The classic bonefish take usually goes something like this.. Strip, strip, bonefish eats the fly, angler makes a long strip to set the hook (no trout sets!), bonefish takes off at lightning speed in the opposite direction, angler raises the rod and enjoys a well deserved fight against said bonefish.
However, what happens when the bonefish runs directly towards the angler instead of in the opposite direction? This happens from time to time prior to setting the hook and we see many fish lost this way. Slack in the line during any fight typically leads to a thrown fly, therefore it is important to stay connected to the fish at all times during the fight.
A common mistake we see when attempting to take up the slack on a ‘charging’ bonefish is stripping in line with the rod tip still low to the water. Often times, this does not take up line fast enough to stay connected to the fish immediately after the hook set. Instead, once you recognize the bonefish is headed in your direction, raise your rod up and slightly back while stripping or reeling in slack. A long lift of the rod tip is able to move a great deal of line extremely quickly, hopefully allowing you to stay connected at the beginning of the rush..
Still can’t pick up the slack fast enough? An effective ‘Hail Mary’ technique is to jam the rod tip in the water, while reeling as fast as possible to maintain tension. Doing so can create enough tension on the fly to stay connected to the fish, but is best used as a last resort.
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