Not all bonefish are created equal, and at Andros South we’re really fortunate to have what we think is a healthy balance of quality and quantity when it comes to bonefish. For the most part, our anglers are able to target large numbers of fish (generally smaller on average), or stalk fewer fish (but generally larger on average) depending on their goals, experience level, etc. Its one of our favorite things about our fishery.
With that said, who doesn’t love big bonefish though, right!? Whether you’re chasing schools, or hunting singles and doubles, here are five tips to help bring bigger fish to hand.
- Cast to the Lead Fish. Whether a large school or a small pod, cruising fish are often led by the largest fish in the group. When casting to more than one fish, especially if you can’t quite make out each fish in the group, cast to the lead fish. Odds are its the biggest in the bunch.
- Fish Larger Flies. On South Andros, our fish tend to have an affinity for larger flies than most other bonefish destinations around the world. Will they eat smaller flies? Absolutely! However, from our experience, the larger fish respond better to larger flies (we like size 2’s or heavily dressed size 4’s), while the smaller fish seem to eat it all. Be on the safe side, go big.
- Fish Heavier Tippet. Bonefish in our neck of the woods aren’t leader shy. We prefer 15-16 pound fluorocarbon tippet for most situations, and very rarely can attribute a refusal to our tippet size. In fact, some of our long-time anglers prefer tippet upwards to 20 pound test! Fish what you can get away with, because you never know when a big one is going to hop on.
- Set Your Drag Accordingly. Always set your drag with big fish in mind. Many big bonefish are lost due to a failure to keep tension on the line, and a weak drag setting is often the culprit. Set the drag tension for the fish you hope to catch. Make ’em work for it!
- Don’t Give up! All too often we hear the same story, “We were having a slow afternoon, when all of a sudden we saw a huge fish, and we totally weren’t ready for it.” Generally speaking, larger bonefish prefer to cruise by themselves, or in smaller pods of two to three fish, in order to maximize their own food intake. Therefore, a flat doesn’t have to be flooded with fish for a big boy to come strolling through. Staying focused, even when the fishing might appear slow, is crucial to capitalizing when the opportunity for a shot at a trophy presents itself.