Pound For Pound A Tough Fish To Catch
Bonefish get as big as 17+ lbs. and around 35” but the average catch is 4-8 lbs. 10 is considered a monster. What makes them such a great challenge for flats fishermen (and women) is that they’re very smart, very fast and very strong (especially for their weight).
Although they do have the ability to adjust somewhat to the color of their surroundings, in peaceful state they are silvery with a little blue coloration at the base of their pectoral fins. Their nickname is the "Gray Ghost" and is well earned. The scales on their sides are like tiny mirrors reflecting their surroundings.
They feed on marine worms, small crabs, fish juveniles and most of all shrimp and their highly predatory eating habits can be used against them in your casting techniques. A big part of your casting technique involves getting your fly into the attention of the lead ‘alpha’ fish of the group without spooking the school because they’re usually the ones that are more likely to strike your fly or bait (if you cast correctly). The challenging part is the cast, too close and you will spook them. Not close enough and they won't see it, but thats what makes it fun, the challenge. If you go on a Deep sea charter trolling, the mate will probably hook the fish and then pass you the rod. On Light tackle charters or Head boats you will get a bite and the rod will bend automatically, easy stuff. Flats fishing is visually hunting the fish and you making the cast, in charge of your own destiny.
Having a good guide is invaluable because they’ll be able to give you advice on where to cast and how to ‘play’ your fly or bait across the path of the fish. They are a very crafty fish. As your casting skills improve so will your catching skills The ones you catch will be locked into your memories forever.
Practicing your fly or spin cast at home before you come to Key West will greatly improve your odds of success. To catch these fish, you need to place the fly,bait or jig so that it floats down right in front of them and catches their attention.
You can catch bonefish any time of the year even in the winter between cold fronts. During the average day, they come in and go out with the twice-daily rising and falling tide. If the weather is abnormally hot or cold, sometimes it changes their schooling and feeding behavior but your fishing guide will be able to advise you of that.
All and all, bonefishing is a ton of fun. Every bonefish you catch will be an unforgettable source of pride!