This South Andros bonefish was the results of classes realized in Belize years earlier.
Photograph by Sandy Hays

Anybody who reads fly-fishing magazines and web sites is aware of that the bonefish is without doubt one of the actual status species for saltwater anglers, however, even though I edited a kind of magazines, I’d by no means even seen a bonefish in particular person till I used to be in my 30s. My complete fly-fishing life had been spent chasing trout and salmon. Other than a couple of journeys for striped bass within the Northeast, I hadn’t targeted on fishing the salt in any respect. Lastly, I figured it was time I remedied that scenario, so I began to look into making my first tropical saltwater tour.

Everybody I talked to agreed that Belize is the place to go in case your primary objective is just catching a couple of bones. There aren’t a number of trophies down there, however there are such a lot of fish that you simply’re virtually assured to get tons of alternatives to hook up—climate allowing, in fact. I headed south for a couple of days at El Pescador on Ambergris Caye.

On my first evening in Belize, I sat round with the opposite anglers staying on the lodge, lots of whom had a number of expertise with bonefish, and I attempted to ask as many questions as I might about what I ought to anticipate. They gave me some pointers, defined to me the numerous pitfalls to be averted, and guaranteed me that I’d do nice. Because it turned out, they had been proper, and I did catch my first bonefish the subsequent day.

However earlier than I held a kind of silver bullets in my hand, I made nearly each mistake that they had warned me about. Trial and error is often the easiest way to be taught something, however I appeared to take that idea to the acute. I hope that my errors, spelled out under, will serve for example, so that you don’t must waste your personal valuable time within the tropics. Right here’s what I realized, the exhausting approach, on my first day on the flats:

If you do the whole lot proper, the rewards communicate for themselves.
Photograph by Sandy Hays

1. Be ready to solid always

The primary time I stepped up on the casting platform, my information, Sandro, defined to me that I need to all the time be able to solid—which meant that my line ought to be neatly coiled at my ft, the fly ought to be in my hand, and my eyes ought to be on the water searching for fish. This appeared simple sufficient. Nonetheless, we didn’t spot a fish for in regards to the first hour, and my vigilance started to wane. There was a fairly stiff breeze, and it will definitely blew my neat coils of line across the casting platform. When the road would come too close to my ft, I’d give it just a little kick so I wouldn’t by accident step on it when it got here time to solid.

Lastly, Sandro known as out, “Two fish, eleven o’clock, twenty-five yards!” and I burst into motion. I noticed the fish, made two fast false casts, after which tried to shoot the remainder of the road. As I watched in horror, a hen’s nest of fly line as large as my head got here flying off the casting platform and whacked towards my stripping information. My fly crashed to the water about 15 yards brief.
Bonefish: 1, Phil: 0

2. Set the hook with a strip strike

Even earlier than the boat left the dock on that first day, I used to be certain that I’d set the hook incorrectly on the primary fish. Everybody I had talked made certain to say {that a} strip strike is the one option to drive the hook house on a bonefish. However all these years of trout fishing had conditioned me to boost my rod tip once I felt a fish, and I figured that, regardless of what number of instances I advised myself to not, I’d in all probability succumb to that intuition not less than as soon as. The following time we noticed an approaching fish, I made solid, retrieved fly erratically, and felt a pointy tug. Positive sufficient, the second I felt the fish, I threw my rod tip to the sky. From the again of the boat, Sandro shouted “No!” as the road went limp.
Bonefish: 2, Phil: 0.

3: Don’t strike till you’re feeling the fish

After that mistake, I started to chant just a little mantra underneath my breath as I scanned the water: strip-strike, strip-strike, strip-strike. . . . So I used to be completely ready after we noticed the subsequent fish. I made an honest solid and noticed the bonefish flip. The phrases started to pound in my head—strip-strike! strip-strike! strip-strike!—because the fish approached the fly. Instantly, I noticed the fly disappear, so I let free with the mom of all strip strikes, yanking on the road as if I had been attempting to begin a cranky lawnmower. Sadly, I pulled the fly proper out of the fish’s mouth, thereby scaring the bejeesus out of the fish and sending it scurrying throughout the flat at gentle pace.
Bonefish: 3, Phil: 0

My latest journey to El Pescador was a enjoyable return to the scene of my earlier failures.
Photograph by Phil Monahan

4: Preserve your line away from obstacles in the course of the battle

At this level, I didn’t consider that there was the rest I might do flawed; absolutely I’d hook up on the subsequent fish. And I used to be proper. Sandro noticed one other fish, I did the whole lot proper, and I lastly felt the adrenaline rush that I’d learn a lot about. I knew that I needed to clear my line and get the fish on the reel, so I targeted on ensuring that the road was not knotted and never wrapped round something within the backside of the boat. As the previous few yards of slack got here up off the deck, I turned my consideration to the fish for one second—simply lengthy sufficient for the ultimate foot of slack to make a loop across the deal with of my reel. With an audible pop! the road went limp, and I used to be left standing there to ponder my ineptitude as soon as once more.
Bonefish: 4, Phil: 0

The following time Sandro known as out a set of coordinates, I targeting each tiny element of the method, and at last all of it got here collectively—the fitting solid, the fitting hook set, and clean dealing with of the road. After a few 10-minute battle, I acquired my fingers round my first Belizian bonefish. It wasn’t precisely a trophy, however I don’t suppose that I ever labored more durable for a single fish. The senses of pleasure, surprise, and reduction that got here collectively at that second are unforgettable.

Should you’ve acquired the urge to match your abilities towards the wind, the water, and the wily bonefish, Belize is unquestionably the place to begin. In two days, I landed eight bones and misplaced not less than that many extra. None was over 4 kilos, however all of them fought lengthy and exhausting. Luckily for me, the guides at El Pescador had been expert, affected person, and useful. And as soon as I acquired the cling of it, I discovered that there was nothing in regards to the course of that the typical trout fisherman couldn’t do.

I’ve since fished for bonefish a couple of instances in The Bahamas, and I’ve been again to El Pescador, as effectively. I nonetheless make errors, for certain, however the classes realized on that first journey have served me effectively. . . .

Click here to learn about great bonefish destinations.


Source link

By Lilly

Lily is a valuable member of our content team, dedicated to curating relevant and engaging articles for our users. Her commitment to providing our audience with the most informative and valuable content shines through her work. With a deep knowledge and discerning eye, she ensures that the articles she sources and shares resonate with our readers, empowering fellow anglers to make well-informed decisions. Join Lily as she scours the web for captivating articles, delivering a curated selection of the latest insights, trends, and tips on fishing. With Lily's guidance, you can stay informed, inspired, and equipped with the knowledge to enhance your fishing experiences.