Bonefish

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by NewToSport, May 4, 2002.

  1. NewToSport

    NewToSport Member

    Hello all. I am lucky enough to be taveling to the Grand Bahamas (Freeport) in July and I thought I would try some Bonefishing there. I only started flyfishing late last year and am still really REALLY green.

    I have an Orvis 9wt rod with a sinking line (thinking of getting an extra spool for just in case).

    For those of you who have done some bonefishing what kind of advice can you give a new guy?


    -John
     
  2. Philster

    Philster Active Member

    Get a good saltwater "tropical" floating line.

    Technique: Don't worry about "90 foot casts" but practice everyday (even for just 5 minutes) casting from about 35 to 60 feet. If you can cast farther accurately practice that too, but the sweetspot is 35 to 60. Put out targets (crushed soda cans work well) at varying distances but don't try to hit them. Instead decide which direction the can is moving :) and cast in front of it. Vary the distance from 1 to 5 feet ON PURPOSE. If you have a spouse or friend who is willing (a fishing buddy who is also going is great for this, take turns) attach some rope to a 2 foot two-by-four and have them drag it slowly across the lawn, NOT ALWAYS PERPENDICULAR to you. Once again lead the target ON PURPOSE different distances. Presentation is everything. For really deep water (more than 4 to 6 feet) or choppy water an intermediate line can be good, but if you're new, you probably want to stick to the floater

    Flies: go to the library or a bookstore and read what Lefty Kreh has to say in both "saltwater fly fishing" and "presenting the fly" on bonefish flies. Bring the flies he lists. Appropriately sized Clousers, Gotcha's, and crab patterns are all you need. Don't take any fly with you that you can't cast. In other words a lead-eye fly you can't hit your target with is useless. Practice on water with all your flies before you go.

    Best advice: Go carp fishing on the flats near you. Even if the fish aren't taking, you will get great practice sight fishing and presenting the fly. Have your goal be getting yourself and your fly as close to the fish as you can without spooking it, not catching one. It's All about getting the fly in front of the fish, without spooking it.
     
  3. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

  4. Brian

    Brian New Member

    If you live near Seattle or Bellevue, go to Kaufman's Streamborn. They have a free two page list of things you will need for fishing the Bahamas(flies, leaders, lines etc). I used it as a guide for my recent bonefish trip to the Turks & Caicos Islands, which are just south of the Bahamas. It was very helpful. I bought one of each fly they recommended as a pattern, then I tied up a bunch of my own.
    I was able to catch 23 bones in four days of fishing. If you haven't bonefished before, which I hadn't, your greatest challenge will be spotting the fish. It took me about two full days to get it down pretty good and I know I missed seeing a lot of fish.
    I hope this helps.
    Brian
     
  5. Philster

    Philster Active Member

    Oh no, not one of those "wooly buggers will catch anything that swims types"! Just kidding, pink and tan buggers will always catch their share of bones, especially when fishing blind. The main reason I like clousers more (and gotchas), is because a clouser is easier to tie and more durable. Heck, you know how it is, bring 200 flies, split among 20 different kinds of flies, and you end using 3 the whole week. Not three kinds of flies... Three flies! Fish are simple, get something in front of them, without spooking them, that is in the ballpark of what food might look like, or act like, and if they are in the mood to eat, or just curious, they'll give it a nip. They don't have any choice... No hands! Time on the water, and presentation is SOOOOOOOO much more important than flies.
     
  6. circlespey

    circlespey Member

    Some additional advice.
    1) Pick your guide carefully. A good guide can double your shots; you have to know the tides, where they school, and be able to see fish in all kinds of conditions. Bahamas bones tend to school more than most but the bigger fish are always singles and doubles. It's hard to pick the right person; try to get a personal referral or two.
    2) Get a tropical floating line. Make the $55 investment. A sinking line is no good. It will be HOT in July in Grand Bahama so a tropical line that feels rock hard to the touch here in the NW will cast much better than any other floating line. Coldwater lines will feel like they are melting and will have a ton of tangles. Rio Bonefish is my favorite, Cortland Tropic Plus is #2 to me. I have not found that the intermediate tip lines make much of a difference. You'll be fishing in 1-2 of water 90% of the time; your sink rate should be determined by your fly not your line. Your leader will be 8-10 feet (the pretied Rio bonefish leaders are great) so the clear tip doesn't matter much beyond that.
    3) Flies. Get two or three types of flies in varying sizes (#4-6 are the best) and sink rates (no eyes, bead chain, barbell). Other advice on this site about flies has been good. Bahamas bones will take almost any well-presented fly. My favorite there are Gotchas in white, tan, and pink. If you tie these can be tied in a few minutes and the materials are easy to find. Your second fly should be more earth-tone colored for fishing over grass.
    4) Reel. Not as important as the rod but it must have a disc drag with at least 150 yards of backing. I have had (big) bonefish go 200 yards into backing; a good large arbor reel will save your arms and wrist and keep you in the fight. I like the Bauer LM5; it's very cheap for a cork drag and can be used for steelhead the rest of the year. My pre-large arbor reel was a Ross Gunnison, which is still a great reel.

    Send me another message if you need more info.

    Circlespey
     
  7. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    was So disappointed actually when John hooked up that first bonefish on a woolly bugger, because it negated
    all my diligent study, selection and construction of bonefish flies. Then he leant me a brown bugger and I
    caught one. Couldn't hardly believe it.

    I'm still curious about the balls of slime on the leader after a battle with one of these rocket fish. At first I
    thought they were wind knots. Is this common to find that they rub off on the leader?
     
  8. circlespey

    circlespey Member

    Bonefish are about the slimiest fish I have ever handled (with the possible exception of ladyfish) so I've always thought that slime was rubbing off the fish. Someone told me once that slime was part of their scent masking ability to hide from the sharks better on the flats as well as just being the standard protection layer for the fish.
     
  9. circlespey

    circlespey Member

    Oh-- and woolly buggers do make great bonefish flies, especially if they are weighted so that they dip and weave when stripped. I've even fished white ones over hard sand bottoms with some luck.
     
  10. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    One difficulty with your standard buggers is they don't fish hook up like the gotchas and charlies unless you
    put some eyes on the top. On the Aruba flats, and maybe elsewhere, there were these algae colonies
    (maybe they were bryozoans too) that were just like little green shaving brushes on a 3 inch stalk. Hooks
    would often shank up on these stalks.
     
  11. NewToSport

    NewToSport Member

    WOW!!

    Thanks to eveyone for thier great advice!!

    I took some advice yesterday and went to the Bellevue Kaufmann's store. I told them I was a fishing beginner and was going bonefishing in the Grand Bahamas during July and walked me through all the equipment I would need in order to be ready. He asked if I had my reel and luckily I did so he offered to put on the new bonefish leader and taper. He even went as far as to re-string my backing so that it was very tight and he even took time to show me some knots.

    We talked about all the different flies I would need and had several of them on the counter. He didn’t want to sell me any flies until after I talk with my guide and find out what is hot down there at the moment. I told him not to worry that I was coming back there to buy all my flies that I need for the trip.

    He really spent a lot of time with me and never rushed me. It was truly a pleasure and well worth the 30min drive to get there. While walking out of there I felt so good about being there that I decided that’s where I want to buy my new 5wt rod and reel.

    I know it sounds like an advertisement but thats how nice they were.
    Thanks again everyone. Now I gotta go find me some Carp to practice on. :LOVEIT