch.

The weight and speed of the bonefish mean you'll have a good fight on your hands in order to bring it in.  Known for their fast runs and power you'll have all you can do to hold on.

Where to catch bonefish

Tropical bonefish live in shallow waters, often swimming in schools on grass or sandy flats. Some anglers opt to approach by boat and others by wading to get close to the bonefish homes found in areas ranging from 8 inches to four feet deep.

Some of the most popular places to catch bonefish include the Bahamas, Florida Keys and the Virgin Islands. Many good local guides specialize in taking sportsman out to catch bonefish. Local fishing guides represent particular importance because they will know where the fish are and what they are feeding on. In addition, most guides will work with you if you are a novice.

Bonefish equipment and tackle

The equipment endorsed by many bonefishing experts includes a fly rod and reel. Most anglers suggest a fly rod and reel that is rated for 7 to 9 line weight. A large arbor reel is recommended with plenty of Dacron fly backing line for those powerful bonefish runs. Don’t forget to consider a Fluorocarbon leader. Fluorocarbon line has the desired characteristic of being invisible in the water. This gives you a stealth approach and is a tremendous advantage. Others opt for spinning equipment to land a bonefish.

Most guides suggest that you use live shrimp as bait to catch your bonefish. Like with other species of fish you should bring various tools for your disposal to increase your chances. Other tackle and lure considerations would include any of the following:

  • Light jigs with shrimp or crabmeat

  • Small flies tied to mimic shrimp or crab

  • Artificial lures and plugs

Fish On!

Once you've hooked your first bonefish good fishing technique is required to bring it in. The basics are keep the rod tip up and your line tight. Get a feel for the fishes fight and runs. When the fish is running let it go a bit. When the fish stops take up some line. Don’t use a trout set as you might be used to for your usual fly fishing, a bonefish mouth is much harder than a trout and the bonefish feeds in a different manner. It's a chess match. You have to outsmart and tire out your opponent. Listen to the guides and follow his/her instructions and you'll have that bonefish and all the memories that go with it!

Remember to practice good catch and release techniques to preserve the bonefish and any other fish you do not plan on making a meal of. This helps preserve our natural resources and keeps the sport of fishing alive and well for future generations. If you do consider rewarding your fishing success with dinner, be careful and remember why they call it a bonefish!

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