We love fly fishing for bonefish. We also love writing about fly fishing for bonefish. Therefore, we’re going to put ourselves out there and make the assumption that many of you check in to our humble little fishing blog because, well, you also love fly fishing for bonefish. Whoa.
However, we also realize that many of you have never fished for bonefish before. Maybe you’ve never tried saltwater fly fishing of any kind, but are interested in giving it a try. Perhaps you have no desire ever fly fishing in saltwater, but have an annoying friend or coworker that keeps telling you how great the flats are, and you wonder, “what is the big deal about bonefishing anyways?”
Well, we’re here to help.. Here’s what we think the big deal is.
- Sight fishing. Most anglers agree that some of the most exciting moments in fly fishing are visual. Dry flies. Surface takes. Watching a fish climb out of structure to inhale a streamer.. That’s the good stuff. Bonefishing is 100 percent visual. You rarely even cast unless you (or your guide) spots a fish, and it’s that sight fishing nature that most anglers agree is a huge part of what makes it so much fun.
- Blistering runs. Bonefish are fast. According to our extremely non-comprehensive research of the fastest fish on earth, bonefish are believed to be the eighth fastest fish in the world. What’s faster than bonefish? Try black marlin, sailfish, striped marlin, wahoo, mako sharks, bluefin tuna, and blue sharks. Can you catch any of those on a fly rod? Sure. But Probably not on a 7 or 8 weight, making bonefish one of the fastest fish you can pursue with a rod that, you know, is still enjoyable to cast.
- Numbers. Many anglers who are hesitant to try saltwater fly fishing for the first time are intimidated by horror stories of going fishless for days upon days. Unlike other flats species like permit or adult tarpon, where a hookup can be considered a day maker for even the most experienced anglers, bonefishing by nature is more productive. That’s not to say there aren’t tough days.. It’s still fishing of course, but a good day of bonefishing typically provides far more action than other popular flats species, making it a great option for those looking to get started in flats fishing.
- Anyone can do it. We’re amazed at how many anglers assume they’re not quite ‘good enough’ to go bonefishing. The notion that you need to be able to land a fly on a dinner plate at 70 feet couldn’t be further from the truth (here’s how far you actually have to cast). We’re fortunate to have hosted anglers, both male and female, of all ages, all of which caught fish and had a great time. In fact, we’ve lost track of how many of our guests caught a bonefish at Andros South as their first fish on a fly rod!
- But it’s still challenging. The beauty of fisheries like South Andros is that we’re able to target bonefish in a bunch of different ways depending on the angler’s goals and experience level. Whether that’s targeting larger singles and doubles (for more of a challenge) or chasing larger groups and schools (for more action), bonefishing can be as technically challenging as you want, or not want, it to be.
- You don’t need a lot of gear. Don’t get us wrong, we love fly fishing gear, and generally think it adds to the fun.. However, compared to the gear required for other forms of fly fishing, bonefishing is surprisingly simple. A fly rod, a sturdy pair of flats boots, a hand full of flies, and a spool of tippet is really all you need for a quick stroll on the flats. There’s a whole industry worth of other cool and helpful gear of course, but bonefishing can be as minimalistic as you make it, which we think is pretty cool.
- It’s comfortable. Needless to say, when the weather is good, it’s pretty comfy wherever bonefish are found. Where else can you fish in shorts and a t-shirt, and where it’s actually recommended to take your shoes off (when fishing from the boat we mean)?
- It’s pretty. One of the greatest things about fly fishing is that it affords you the opportunity to spend time in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Bonefishing is no exception, and the flats of South Andros are uniquely beautiful in a way that’s difficult to describe. Many or our anglers compare it to being on the moon.. Although, we’ve never been to the moon, so you just have to see it for yourself.
- Even the tough days are really cool. One thing we really love about that flats is that even when the fishing is slow, any day on the flats is like walking through a huge aquarium. At times, its hard to stay focused on fishing with the amount of ocean life cruising our flats, and with or without bonefish, its still pretty cool to see.
- It can make you a better overall angler. Angling skills are transferable. No matter what avenue of fly fishing you enjoy most, the skills required to catch bonefish can be applied to nearly any fishery. We hear from our guests all the time that the skills they’ve learned through bonefishing has helped them catch fish on their home waters too. Whether its becoming a better caster, learning to fight fish more effectively, or learning to spot fish more efficiently, bonefishing challenges through repetition, allowing you to progress quickly as a fly fisherman.
What do you love most about fly fishing for bonefish? Leave a comment below to help out your fellow anglers interested in giving it a try!