Sometimes catching bonefish is more about not doing anything wrong than it is about doing anything incredibly well. Don’t do things bonefish hate!
- Seeing a fly moving towards them. Almost all predatory fish hate it when flies come towards them. Just like sculpins don’t attack big rainbow trout, shrimp don’t attack bonefish – when they see a predator they try to get away. Do your best to present your fly at an angle such that when you strip your fly, it moves away from the fish. South Andros Caveat: some of our fish are so aggressive that they’ll eat your fly no matter which direction it’s moving.
- Swimming under a fly line. It’s a little unclear whey they hate this so much – it’s not like there are naturally occurring strings that eat bonefish – but bonefish almost always spook when they swim under your fly line. This is why, in a classic shot with the fish coming towards you, you’re better off landing the fly short than landing it long. If you land it long, not only are you risking the fish swimming under your line – you’re also violating rule #1 when you strip the fly towards the fish to try to get it in front of him.
- Hearing noise. They just don’t like noise near them. Fly line tearing out of the water, hard boots shuffling on a boat deck, a cooler lid slamming shut (shame on you!), and empty bottle of Kalik tipping over at just the wrong moment…all these things will spook bonefish. When they’re close, be quiet.
OK bonefish anglers, what else have you seen bonefish hate? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Les Kish says
I’m not a salt water guy, but that’s a great photo.
Eddie Otero says
They hate the fact that you are telling folks how to effectively catch them…
Bill Taylor weighed in via email–
They don’t like the crunching sound of a push pole on a hard bottom. And they definitely don’t like to be released in the vicinity of sharks after a hard fight.
Frank DeCarlo says
They hate shadows. I think it may be a residual response from when they were juveniles and were hunted by Ospreys. Even a cloudy day when the sun is obscured by moving clouds will spook them. They also hate the scent of humans and sunscreen. Whenever I can I wash my hands with mud which I gather from the flat where I am fishing. Rub the mud on your leader and fly as well. It is messy and gets all over your pretty “flats wear” but you are there to catch bonefish not to model for the next issue of Deneki Outdoors!
Ed Garcia says
I think they hate the smell of my Skol tobacco or your Cohiba cigar on the fly. You may think I’m kidding but really I’m kinda serious. I bet it takes just a few molecules.