The challenge of fishing for the “white fox” or “grey ghost.”
One of the world’s premier angling activities is the sport of Bonefishing. Bonefish are rarely eaten but are highly prized by experienced fly fisherwoman. The Bonefish is one of the few fish that has had little or no change since prehistoric times. As a result, the Bonefish is one of the most primitive fish in existence. It has well-honed instincts and defense mechanisms making them one of the most difficult and challenging fish to catch.
The fish is silvery in color with yellow pectoral fins, and can weigh up to 20 lbs and be 40 inches long. Typically the fish has big eyes with a transparent-like cap that allows the fish to see in a wide-variety of directions. His amazing vision combined with his cunning and sleuth-like abilities has given him the nicknames, “the white fox” and “grey ghost.” The Bonefish is one of the strongest and quickest of all saltwater fish. He is typically found in warm, tropical flats.
The sport of Bonefishing is a shallow-water pursuit (although they can be found in water as deep as 1000 feet). The slightest movement on the water will alert the fish to scatter and quickly disappear. Bonefish are among the most skittish of all fish. Hence, you may consider the sport of Bonefishing more of an exercise in stalking than in actual fishing.
Fishing for Bonefish requires great skill. You may only get one good cast before the fish move to another location. Bonefish are usually found tailing (feeding with their tail upward), cruising (swimming) or mudding (digging up food from the bottom) in the flats in as little as 6 inches of water. You will need a top quality reel with an excellent drag to succeed at Bonefishing.
Adventure Woman recommends using an 8 weight fly rod loaded with a forward fly line. Allow for 200 yards of 18 lbs. test nylon backing as the fish can run several hundred feet. Shrimp patterns are ideal and especially attractive to Bonefish. When you have a strike, be sure to set the hook. Hold the rod with two hands over your head to avoid the line getting caught and cut in the sharp coral.
Always use a barbless hook to make release easier on you and the fish. Never grab a Bonefish by the gills; instead gently put your hands across his back and lift him from underneath to remove the hook. Put him back into the water immediately and move his tail back and forth to bring oxygen into his gills. Make sure he can swim before moving on to your next fish.
Enjoy the elite sport of Bonefishing; always respecting the unique heritage and fight of this great sport fish.