Bonefish

by Fly Fisherman

While fly fishing for bonefish was developed largely along the Florida Keys, the species is found in most of the warm seas. in Hawaii, Africa, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Haiti, throughout the West Indies, and in Cuban waters. Their size seems to vary in the main according to location—that is, the bonefish found in Mexican waters is very small, averaging only about two pounds. That in Cuban waters is a few pounds larger, averaging perhaps four to six pounds, while those of the Bahamas and Florida are still larger.

The average, however, on a fly, will go about 7 1/2 pounds, but with fly equipment and a leader tapered down to a 6-pound test breaking strength, or less, an angler has his hands full with any bonefish weighing from two pounds up.
What the brown trout is to the dry fly angler, the bonefish is to the fly rodder in the salt. There’s no easy way to take him, and fly rodding is probably the hardest of all. But there’s a bag full of satisfaction in making an ornery, suspicious, hard-headed bonefish take, and there’s great fun in watching him streak seaward, cutting figure eights, or seeing him cross you up and rush the boat.

Just the way he is, he’s all any angler could want. When he has stalked the bonefish, avoided all the pitfalls of tricky casting, tense retrieve, suspicious take, and lightning run—when he has fought him through all his tricks and finally brought him to the boat, what does the angler do?
There the bonefish lies, belly up because lie’s fought until there isn’t an ounce of fight left in him. The angler grabs him by the tail, turns him upright, and rocks him gently from side’ to side. He gives that salty gamester artificial respiration, to put life back in him. Then he turns him loose, for he’s a gentleman, and one of the world’s greatest gamefish. He deserves to live and roam the salt.

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