Contrary to popular belief, being able to cast your entire fly line with pinpoint accuracy is not necessary when fishing for bonefish. Far more important than casting a long line is how quickly you can get the fly in front of the fish. Therefore, a good ready position on the bow is critical.
The simplest and most widely used ready position consists of stripping out as much line as you are comfortable casting into the boat, leaving approximately a rod’s length of fly line hanging out the tip of the rod, and holding the leader or fly in your line hand. Once you spot a fish, you are able to toss the fly into the water, false cast out to the appropriate distance, and make your shot. This is an effective method to use, and little line management is needed.
However, oftentimes this method does not allow enough fly line out the end of the rod tip to effectively load the rod. Therefore, you are forced to make several extra false casts before presenting your fly to the fish. These extra false casts often waste valuable time that could mean the difference between fish or no fish.
We were joined by Wayne Walts here at Andros South, who offered up his ready position he learned when fishing for tarpon in the Florida Keys. Wayne has been fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas for over twenty years and knows his way around the deck of a flats boat. Check out how Wayne stays ready at all times.
- Start out by casting out as much fly line as you can comfortably cast. Strip in line until approximately 20-25 feet of fly line hangs out the rod tip.
- Pinch the fly line against the cork with your middle finger of your rod hand.
- Double back over a rod length of fly line and pinch against the cork with your index finger of your rod hand, leaving a large loop of fly line from the rod tip to your index finger.
- Hold the leader just above the fly in your line hand.
Now you’re ready! Managing your line this way allows you to hold nearly double the amount of fly line outside of the rod tip, thus allowing your rod to load from the get-go. Once you spot a fish, make your sweep into your back cast while releasing the line under your index finger. If timed properly, you are able to pick up approximately thirty feet of line in one back cast and hopefully deliver the fly directly to the fish!