Bonefish Taking a Run

by Fly Fisherman

When bonefishermen talk about runs of 35o and 400 feet, doubting Thomases flap their ears. But those unbelievers should see for themselves. The longest-running bonefish I have ever hooked took out 700 feet of line. That powerhouse also proved to be my biggest, an 11-pound, 5 1/2-ounce fish. A 10-pound, 13 1/2-ouncer I took while fishing with Captain Cecil Keith also ran 700 feet.
This distance dash of the bonefish is all the more remarkable when you consider that he’s dragging a heavy, forward-tapered  fly line plus the backing, which is usually 200 yards of 14-pound test nylon squidding line. Add all that to the drag already set on the reel and it is easy to see that those fish are pulling a formidable load.

Because of the flighty nature of the bonefish, and the difference in the flats where he is fished, size of fly may make or break the day’s fishing. As mentioned in the fly section, flies tied on the t/o hook and having wings 2 1/2 to 3 inches long do very well in water from two to four feet deep, but in shallow water from eight to 18 inches in depth, a smaller fly does better. More often than not, a large fly cast over the shallows will flush the fish. A small bucktail or streamer tied on a number 2 or number 4 hook, with wings an inch, and not more than an inch and a half long, will not sink as rapidly as the larger fly, won’t catch on the bottom as readily, and won’t scare a spooky fish as much.
Bonefish will hit almost any fly that is retrieved properly, but those tied with some white in them, either in wings or body, seem to be the most productive. Brown and white is a good color combination, but the good old red and white is still hard to beat.

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